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, August 13, 2010

Message to Kashmiri Youth

An editorial in the Kashmir Images speaks of Kashmir's proud past and what today's youth can learn from Kashmir's culturally rich history

Self Recognition

The wanton wilderness exhibited by our youth particularly teenagers calls for an introspection and immediate redressing steps. It is not a normal sign when a whole generation parrots and apes cultures that are not only alien but contradictory to the aesthetic sense of our part of the world. It is this rapid race of copying others for establishing ones identity that has rendered our budding youth vulnerable to exploitation in myriad ways.

The identity crisis has proved fatal for so many nations in the past and it has equal potential even today to disrupt the binding force in a society. Why have our youths gone astray is because they are unaware of their roots and history which has instilled a sense of inferiority in them regarding everything indigenous. But perusing the pages of documented history will certainly restore their confidence in indigenous culture which once used to be copied by people far beyond our land-locked state.

Studying the history of homeland has the potential to inculcate a sense of pride in the reader if it is replete with glorious instances of successes and achievements in the past. And thankfully history of Kashmir is puffed with such a stuff that can make any Kashmiri proud to belong to such a race and region that excelled in every aspect of life nor far away in the past. Today a teenager will look blankly with wide mouth if told that a Kashmiri King Lalitaditya Muktapida (8th Century) ruled over a vast territory stretching up to Bengal. The first woman Prime Minister of the world has been a Kashmiri named Dida (around 1000 A.D.). The first historian of the subcontinent was Kalhan whose Rajtarangni is referred to by Indo-Pak historians to trace their past. It is no wonder when somebody ascribes saintly status to Zainul Abidin (1420-70) for his Herculean milestones in constructing canals and improving the economic condition of his subjects by introducing handicrafts in Kashmir. Again he is also considered as the father of modern day secularism in Kashmir as his court was mostly run by Hindus. Not only this, even one Indus Valley Civilization site has been discovered at Munda in Jammu which takes our archaeological history to 5000 years back. And as for as language is considered, it is as old as Sanskrit and much older than Urdu or Hindi which have become a craze for the new generation. No poetic composition of these languages is as old as Vakhs of Lal Ded. Kashmiri language has accepted words from many languages but never lost its basic structure.

A teenager with such a glorious identity need not be carried away by the tawdriness of shallow cultures which have comparatively inferior past. A Kashmiri must acquaint himself/herself of the proud past and rectify his present for a bright future. No doubt youth is care free and full of imitation of superior things but when everything lies in your backyard why wander for it in the barren lanes of others. However government needs to introduce Kashmir history in school curriculum from Primary level so that the sons of the soil are introduced to their roots to uproot the vicious circle of identity crisis among them.

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