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.

Friday, April 2, 2010

The "Abused Wife Syndrome"

Kashmiri separatists continue to accept Pakistani indignities with quiet grace

Compromising Ego (Editorial in the Kashmir Images)

With Pakistan once again selectively picking and choosing Kashmiri separatist leaders for invite to visit the country, separatist circles here are back to square-one, trying to convince Pakistan about their credentials.

While some are cross with Pakistan for ignoring them and are trying to put a brave face by pretending that ‘they don’t care less!’, there are others who have upped the ante to speak out that those who have got the invite are not the sole representatives of the Kashmiri people and “their cause”. But overall situation is that everybody is trying, in one way or the other, to communicate and convince Pakistan as well as the local audiences here that they should have been invited, they too deserved invite as much as anyone else.

Irrespective of who says what and how, it is an unfortunate reality of the separatist politics in Kashmir that Pakistan’s goodwill and pleasure remains top on the priority list. No individual or a group has outgrown the Pakistan’s influence thus far and the way things are moving, anything like that happening remains very unlikely in near future as well.

First, it was as if out of blue that Pakistan invited some separatist leaders for a visit to the country. Although such invites have come regularly in the past too, however, what was different this time was the invitation to some second-rung and quasi-separatists figures, whose hawkish views have attracted Pak attention of late. Moreover, as the move indicated, it was also aimed at cutting some old horses to size and, at the same time, giving some weightage to others to suit their own permutations and combinations in Kashmir. But then, owing to some other reasons, Pakistan reviewed its invitation and confined it to just three prominent names, weeding out others with as much ease as they were selected in the first place. This certainly has not gone down well with the parties and individuals here, who are visibly upset with the way the Pakistan has dealt the issue. They were neither happy with the selective invites nor have they been pleased with the selective cancellation of such bids. So they have started to publicly express their resentment. Although one remains unsure if such a tactic could change anything as for Pakistan’s game-plan goes, but one thing is for sure: for the Kashmiri separatist groups, Pakistan remains as powerful influence as ever and they are in no mood to forego it.

Despite over 20 years of fresh and hardcore experience in hindsight, the Kashmiri separatist leaders, instead of investing energies to develop rationalizations for their politics, keep looking towards Pakistan’s goodwill. Even as the separatism sentiment remains as strong as ever, those who claim to represent and personify it, remain insecure in this fast-changing world so much so that they cling to illusionary fixed points, which are very real to them. So strong remains this P-influence on this brand of politics that even the conversations are charted towards fixing one’s position vis-à-vis this strong focal point. They use revealing adjectives and attractive superlatives to justify their holier-than-thou positions, biases and slants, but unfortunately, very little care and attention is accorded to the individual and collective Kashmiri ego.

How can political leaders respect the dignity of an individual if they do not respect their own dignity? How can they believe in people if they do not believe in themselves? How can they convince people that they have it within themselves, that they have the power to stand up to win, if they do not believe if of themselves?

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