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, July 4, 2010

Attracting Tourism

Sajad reports on a motor rally to jump start the tourist season, but nothing will work until the civil society does not stand firm against anarchy in streets

(Mr. Sajad Kralyari, 28, was born in Kralyar, Srinagar. He had his early schooling at the General Public Mission (GPM) School, and his higher secondary education from the Government High School. He completed his B.Sc. from the Gandhi Memorial College, Rainawari, Srinagar, and Master's degree in journalism from the Media Educational Research Centre (MERC), University of Kashmir in 2008. He subsequently did a brief stint in New Delhi before returning as a correspondent for the Rising Kashmir, working on business and economy related stories.)

Motor rally to explore virgin tourist destinations along Mughal Road

Srinagar: The 33 motor sports drivers Sunday kick started the
1000 kilometers Mughal Rally 2010 on the historic Mughal road to
explore the tourist destinations that have remained uncharted so far.

The rally was flagged off from Royal Springs Golf Course today after a
three days hectic and adventurous run that saw changes in weather from
pouring of rain, snow, sunshine to landslides and overflowing water

“Our motive is to expose the unexplored areas of tourism where we
have not reached so far. We have great potential in tourism and I am
sure this Rally would attract tourists to new places,” said Minister
for Tourism and Culture, Nawang Rigzin Jora after flag-off ceremony.

Despite repeated hartals and restrictions, the tourism ministry has
expressed happiness over the tourist flow. “Tourists are coming in good numbers and every body from Shikara Walla to hotelier is doing good business. They are earning their livelihood. Now, this Mughal rally would also help to increase the tourist
inflow,” said Jora.

Referring to the present disturbance, Jora said there were some minor
hiccups here and there but the rally has been successful which he described as “dream come true”. “We are happy with the successful completion of this rally and will organise more such rallies to expose the unexplored areas of tourism,” said Jora.

The 33 cars were flagged off on a rainy morning at Royal Springs Golf
Course on June 25 and set out to overcome the challenging routes from
Daksum to Kishtwar and there onwards to Jammu via the twin lakes of
Mansar and Sunrise giving memorable experiences to the participants
drawn form all parts of the country.

Considered as prelude to the formal opening of the Mughal road,
Director Tourism Kashmir Farooq Shah said they Rally would attract
tourists to these unexplored areas which would pick up tourism there.
“Motors sports gave us the chance to expose the tourist resorts. We
would ensure local participation in this sport in future,” informed

A female driver from Delhi Rajni Dutt, 45, has been participating for
the past six years but she ranks Mughal Road rally experience as one
of her ‘best experience’ despite feeling scary of visiting Kashmir.
“It was a wonderful experience and I would love to visit Kashmir
again. Firstly I was scared but the warmth of the people and the
environment has attracted me,” said Dutt.

The Rally also featured a lone Kashmir entry of Taufeeq Muhal who
claimed 8th position in the event.

The first Mughal Road rally was the joint endeavour of Tourism department
and JK Bank to harness the adventure tourism potential of the State.
Minister of State for Tourism Nasir Aslam Wani was also present among
others on the occasion.

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