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, October 1, 2010

Reality Check for Separatists

Reyaz discusses challenges that sound easy to suggest but have not been overcome in the last 60 years. Will now be any different?

(Mr. Reyaz Lone, 32, was born in Ganderbal, and continues to reside there/ He received his early education in Ganderbal, and completed his post graduation in Political Science from the University of Kashmir. He served as an Excise Guard in 2007-2008, and is presently working as a Lecturer in Political Science. In his leisure time, he enjoys reading and writing.)

We Can’t Afford Mistakes

There is no denying that Kashmiris are fighting for their right to self-determination—a right granted to them and approved by India, Pakistan and United Nations thorugh many resolutions. Since 1947 Kashmiris have fought for their right through different ways and strategies.

The current uprising by Kashmiris since June 11 has brought the movement at an important juncture where New Delhi and the state government both have been reluctant to accept the ground realities. However it’s also unfortunate that we too haven’t learnt lessons from our past. Now that we are in the middle of the unrest it is high time that we devise proper strategies in many areas.

Protests are our greatest weapon. But our protest should be completely non-violent. Our movement has reached a stage where retreating is no option. We have already lost more than 100,000 people in the struggle and our single mistake would mean betrayal and an impetus to coming generations to restart the movement more vigorously.
However, at the same time we should kept in mind that our goal is a long-term one and very difficult which we can’t achieve in days or months. So it becomes very important for us to keep it non-violent to save it from getting a defaming tag.

How Long:
We should be ready to carry on these protests as long as we see the result. We must follow Hurriyat’s protest calendar in letter and spirit. Hope nobody dies of hunger, if our rich brothers assume the responsibility to taking care of those who are needy. If that thing is achieved, we will be able to sustain and continue this movement for a long time. Discontinuing would mean betrayal to leaders and those who died and overall failure for al of Kashmiris collectively.

The education system certainly suffers in the valley due to protests and strikes. So we must open community and local schools to provide education to students. All educated people, especially teachers should take informal classes to educate students who suffer because of strikes.

Unity among different sections, regions and organisations is very important if we have to achieve a collective goal. There is an immediate need of unity among pro-freedom parties or at least they should sign a pact if they wish to work separately with different strategies. There should be inclusion of Pandits and Sikhs in Hurriyat Conference. Also a coordination committee of different organisations, regions and professions should be established to devise common strategy towards achieving the common goal.

International Support:
It is unfortunate that Kashmir is not getting international support. Even human rights organisations are silent over human rights violations in J&K. We must try to get international support for our movement through various channels. We can do it through individual as well as collective efforts. Individuals can also write letters to various international organisations or personalities. Besides getting international support we also have to win support of Indian people as no government in India can take any step to act upon the genuine aspirations of Kashmiris until there is a public opinion in India about Kashmir conflict.
The average Indian citizens are unaware about the real situation in Kashmir and they deserve to be told through various channels about what’s happening inside the valley. While the Delhi-based media would continue to present a wrong picture of Kashmiris to its audience, it is highly important that our intellectuals forget their intellectual arrogance and help project a correct picture of Kashmir outside.

Anti-Kashmir Elements:
There is no doubt that some Kashmiris are playing at the hands of anti-movement elements. Workers of pro-Indian parties are the main people in this category. Then there are those who defame the movement by dividing people on religion or caste grounds. We need to be aware about this and should boycott such elements socially.

Participation of people in elections is the main factor through which government justifies its rule. It gives a clear message to the entire world that there is nothing wrong in J&K. The world looks election as a referendum in the region and thus it gives serious setback to the movement. Thus there should be a complete boycott of every election.

We must remember that our goal to achieve freedom is not as easy as we think it is. But we also can’t retreat at this stage. The only option with us is to carry on the movement with dedication and patience.

No comments: