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.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Should Minorities Exist Only to be Seen and Not Heard?

Author has a public exchange with a Greater Kashmir Columnist who justifies pelting stones at the author because of what I said. My rebuttal, followed by the original commentary follows


Vijay Sazawal responds to A M Zargar's article

"I Forgive A. Majid Zargar"

Usually one feels honored to see his or her name mentioned in a newspaper, but the way Mr. Zargar evoked my name is a sad reflection of how fast the society in Kashmir is radicalizing and making bigotry fashionable (GK, 6 October 2010).

Mr. Zargar has attacked my position defending the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in Kashmir during my meeting with the Indian Defense Minister, Mr. A. K. Antony, in Washington. But I never said what he claims I did. What I said was that "no provisions of the AFSPA should be diluted without further assessment and discussions."

I know that Mr. Zargar, and probably most of the majority community in the valley, may wish to see the harsh AFSPA disappear. I would wholeheartedly support such a campaign provided I am reasonably assured that withdrawal of such a law would not affect minorities in the valley (Pandits, Sikhs and Christians) adversely. It may not be a major concern to people like Mr. Zargar, but it is to people like me irrespective of how far I may or may not be living from my motherland.

The majority community in the valley, unfortunately, would like the rest of the world to believe that all is well with minorities in Kashmir even as their numbers are steadily declining. The narrative can be whatever the majority may choose, but Kashmir is an international issue and American, British, and European diplomats have an important say in Kashmir's future. So while the majority community may shy away from discussing political and economic rights of minorities in the valley, the major world powers are very much interested in hearing from Kashmir's minorities. Every diplomatic delegation visiting the valley meets with Pandits (including the American delegation that visited earlier this week), and my advice to Mr. Zargar and his cohorts is that the "resistance movement" is going nowhere without active support of minorities, and their support will depend on how far they are empowered and assured constitutionally and administratively that there is a future for them in the valley as equal stakeholders.

Interestingly, Mr. Zargar ignored the main reason for my call on Mr. Antony, which was to condemn an unpardonable act by the All Party Delegation (APD) from New Delhi which visited the valley but did not meet with valley Pandits in Srinagar due to a directive from the State Government. It is obvious that Mr. Zargar could not care less for his minority brethren, but would gladly stone me for something that meets his wishes.

Perhaps his soul feels a bit purer by such a medieval act. On my part, I forgive him. I hope he opens his heart and mind to appreciate and sympathize with concerns and insecurities experienced by the disfranchised and less fortunate in the valley. Even Amnesty International recognized that shortcoming during their recent visit to Srinagar, though it found no mention in local newspapers.


Vijay Sazawal
Washington, DC

I want to pelt a stone at …..

This week the targets of e-stones are Swapan Das Gupta, Vijay Sazawal, The Vehicle Owner and Traffic Constable:


Swapan Das Gupta:
Mr. Swapan Das Gupta is a known Columnist. Starting his career from The Statesman, he has worked in newspapers like The Times of India, The Telegraph” and The Indian Express before joining India Today. He is currently a freelancer and an avid blogger. Politically , he is considered close to the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Expressing his views on the recent visit of All Party Parliamentary Delegation to J& K, he writes in one of his Columns published in Deccan Chronicle that a civil Society group close to Hurriyat Conference also met the Delegation. The group he is referring to is one which made an honest & eloquent presentation of its views before the APD . The speakers chosen for the occasion were Dr. Hameeda Nayeem, an academician & social activist & Dr. Altaf Hussain Mufti, a renowned pediatrician of the valley. The former is wife of Nayeem Khan, the incarcerated Hurriyat (M) leader which prompted Mr. Das Gupta to label the Civil society group as close to “Hurriyat”
I would like to put a simple question to Mr. Das Gupta. When Phoolan Devi, the notorious

Bandit Queen was elected to Parliament and she rubbed shoulders with other Parliamentarians, did that make the august House close to groups in Chambal Valley? If not then how does association of a graceful lady with a group, her spouse’s views notwithstanding, make that group close to Hurriyat?

Let me add something for information of Mr. Das Gupta & journalists of his ilk. The factual presentation made by the Civil Society Group under reference was so persuasive, lucid & appealing that many important members of the delegation were visibly moved by knowing the facts. The Canards & falsehoods spread by crass & more-than-compliant Journalists based in New-Delhi under the false notion of patriotism fell apart like a pack of cards. It is rightly said that Patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels & any act committed under its cover is called vandalism & not Journalism.
Mr. Swapan Das Gupta, therefore deserves a stone to be pelted at.

Vijay Sazawal:

Mr. Vijay Sazawal is a native Kashmiri Pandith Ji settled in USA. There he runs a Forum known as “Indo-American Kashmir Forum’- We are told that it is .an overseas organization of Kashmiri Pandiths. So far so good.
On the recent visit of Indian Defence Minister to USA, his forum submitted him a Memorandum profusely thanking him for not making desired amendments to AFPSA, which was even demanded by CM Omar Abdullah.

Vow-Pandith Ji, It stands to reason that your forum opposes the demand for “Azadi” to Kashmiris. Since there are numerous forums or organizations of Kashmiri Diaspora, which strongly advocate Azadi or freedom for Kashmir, your democratic right to oppose such demands is conceded to that extent.

But it is beyond one’s comprehension that a Kashmiri residing thousands of miles away from his native place opposes a change in law which is universally acknowledged as cannibalistic & brutally repressive. It is this Act which offers a shield to Indian Army to protect its delinquent men. Pathribal, Ganderbal & Machil fake encounters are glaring examples of that obnoxious shield.

Mr. Sazawal is neither effected by the application of this Act nor has any apparent reason (hidden reasons I do not know) to defend it. The only conclusion is that he suffers from a malady known as “economic bestowment of humanity & common sense”.

Mr. Vijay Sazawal, therefore deserves a stone to be pelted at.

No comments: