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, May 28, 2010

The Civil Dialogue

Arshad argues for unity in diversity

We The Divided


The strength lies in the unity on principles. Divided we are crippled. that is what has been proven in history all along. It is not the number but the strong will and commitment of the masses and leaders that leaves an indelible mark in history. Kashmir issue surfaced and erupted primarily because of the Muslim majority status of the J&K state. That is the very reason India and Pakistan fought and continue to fight for it since 1947. There are voices from certain quarters that try to give other reasoning for the dispute. They trace Kashmir dispute to 18th or 19th century status or pre Mughal era and so on. These theories have now an academic importance only. If world will try to settle the geographical status on four to five century old records, imagine where it will lead. Those advocating the same may have their own calculations and justification; however it doesn’t look some thing that is going to deliver. Geographical borders are never permanent, but timely and ever changing; history vouches for that. These changes are generally the outcome of power balance rather than any ethnic or cultural or linguistic identity. Despite religious, cultural and linguistic similarity we see Arab world fragmented into mediocre states which do not cooperate with each other. At the same time we can see USA having diverse populace working as a single unit today. USSR came into existence as a single unit out of power balance and fragmented on the same factors as well. We see Koreans divided, Yugoslavia divided, Pakistanis divided, Pakhtuns divided, Arabs divided, Hindus divided and who not. These are the hard facts. Long back we see Bharat was the state which today means around 8-10 independent states.

There are usually two thoughts today focusing on the affairs of the state. One is trying to focus on economical perspective and the other on the nationality that includes culture, language, ethnicity etc. Kashmir is a multiplicity of issues. Earlier it was almost entire Kashmir unanimous in approaching the major issues especially the disputed status. There were divisions then as well, but individuals were normally busy attending their priorities. The public in general was united. Today there is a huge change on the ground as different plans were adopted that left us divided. Today the state is fragmented especially on the political front.

Jammu, Kashmir and Laddakh today don't represent the real prospects of a single state with all the three regions placed at a big distance from one another. This could happen with precise politics adopted, nourished and worked upon. We created different linguistic zones, Dogri, Kashmiri, Laddakhi etc. out of the same state where the aim primarily seems to be isolating Kashmiris. We are further fragmented; first by creating more districts and then these districts become hostile against each other. Since it is the people from Kashmir region that are politically more active, there we find profound fragmentation. We have mainstream camp divided in Kashmir thus marring the chances of development in this region. We have separatist camp divided in Kashmir thus inviting miseries rather any specific gains. We see people in Kashmir turning hostile to one another on various issues. Even if Islam unites us in the bond of brotherhood, but our own politics has divided us and thrown us apart.

Let’s debate, debate on issues, debate not for the sake of debate and not for wining the debate but for coming to consensus based on logic. That is only way we can seek unity which is the need of the hour.

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