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, November 26, 2010

The Only Major City With No Traffic Lights

Dr. Fiaz Fazili unravels the core Kashmiri attribute that makes Srinagarites a unique breed

We The Srinagarites

Every time I visit my homeland, one thing for sure occupies my mind for most part of the trip: Traffic mess. Reasons are simple. Every plan of mine to go out, like every other Srinagarite, is dependant on the traffic regulation. But the word regulation I never find existing.

Has our City done away with traffic signboards? Don’t we need a direction as people elsewhere do? Can we move directionless? Don’t we need some signal system to convey when to stop, start or accelerate?

In short don’t we need to be disciplined?

Well everything needs to be disciplined. But that needs a system. Getting back to the topic, I have a question what one should ask in the absence of system. No signal lights, no traffic management. What is this? Freedom, a complete Azadi? And are the streets without traffic signs and signals executable?

Then there’s another issue. For this is want to take you out of Srinagar. Hire a taxi in London, New York or even New Delhi, the routine is the same: You cruise along, and the dollars and rupees rack up on the meter based on time and distance.

But in Srinagar, it’s altogether a different story. People hiring cabs here never find a meter working because fares are arbitrary and as decided by the cab driver. This has been a routine for decades and authorities have obviously failed to act.

Human society cannot exist without discipline, that is, willing obedience to laws, rules and regulations. Even birds and beasts have sense of discipline.

Obedience, therefore, is the backbone of discipline. The members of a team or body must obey the rules which they themselves frame, willingly and readily. The western countries are much disciplined. After the World War 2, countries like Japan, England, France and Germany were badly shaken.

Indiscriminate bombardment razed cities to the ground. But by discipline and collective efforts these countries have raised stronger than ever.

Any football coach will tell you that when you’re down at half-time and getting whipped all over the field to focus on the basics of blocking and tackling. A golf coach will tell you to keep your head down and your left arm straight. A business coach will tell you to cut

your expenses and grow your customer base. Getting back to the basics is the surest way to resolve any crisis.

So discipline is required at its best. Discipline on all fronts. Let’s stop taking driving down the Srinagar streets a race of ego, where nobody is ready to give side to anybody. Nobody is ready to wait for others to move.

Let’s start adhering to discipline on our front. Let’s start self efforts to streamline traffic. But then let those at the helm of affairs not miss to change what has been a same and stale old story of traffic management void of traffic signals, sign boards and of-course operational meters for cabs.

Traffic regulation needs to everybody’s priority. Because for now what hinders Srinagar’s prosperity the most, apart from other hiccups, is the terror of traffic jams. It makes precious time go waste in the gridlocks. The roads are chocked, emergencies can’t reach hospital intime.

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