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, January 2, 2011

The China Syndrome

Chinese "little emperors" were created by institutional edict to restrict families to one child policy. Kashmir's "Khanmouls" are the result of easy money and growing exhibitionism among Kashmir's burgeoning middle class. Three related reports on its consequences

Because he is my Khanmoul!

(Dr. Saiqa Shah)

It was after five months that I was visiting my parents’ home. No sooner did I enter my father’s room, than he started scolding me. His words were like whip lashes. I sat down and received these humbly and soberly. I could feel the warmness of tears on my cold face, nose getting stuffed and breath choked. I was wondering why so much of admonishment. I had arrived there after Maghrib azaan, which i think was just a “little late.” So Papa was supposed to overlook it and welcome his daughter who was visiting him after months. While my eyes were stuck on floor and lips zipped, he demanded an explanation. I raised my lashes and looked towards my mother. She gave me a cool grin, indicating clearly that my pitiable condition was not appealing to her and that I had erred. After a chilling silence, I was offered a cup of tea. Though hunger pangs were surrounding me like a whirlpool, I replied calmly that I had it at my clinic. Yes, I lied. For this whole time, I was wondering, am I a kid that my parents need to be so much worried about me! When I can rear a family, take care of my home and perform my job ably, why my parents need to be too concerned about me?

I have a five- year- old daughter. She is the whole world for me. When she smiles, my world gets filled with all the colours of rainbow. When her eyes twinkle, I see flowers bloom around me. In her babble I feel the heavenly affection. I can do anything for her happiness and comfort. But as a conscious mother, I don’t provide her everything and anything she asks for. Whenever she is out with me, and asks for a one rupee lollipop, I will never give it to her at her sweet will. If she cries to push me fulfilling her demand, I hardly succumb. But when she reconciles with the fact that I am not going to provide her the lollipop, I get her Rs 20 candy. For me, this is part of imparting a very important lesson to my dear daughter.

I once asked a lady in my neighbourhood why her 14-year-old daughter was having such a costly cell phone, when she is too young to handle such expensive instruments. She proudly replied, “Because she is my kahnemouj,” and that she can’t see her sad for anything she does not have. Another woman’s son, a student of 12th standard, I often see buzzing around aimlessly in a long luxurious car. When I cautioned her that the reckless chap should not have been allowed to drive alone carelessly, the mother’s reply was, “because he is our khanemoul.”

I am still wondering; is it that my father does not love me that is why he scolds me even when I am settled, have a family and a good job! Am I not his khanmouj? No, it’s not like that. It’s because my parents want me to be a disciplined person. His scolding does not mean his indifference for me; rather it reflects his deep love and care for me. And when I don’t provide anything to my daughter at her will, it is not because she is not my khanmouj! But I have same concern and care as my parents have for me.

I am still in grief to see a boy crushed another boy with his over-speeding vehicle. How can this boy driving a luxury car at a breakneck speed be khanemoul. He hit another khanmoul boy and ruined a family. He ruined his own life and career also. Can he still be the khanmoul of his mother when he made mother of another boy lose her son?

No, it's me who is real khanmouj of my papa. Its my daughter who is a real khanmouj. For I am bringing her up with all the lessons which she has to learn as a conscious, responsible and scrupulous citizen.

Road Accidents Kill 895 in Valley in 2010
(Sajad Kralyari)

Srinagar: Law and Parliamentary Affairs minister Ali Mohammad Sagar Saturday said 895 persons were killed in road mishaps in Valley in 2010 and traffic department was
under-staffed to regulate the ever growing traffic.

“In 2008, 900 persons died in different road accidents. The figure rose to 1109 in 2009. At least 895 persons died in mishaps in 2010. 23, 557 persons were also injured in the accidents due to the negligent driving,

”Sagar said while addressing a seminar organized by JK Traffic Police to mark Road Safety Week.

Terming frequent deaths and injuries in accidents as alarming, the minister said traffic police is under staffed. “The population is increasing and so are the vehicles. Traffic police has not got enough man power to regulate the traffic. They are under-staffed,” he said.

Every year thousands of vehicles are added to the roads, which have not been widened since years.

However, Sagar said roads are being widened at various places to ease the traffic pressure.

He stressed on the Traffic department to issue licences to only expert drivers. “An employed youth approached me for a driver’s post but he did not possess a hill license. When I told him that you don’t have license, he said he would get a hill license in a week’s time,” he said and cautioned the traffic department to issue licenses on merit.

He said traffic rules should be implemented very strictly. “There should be no special treatment to special persons or VIPs. Laws are made for everybody and have to be respected by all,” he said.

Criticizing traffic police for allowing vendors and hawkers to block the roads, Sagar said, “The Sunday market at Polo View and the roadside vendors in Lal Chowk choke the roads, causing frequent traffic jams and grave inconvenience to commuters. The roadside vendors should desist from violating the laws”.

He also criticized transporters for observing strikes. “The strikes cause innumerable problems to common masses especially the elderly and week persons, who can’t walk. The transporters should not observe strikes,” the minister said. He also stressed on making people aware about traffic rules.

Deputy Commissioner Srinagar Mehraj Ahmad Kakro said government is committed to ease the flow of traffic by taking up road widening projects and creating parking spaces.

“The work on Jehangir Express Corridor would have started but Chief Minister Omar Abdullah first wanted to rehabilitate the people, whose houses and structures will be raised. We have earmarked Rs 256 crore for the project,” he said, adding, “We are also going to set up multi-storied parking places.”

IGP Kashmir S M Sahai said traffic police should be given more powers to contain the traffic accidents.

SP Traffic Maqsood-u-Zaman said they are organizing a week long traffic awareness program to educate the masses about their responsibilities in helping regulate traffic. He apprised the participants about the public indiscipline on roads which put the common man to various problems especially the hospital emergency and stressed on public co-operation to ensure smooth flow of traffic in every nook and corner.

SP Traffic (Rural) Ghulam Mohammad Wadoo and VC LAWDA Irfan Yaseen were also present.

Alarming Increase in Number of Drug Addicts

Srinagar: There has been an alarming increase in the number of drug addicts in the Kashmir Valley.

Observing that "this was a dangerous trend", the doctors attending a de-addiction centre organized by the Police Control Room Srinagar, said the number of addicts, including those who consume alcohol, had increased manifold.

Consultant Clinical Psychology PCR Dr Muzaffar Khan said youth are taking to drugs for various reasons and later become addicts."The youth in the age-group of- 18-35 are using various forms of drugs to satisfy their needs. Of late, the youth have taken to alcohol, said Khan.

Khan said youth in the schools use correction fluid in the initial stage which, if not checked, later takes dangerous proportions. They sprinkle the fluid on handkerchief to sniff it and then start using other drugs, he said. He said since there was lack of proper treatment in various hospitals for addicts, these cases are referred to PCR de-addiction centre. We have so far admitted 250 patients in the centre for the last three years, who have been duly treated. During this while, at least 3500 addicts visited the centre for treatment, said Khan. Khan said the PCR has 10 beds as of now but the number is likely to increase in the near future. Many patients visit the PCR Centre for treatment. We are not in a position to accommodate all of them. Other hospitals also refer patients to us for specialised treatment, said Khan. We have around 250 patients in the waiting list who will be treated as per their turn.

Qazi Parveez, DSP PCR, said the de-addiction centre was set up to make people aware of the ill-effects of drugs. We have got a good response from the patients and the parents accompanying them, said Parveez. (Rising Kashmir News)

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