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, December 27, 2010

The Awards Racket

Ajaz explores the "cash-n-carry" business of giving out public awards

(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.

The Award Market

To bag an award is an honour, but to buy an award is a disgrace indescribable. One can only desire to be in the hall of greats though a few amongst us actually make it. We do have people within us with some remarkable achievements to feel proud of. For this they have been haloed and deservedly so. But the way some awards are being literally sold is embarrassing. But sadly, it means no embarrassment for those who buy them, it puts others to shame.

Many times over, this issue has been written about. A clique of people in New Delhi or elsewhere fool their clients by sending them a form which they have to fill up against a stipulated sum. This `good news' that you are the man or woman of the year or decade or millennium (depending on the money they charge) can reach any one ranging from a cook to a minister. You choose your area of `specialization' in which you contribution is `outstanding', attach the bank draft and post it back. There comes the `certificate of excellence' acknowledging your contribution towards the `welfare of humankind'. They manage to invite some celebrities and call you to the function where you are to be awarded for the `exemplary service' you have rendered towards the society. This all is an intelligently staged drama to make a joke out of you and to cheat you of your hard-earned money. The painful part of the story is that to taste a fifteen minute fame, which by any means, is fake, you offer yourself to be made a fool of.

That is how awards are manufactured and award winners are won over. They market film and sports stars to hook you. And quite surprisingly, it's not a common semi-literate man who is tempted. Even academics, activists, lawyers and now ministers are getting trapped. Not trapped infact they offer themselves and call it their `honor' to be the part of that fun. All that to fake a fame. In doing so they don't mind how cheap can it get. As long as they receive an `award' there is nothing wrong in doing what they make you do.

This is happening for many years now. Earlier anyone could have been duped for the reality was not known, now the rotten truth about this award-peddling business is out. But we keep celebrating our cheaply bought `stardom'. Our shamelessness knows no limits. First, we know the truth behind these so called awards. Second, we pay for the cheap publicity to be made through media. We expect admiration from our `fans'. The impression that is thrown around is different. A credulous reader thinks as if there is a jury that adjudicates the winners. When he sees ministers receiving the award, he goes on to count the nominees who might have missed the mark as if the panel had a tough task to declare the winner. Little do they know that a dishwasher is as eligible a candidate as the minister himself or herself.

No comments: