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, August 22, 2010

Kashmir's Future Direction Rests on the Fate of its Minorities

Syeda comes in the defense of logic and sane politics

(Ms. Syeda Afshana, 35, was born in Srinagar. She attended the Vishwa Bharti High School in Rainawari, Srinagar, and the Government Women's College in Srinagar where she received a B.Sc. degree. She completed her Master's degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from the Kashmir University in 1999 and was the Gold Medallist (first position holder) in her graduating class. She is currently a Lecturer in the Media Education Research Centre (MERC) of the Kashmir University and pursuing her doctorate on the role of internet after 9/11.)

Insane Politics

Turning point. Defining moment. Watershed. It slips in the realm just subtly, adroitly. However, the manifestation is slow and gradual. Partition in the subcontinent was the product of an idea that was born in split second but fostered over a certain span of time. A paradigm move that changed the chronicle of events impetuously, partition remains a kicking ghost, destined to be exhumed and dissected over and again. The autopsy is yet incomplete. The cremation still unfinished. Gory scuffles and gashing sagas keep it up in the air.

Partition as a process led to many a makings. Widespread loss and agony apart, it carved out a few immutable historical specifics: Gandhi as a bolshie saint is an astute politician; Nehru a larger-than-size vibrant personification of Progressive India but a pampered young man; and Jinnah as a suave gentleman who became a pushy leader out of sheer situations.

Lines drawn and boundaries lugged, theater of division was enacted, and rest followed. Bisham Sahni’s Tamas, Khushwant Singh’s Train to Pakistan, Bapsi Sidhwa’s Ice Candy Man, Attia Hussein’s Sunlight on a Broken Column, Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children or Jaswant Singh’s contentious Jinnah: India-Partition Independence , the trauma reached beyond famed treatises. The characters weren’t confined to prose; prosaic realities smeared with blood percolated along the generations. Of course, people dwindled into symbols, and stories were fashioned out of continuing horrors, communal frenzy and the rising obscurantism.

More than 60 years down the line, today the fate of minority in India smacks of an abhorring nostalgia. The Ahmadabad, Aligarh, Meerut, Bhagalpur, Gujarat, and Kandhamal of yesteryears, seems a minor hitch in the bandwagon of ‘diversity’ that India typifies. It is perhaps all explain¬able with reference to changing mindset of majority population. The pattern of hatred seems changed ever since. Today, it is determined and planned, carrying no parallels.

No melting pot, India as a unique collage of unwanted and untamed hate appears emerging cogently. The marked reluctance to proceed at law and a cynically manipulated demonization of minority religions, is nurturing the climate of spiraling violence and rampage. In the grip of unending nightmare since Gujarat carnage, the crazed goon squads have been stalking the landscape, leaving behind trails of blood, destruction and devastation. The bigotry and ugly intolerance have highlighted the collapse of political authority and the revanchist illogicalities budding in the name of some savage god of perverted patriotism or demonic faith.
Using terror as a strategy to seize the high ground ideologically and ensure a constant setting and resetting for a political gain, is fast turning the binding indicator of mainstream politics in India. The men ala Narendra Modi, Bal Thackeray, Advani or anyone of their ilk are only taking the dictates flatly. That did they ever had a brush with Mao Zedong’s idiolect of brute force (power flows from the barrel of gun) is an educated guess since the logistics of their ruling exercises reek a close veneer. The only difference lies in camouflaging of the same, which perhaps outspoken Mao and his Gang of Four was not cognizant of. Even intrigues of Nazi’s and their anti-Semitic pogroms lacked a mitigating approach. Goebbels’s mills couldn’t churn eternally convincing propaganda. Though the most vigorous its influence was, it could not hide a flagrant injustice or induce the masses to reconcile obvious inconsistencies. The reason was plain: skillfully manipulated, the credulity of the public on minor matters seemed almost inexhaustible, but on major issues like war, subjugation and rights, the limits of credulity were soon
reached. No doubt, multitude of people died and the expansionist design of politics made deep inroads into history, but the dictators masquerading as visionaries were damned to deprecation.

Contemporary unstable political scenarios in the world and aftermath, is receding to barbaric etiology but with a small change: the disquieting injustice and criminal insolvency are getting institutionalized. They are no longer debated, still less discussed. The calculated patronage is the unusual point. In this backdrop, the saga of Partition and its long drawn corollary in India stands as a blatant vindication.

They say world has not gone to dogs yet. Right. But that dogs in human frame have gone nuts is also true. When minorities in any society become the victim of insane politics, it’s the beginning of decline for the society itself. The hooliganism that minorities face remains the last comment and the ensuing fate of any nation the very last presentiment.


Hurriyat (G) Lauds Traders For Sacrifices

Srinagar: The acting general secretary of the Hurriyat (G), Masarat Aalam, has lauded the traders’ community in Kashmir for its resolve, saying that the Rs 65 crore it lost every day was its contribution to the ongoing movement.

“This is proof of a living people who sacrifice their today for their tomorrow, as great causes require great sacrifices,” Aalam said.

“Every individual in Kashmir is insecure because of the occupation by the Indian forces, and the masses are engaged in a resistance to secure their future, and this has sent tremors through India’s highest councils,” he said.

Aalam asked government employees to contribute Rs 100 each to local public funds for the assiatnce of the needy, and said that sanitation work would be undertaken on an urgent and voluntary basis on Sunday, besides distributing relief and dispatching supplies to the urban areas.

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