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.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Exciting Plans for the CU in Kashmir

Shakeel-ur-Rehman says that the new Central University (CU) will promote studies and research in advanced sciences and technologies

(Syed Shakeel-ul-Rehman, 33, was born in Qazipora, Tangmarg. He did his schooling at the Government Middle School in Katipora and at the Government Higher Secondary School in Chandilora, both in the Tangmarg Tehsil. He did Masters in Social Work from the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) and also obtained post graduate diploma in Journalism and Mass Communication from the same University. Besides, he has also done a post graduate diploma in Folklore and Culture Studies. Shakeel has also taken specialized courses in computer hardware and software technology. Presently he works as the Opinion Editor for the regional English daily Kashmir Images. Earlier he worked as a columnist and correspondent for Greater Kashmir, Valley’s leading English daily. Since April 2005 he has also been working as an anchor for Doordharshan Kendra Srinagar's live phone-in show called, "Hello DD". Mr. Shakeel-ur-Rehman holds the distinction of having interviewed prominent personalities in all major fields and walks of life, probably more than any other Kashmiri journalist.)

Central University Eyes International Faculty

Srinagar: If the efforts of the Central University authorities translate into successful results, Kashmiri students aspiring for better higher education would soon get it on their home turf itself.

“We are looking for best possible faculty from the world market so as to provide better educational avenues to our students,” informs Vice-Chancellor Central University of Kashmir, Prof. Abdul Wahid.

Elaborating further, Wahid says that his varsity was eying reputed academics willing to serve in Kashmir.

“We intend to woo world-class academics from both within and without. Hopefully, this will come to pass,” he said.

Former Vice-Chancellor of Baba Ghulam Shah Badshah University, Rajouri, Dr. Masud A. Choudhary sees this as a welcome development.

“It is a welcome development as it would broaden the understanding of local students,” Choudhary said, adding, “the central university must pursue it seriously”.

What is interesting is that apart from eying faculty of international repute, the Central University has also proposed unconventional programmes of study like nano-science, peace studies, biodiversity and conservation and convergent journalism - disciplines that the varsity authorities feel would ensure employability of its pass-outs.

“These disciplines are in demand in the job market and are also socially relevant. That is why they have been proposed,” Wahid says, adding, “innovative and job-oriented courses that result in employability of students would be the focus of central university of Kashmir.”

Appreciating the emerging changes many Valley-based academics feel that the varsity should pursue only vocational courses.

“What our students need at the moment is education laced with practical training. That is the only way to ensure better future for them,” says noted academic and former Vice-Chancellor University of Kashmir, Prof. Hamidi Kashmiri.

Concurs Choudhary, “University education must reflect changing times; that is the only way to equip students for better future.”

Replies Wahid, “High-quality research-based and demand-driven courses of study constitute the core of our curriculum. We will not compromise on that.”

Commenting on university expansion, the Vice-Chancellor said that for a start his institution would focus on capacity-building of students.

“For personality development and capacity building of our learners we aim at providing world-class physical infrastructure and student support services. As an institution we are committed to that,” he said.

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