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, March 28, 2010

Life in a Fish Bowl

Amid official tepidity and absurdity of continuing violence, Kashmiris grab the nearest bottle ... or is it the case of too much leisure time and too little to do?

Valley all set to Drown in Liquor

Jammu: Brushing aside allegations of discrimination and disparity between various regions of the state, the Valley people have restored parity by increasing consumption of liquor by thirty percent during the current financial year.

If the trend continues unabated, Valley seems all set to drown itself in liquor. The Ladakhies may not like it but the Valley is fast leaving them behind as far as consumption of liquor is concerned.

According to data furnished by the finance minister, the consumption of liquor in the Valley has increased by 30 % during the current financial year. "Fifteen lakh and thirty three thousand bottles of liquor have been consumed in the Valley till date. Last year the Valley had consumed around eleven lakh bottles of elixir. This year the consumption has increased by four lakh bottles. On the contrary Ladakh sales have declined during the said period. Last year the Ladakhies consumed 23 lakh bottles. However, the sales went down this year considerably. They consumed 20.60 lakh bottles only. This means Ladakh has cut short its liquor consumption by 2. 40 lakh bottles", a spokesman of the ministry said.

The liquor consumption has gradually increased in the Valley over the past few years. The Valley consumed 11.44 in 2007-08 and 11.48 bottles in 2008-09 respectively. This year 15.33 bottles have been sold till date.

Pertinent to mention, the militants imposed total ban on sale, purchase and consumption of liquor in 1989 when the armed struggle commenced. Liquor shops across Kashmir were ransacked and destroyed. People found in possession of liquor or under its influence were punished in full public view.

Surprisingly there are a few government outlets in the city of Srinagar. No private liquor shop could be opened across Kashmir till date.
(Early Times)

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