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.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Opportunist Civil Society

Kashmir's civil society is a reflection of its ethical and social character. Lacking both, the only significant achievements of the civil society to date have been to support hartals and the anti-India tirade

‘Kashmir needs civil society reforms’

Srinagar: Eminent personalities of the state participated in the discussion and pondered upon the need of a serious civil society for social reforms in Kashmir.

Issues like rampant abuse of drugs and lack of drug policy were taken up during the deliberations.

The discussion was moderated by senior journalist Dr Syed Shujaat Bukhari. The event was organized by Civil Society Forum which has been working towards building a strong civil society for social reforms in the valley. Most of the participants in the discussion agreed and extended support to such a forum in the valley.

Dr Mehraj-u-Din, former director SKIMS while speaking on the occasion said that the society was in dire need of reform and everyone has to pitch in.

“There is no policy for regulating drugs in the Sate. There is no antibiotics policy”, said Dr Mehraj-u-din. He further added that there is an urgent need of strong drug acts and nursing act.

Senior oncologist Dr Shaad Salim also pointed at the need of implementation of strong regulations in the area of smoking and drugs.

Another panelist and senior member of the society Professor Untoo, who has been a member of Red Cross Society, asked a pertinent question to find out if the existing laws were being enforced in the society.

He pointed at the fact the pharmacists were giving out drugs without prescriptions.

Rt. SSP of J&K Police Reyaz Bedar was critical about the functioning of narcotics departments in the valley.

He pointed at the lack of enforcement and implementation of existing laws. “Let us pressurize the government to implement existing laws. As a civil society we should come out and pressurize the government to bring out the drug policy for the State”, said Bedar.

The other members who participated in the discussion include Justice (Rt) Bashir Ahmad Kirmani, Engineer Zahoor Ahmad Bhat president Federation Chamber of Industries Kashmir, Principle SP College Prof Zahoor Chat, Businessman Umar Tramboo, Journalist Shuja-ul-Haq, Salman Sagar, Afrooz Mir.

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