Introduction to Blog

I launched the website and the Blog after having spoken to government officials, political analysts and security experts specializing in South Asian affairs from three continents. The feedback was uniformly consistent. The bottom line is that when Kashmiris are suffering and the world has its own set of priorities, we need to find ways to help each other. We must be realistic, go beyond polemics and demagoguery, and propose innovative ideas that will bring peace, justice and prosperity in all of Jammu and Kashmir.

The author had two reasons to create this blog. First, it was to address the question that was being asked repeatedly, especially, by journalists and other observers in the U.S., U.K., and Canada, inquiring whether the Kashmiri society was concerned about social, cultural and environmental challenges in the valley given that only political upheaval and violence were reported or highlighted by media.

Second, the author has covered the entire spectrum of societal issues and challenges facing Kashmiri people over an 8-year period with the exception of politics given that politics gets all the exposure at the expense of REAL CHALLENGES that will likely result in irreversible degradation in the quality of life and the standard of living for future generations of Kashmiris to come.

The author stopped adding additional material to the Blog once it was felt that most, if not all, concerns, challenges and issues facing the Kashmiri society are cataloged in the Blog. There are over 1900 entries in the Blog and most commentaries include short biographical sketches of authors to bring readers close to the essence of Kashmir. Unfortunately, the 8-year assessment also indicates that neither Kashmiri civil society, nor intellectuals or political leadership have any inclination or enthusiasm in pursuing issues that do not coincide with their vested political agendas. What it means for the future of Kashmiri children and their children is unfathomable. But the evidence is all laid out.

This Blog is a reality check on Kashmir. It is a historical record of how Kashmir lost its way.

Vijay Sazawal, Ph.D.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Regarding Political Jugglers, Pseudo Patriots and Profit Corporations Masquerading as Tanzeems

Ashraf wonders when the unglued Hurriyat will get its act together

(Dr. Mirza Ashraf Beg, 69, was born in Sarnal, Anantnag. He did his primary schooling at the Primary Hanfia School in Anantnag and completed his F. Sc. from the Government Degree College in Anantnag. He completed his medical degree (MBBS) from the Government Medical College Srinagar, University of Kashmir, in 1967, and a Postgraduate Diploma in Clinical Pathology from the Government Medical College Jammu, University of Jammu, in 1981. He served as the Medical Director of the Civil Hospital, Pahalgam, until 1983 and subsequently held senior administrative positions in the health service system of Saudi Arabia, including participation in a joint program with the Johns Hopkins University and the University of South Florida for a United Nations project related to environmental and ecological impact of the 1991 Gulf War. He is an Executive Member of the Jammu and Kashmir Red Cross (nominated by the Governor of Jammu and Kashmir), Member of General Medical Council, Jammu and Kashmir, Medical Council of India, Saudi Medical Council, and General Medical Council, London. He is proficient in Kashmiri, Urdu, Hindi, English, Arabic.)

Kashmir problem and problems of Kashmir

Kashmir problem, an unfinished agenda of the partition of India, has without any doubts given birth to innumerable problems of Kashmir. Looking retrospectively on the events that followed the patrician of India one can easily see that many a people many a times tried to address the Kashmir issue from their own perspective. Some thought the delay in the implementation of UN resolutions will dissolve the issue while others considered creating confusion is the solution. At the end of the day we can see we are where we were in 1947 with thousands of lives lost, orphans and widows all around besides both India and Pakistan badly bruised. The resulting uncertainty has pushed Pakistan in the grip of militancy and India in to the lap of poverty. In this blame game both have lost their credibility with loads of problems from garbage disposal to rabid dog menace facing the state.

Undoubtedly for the last few years there are covert and overt attempts to address the Kashmir issue once again. That is why we hear the music of track two diplomacy and offers of mediation from different countries. The statements from world dignitaries such as president Obama, prime minster Gordhan Brown and Gadafi besides ticklish irritations from our neighbors like China seem to be a component of the same game. So it appears international community has become conscious of the impending dangers of unsolved Kashmir issue in presence of nuclear threats between India and Pakistan. Back home in the state we hear a lot about NC’s autonomy, the self rule, status co cry of congress and its siblings besides restoration of article 370 etc; etc; and BJP’s sob for a long march against any logical solution. On top of all that the activities of New Delhi’s working groups to sort out a long term relationship with the sensitive J&K indicate that the government in New Delhi is keen to involve all the factions of Huriat Conference in the secret dialogue process. All these parameters add to the fact that the ball has been set rolling to find a feasible solution to the tricky and delicate Kashmir problem.

Having said that, we have seen during the last sixty years of ambiguity a class of political jugglers has cropped up in the state who believe that they have attained an expertise to solve the Kashmir problem as well as address the problems of Kashmir. In this erroneous belief these pseudo patriots and their political organizations have unfortunately turned in to private limited companies with the aim to earn profits for themselves and their corporations at the cost of the suffering masses of the state. That is why we see Kashmir problem unsolved and that is why we see heaps of garbage in our towns and cities. That is why we see thousands of our educated youth roaming aimlessly on our streets. That is why we see our education system and health care in shambles. That is why we see our politicians enjoying in warm sunshine and snow clad ski resorts while our poor are shivering in biting cold for want of electricity and drinking water. That is why there are humiliating crackdowns for our innocents plus fake encounters against unarmed resulting in unidentified graves. Enough is enough the time has come to address these issues and denounce this exploitation.

Long ago I heard a political leader addressing a gathering and he said, ‘No doubt building schools, roads, industries and hospitals will not solve Kashmir problem but to address these problems while we are looking for a solution to Kashmir problem is equally important –if not more.’ I am talking of the days when politics too was reverence and politicians were sincere. Time has proved that the wise man had foresight and I hope many of us will see the prudence in his perception and will not leave the field of politics for conjurers to play their gimmicks.

The present generation of J&K is a witness to the fact that though all the main stream political originations (barring a few) contested previous parliamentary elections and ballot vote to the state assembly with the jingle that the elections were only for the developments of the state yet we see all these political organizations boast of being in the fore front for the solution to the Kashmir issue. Apparently one is bound to agree with the wise who pronounce this publicity-stunt a political jugglery that has resulted in confusion and chaos in the state. No doubt people were wooed and came out in large numbers to cast their votes for the developmental programs that was tactfully highlighted and orchestrated by different candidates and their political organization yet we cannot ignore the underlying current for a feasible solution to the core issue. In view of this it is mandatory to remind that memories of ‘Uri Chalo’ following the Amarnath land row are still reverberating in our ears. This base line of Kashmir psyche is bound to rebound with curfews hartals and human rights violations over and over again till we leave Kashmir unsolved.

Despite ups and downs in the security situation present political scenario in the state indicates that there are efforts to involve the Hurriats in a meaningful- delicate- unpredictable and time consuming dialogue process. At the same time one needs to understand that Hurriats are a shattered house of cards and are totally confused at the moment. Thus it is likely to take some time to glue its constituents before it can take some logical steps. Under the circumstances it remains to be seen if the civil society will leave the political jugglers to fish in the troubled waters or find ways to combat in the forth coming civic elections to address the problems of the state while efforts for a lasting solution to the core issue are in the pipeline.

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