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.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Stoning Civility

An editorial in the Kashmir Images speaks for the silent majority

Stoning Sanity

A newborn baby, on way to hospital for medical check-up, died at Baramulla as stone pelters would not allow the vehicle, he was in, to pass. They pelted stones on the vehicle, forced the parents of the newborn to join ‘protests’ and when they declined, the stone pelters scuffled with ill-fated parents which caused some fatal injury to the newborn resulting into his death.

Tragic, shocking and uncalled for! But is anybody concerned? Would there be any protests against the ‘murder’ of this newborn? Will any group or leader call for a strike to mourn the death of a child who had just eleven days back landed into this world? Will government order a probe to ‘identify the killers’? Will Mehboobas, Geelanis, Maliks and Mirwaizs issue statements of condemnation? No, nothing of the sort will happen because this killing is not going to help the political agendas of all these groups including the government. The death of the newborn will hardly find any mention in the columns of our writers and intellectuals and Bar Association will never have an ‘all party conference’ to discuss the issue. And champions of human rights will not utter a word.

The tragic incident should serve as an eye opener for those who have been advocating stone pelting and describing stone pelters as heroes of resistance. In Baramulla the stone pelters resisted this newborn’s drive to hospital resulting into his death. Everyday there are scores of ailing people who can’t reach to hospitals because there are groups of youth allover pelting stones on anything and everything that dares to move. One may give some margin to these young boys – they are too young to understand and realize what harm their activities are doing to peoples’ lives, education and economy. But what about the matured, educated and experienced people who advocate stone pelting and thus encourage the youth to indulge in this fatal game? They are the people whose wards never take to streets instead are comfortably studying in best and reputed schools and colleges. They never tell their own children to skip their academic classes and throw stones on police and para militaries. But when it comes to the children of lesser mortals, they are there to encourage them for stone pelting and pat them.

Is it a class war with a difference? Are the rich and elite of the society intending to make the poor poorer by keeping their children busy in stone pelting so that they don’t study? The lawyers, who advocate stone pelting, are earning huge sums from their clients and the politicians too are comfortably placed but fail to realize the trauma of a poor man who can’t earn when stone pelting is going on and thus can’t feed his family in the evening.

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