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, June 3, 2011

Some Good News For a Change

Reports indicate a 33% increase in exports of handicrafts

Handicraft Exports from J&K Touch All-Time High

Exports of handicrafts from Jammu and Kashmir has touched an all-time high of Rs 1,004 crore during the last fiscal, marking an increase of more than Rs 340 crore compared to previous year.

‘‘The state’s handicrafts export has touched an all-time high of R1,004 crore by March, 2011, as compared to R661.24 crore during the previous fiscal,’’ minister for industries SS Slathia said while reviewing the performance of the handicraft department here.

He said the government is mobilising all the resources to give boost to the sector which provides the livelihood to nearly four lakh people in the state. The minister also directed expeditious completion of the ambitious project to replace all the traditional looms with the modern looms at a cost of R1.20 crore.

So far, 39 looms have already been replaced by modern looms while the remaining 35 looms would be replaced by the end of next month.

"Government would explore all possibilities to provide free insurance cover to Below Poverty Level (BPL) artisans," the minister said.

State awards for outstanding artisans would also be revived from the current year to encourage artists to adopt handicrafts as a dignified profession, Salathia said.
(Press Trust of India)

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