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.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Reinforcing Heritage and Culture

Vijay Dhar takes a path-breaking initiative

DPS Starts Teaching Kashmiri

Hakeem Irfan (Rising Kashmir)

Srinagar: In a step to promote Kashmiri language, Delhi Public School (DPS)-Srinagar became the first CBSE School in the State to start teaching Kashmiri language.

The school authorities have also urged CBSE to include the language in 10th standard examinations.

Talking to Rising Kashmir over phone, Chairman DPS Kashmir, Vijay Dhar said: "It is a tribute to our own place. I always feel that we should be associated with our culture and ethos."

DPS Srinagar has become the first school under CBSE pattern to start such a course.

“Nowhere in India is the language is taught in CBSE schools. We also teach Arabic in our school. It is perhaps the only school in India to teach two languages," said Dhar.

He said the school is in communication with CBSE authorities to introduce Kashmiri language in the 10th standard.

“We’re trying our level best to persuade CBSE people to introduce Kashmiri in 10th standard. Even if it does not happen, we will continue to do it at our own level," said Dhar.

According to Dhar, students studying between fourth and eighth standard would be taught Kashmiri at DPS in the first phase and then a strategy for further expansion would be formulated.

Meanwhile, Adbee Markaz Kamraz, the oldest cultural organisation of Kashmir valley has hailed the management of Delhi Public School for introducing Kashmiri as a subject in the school.

In a statement issued here, the AMK spokesman said this would go a long way in taking the language to the schools and hoped that others schools will follow suit.

“We appreciate the management particularly Vijay Dhar for taking this historical step," the spokesman said. “Other branches of the DPS in the Valley Humhama, Delina and Sangam should also take similar steps to fulfill the aspirations of Kashmiri students.”

The spokesman said that by introducing Kashmiri in schools and then effectively teaching it, students will be able to re-establish their connection with their identity. "It will play a vital role in cultural renaissance of Kashmir."

According to 2001 Census, there are approximately 5,554,496 Kashmiri language speakers in India and around 105,000 speakers in Pakistan.

Kashmiri language is one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is a part of the Sixth Schedule in the constitution of Jammu and Kashmir. Along with other regional languages mentioned in the Sixth Schedule, as well as Hindi and Urdu, the Kashmiri language is to be developed in the state.

Since November 2008, Kashmiri language has been made a compulsory subject in all schools in the Valley up to the secondary level.

In 1919 George Abraham Grierson wrote that “Kashmiri is the only one of the Dardic languages that has a literature”.

Kashmiri literature dates back to over 750 years, which is, more-or-less, the age of many a modern literature including modern English.

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