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

Preserving Heritage

Valley Citizen Council (VCC) says that local employees of the Archaelogical survey of India (ASI) are negligent and indifferent to proper preservation

Ancient artifacts in danger

Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir High Court today directed Union of India, Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and others to file reply within three weeks against a petition demanding conservation, protection and safe keeping of ancient and medieval artifacts, excavation sites and heritage monuments.

As the PIL filed by Valley Citizen Council (VCC) came up for hearing before a division bench, comprising Justices Hakeem Imtiyaz and Hasnain Masoodi, the counsel for Union of India and ASI sought four-week time to reply. The counsel also demanded a copy of the writ petition.

However, the court directed the counsel to reply within three weeks and ordered that a copy of the petition be supplied to the counsel.

The counsel for Kashmir University (KU), also respondent in the case, was also present in the court.

The other respondents in the case included the state of Jammu and Kashmir, Archaeological department and department of Language, Art and culture.

The VCC through its general secretary Imdad Saqi filed the petition and demanded providing necessary protection and conservation of artifacts, monuments and excavation sites and also sought accountability of missing artifacts and return of all antique valuables that had been displaced by authorities.

The petition about the SPS museum said that it houses some exceptionally rare Hindu sculptures from second to seventh century.

The canons of Dogra period are subjected to weathering by scattering them in the museum garden with nothing to shield them from the effects of climate change, the petition alleged.

Other such archaeological finds include a fourth century bronze frame depicting all incarnations of Lord Vishnu. A massive fourth century Shivalingam and numerous old coins and weaponry.

The PIL further alleged that the administrative staff in the museum had surprisingly been reduced considerably giving a clear sign of negligence.

It said that another spectrum of the present negligent scenario is the treatment that is being done by the Archeological excavations and artifacts of Kashmir's rich heritage. Eighty four rare coins went missing from SPS museum.

About eight gold and 76 silver coins were also missing and remaining coins were stored in an unscientific and insecure procedure.

Mr Saqi said the 400-year-old replica of the Holy Quran, hand written by Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, was also reported missing from the SPS museum.

He further alleged that the discovery of a mammoth head of a wild at Pampore by Kashmir University Geology and geophysics departments, was shifted to Jammu University without any sound reason.

The petition also sought directions to seek return of all those valuable artifacts that have been displaced; record the details of artifacts that are housed in the SPS museum and their actual number and also ascertain all sites of excavation and monuments and take measures for their protection.

(Kashmir Images)

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