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, November 7, 2010

Playing All Sides, Displaying Poor Integrity

Ajaz says that political leaders consumed by unbounded ego to be never proven wrong sometimes end up showing their immaturity and shallow personal qualities

(Mr. Ajaz ul Haque, 40, was born in Srinagar. He completed his school and college education in South Kashmir. He is presently on the faculty as Producer in the University of Kashmir Educational Multimedia Research Centre (EMRC), and a columnist for the Greater Kashmir. In leisure time he enjoys reading.)

Son we Win, Daughter We Won't Lose

`Will it be a son or a daughter'? A desperate couple wanted to know the answer from a saint before the child is delivered. The saint played safe to have two independent answers. He assured the mother not to worry as it's a bright little male baby arrving soon. To the father, he had a word of caution that it could well be a daughter. Either of the two had to be delivered and the saint had both the post-event explanations. If mother catches him on a wrong answer he can readily defend himself by referring to his last-minute tailpiece he confided in the father of the child. And if reverse is the case, mother will vouch for him that the saint had already tipped her to be the parent of a boy. Results whatever, the saint is safe.

Here we are facing a similar situation.

`Don't worry', says Geelani, `if big powers ignore Kashmir, it will still be an issue'. The statement can be seen from whichever angle we like to see it.

First comes first. Is it that Geelani has realised the futility of attaching too much importance to Obama visit. Well, if that is so, we can expect some positive change in the future. But unfortunately it does not appear to be the case. His earlier statement of declaring the ten coming days `crucial' for Kashmiris in a way contradict the present one. The first one was about `what if'? The second is `what then'? The first one promised us a son, the second persuades us to keep heart and to accept daughter as a gift meant for the blest.

In the first one an impression was given that something really is going to happen if Kashmiris bear the trouble what they have bearing for months together. But here was a moment to show perseverance so that we don't end up losers.

Ascribing cruciality to an event symbolises the level of hope you link with it. But now as Obama arrives and as speculations about his uttering or not uttering K-word started gaining ground, Geelani resorts to bet-hedging. Throwing his words in every possible direction and seeing that which one comes true. Presume, if Obama finally slips a word about Kashmir, no matter how and in what context he does, Geelani's first statement will seem to come true at last. If he doesn't, still we have no reasons to worry as people who fight for a cause, as Geelani explains his statement do not depend on the mercy of big powers. What if Kashmir figures, India will be trapped. And what then if it doesn't, Kashmir still will be an issue.

No worries. Son or daughter, we will be the winners.

The second dichotomy in the statements is too obvious. If America really does not matter, why intensify your strike programme by asking people to observe a strict civil curfew. If India has got the whole nation on a high security alert, they have a reason. This guest matters for them more than all hosts put together. If they see coconut as a potential security threat and pluck it unripe lest the crust falls on Obama's head, they only want to save this poor fruit, which normally Indians use as an auspicious symbol, from being declared a sinister weapon of mass destruction. But what do we walk away with by staying inside which we have been doing for months now. As I starve, will Obama be sharing a fast in solidarity with me?

This is not even expediency which at least politics allows. This is a poor, immature, and unrealistic response to a grave situation we have pushed ourselves to. We have taken the whole movement to a limit where even sublime appears ridiculous. God save us!

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