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, July 22, 2011

State Information Department's Finest Hour

Renzu makes a commitment that is bound to bring cheer to all Kashmiri scholars

(Khawaja Farooq Renzu Shah, 54, was born in Srinagar. He matriculated from the Government Higher Secondary School in Nawa Kadal, and attended Sri Pratap College, Srinagar. He completed his L.L.B. degree from the University of Kashmir, securing the first position and a gold medal. He subsequently entered the Kashmir Administrative Service (KAS), and has served as District Commissioner, Budgam, and presently is the Director of Information in the state service. He spends his leisure time writing novels and working on spiritual communication, and writing and propogating friendship, peace, progress and unity among the people of all religions and identities.)

Info Deptt has Begun Digitization of Kashmir’s Classical, Historical Books: Renzu

Srinagar: The Information and Public Relations Department Director, Kh Farooq Renzushah Friday said the department had started the project for digitization of classical and historical books of Kashmir to make them available online.

Addressing a gathering at a 2-day workshop, organized by National Book Trust (NBT) India and Urdu Academy of J&K, he said digitization of books on Kashmir would promote their readership.

“To bring the literature of local authors world over, we are making Kashmiri and Urdu literature available online for the global readers”, Shah said.

He said the digitization of books would help to have instant access to knowledge. “The modern era calls for digitization of books to cater to the needs of tech savvy youngsters.”

Calling Kashmir a center of knowledge and learning, he said the translation of books was essential for the spread of knowledge. “Every group and institution needs to coordinate with each other to build the rich literature.”

The Director said the NBT need to collaborate with the department to publish the books in Urdu and Kashmiri.

National Center for Children’s Literature, NBT Editor, Manas Ranjan Mahapatra said there had been a rich tradition of writing in Kashmir. “However, there is poor government support to the authors to publish their work,” he said.

According to him the essence of the workshop was to promote reading habit among valley children and give space to their writings.

“Our goal is to provide students with a stimulating and supportive environment to discover new ideas in them through the act of writing so that they can write interesting stories”, he said.

Mahapatra said the stories in Urdu and Kashmiri developed in the workshop would be translated on the spot into Hindi and English. “Stories will appear in a magazine published by our center to give them the readership across India and abroad.”

On the occasion National Book Trust, Assistant editor Dwijendra Kumar, said the Trust had already translated four Kashmiri books into Hindi. “We are now looking for the distribution”.

Addressing the gathering noted broadcaster B N Betaab said: “We must take into consideration the local environment and context while writing for children so that they can relate to it.”

Urdu Academy President, Noor Shah, Principal S P College, Srinagar, Prof. Zahoor Ahmed, and Urdu Academy Secretary, Javed Matjee also spoke on the occasion. The NBTI has also organised a book exhibition in the college.

Among others staff and students of S P College and other educational institutions were also present.

Later, in the evening a panel discussion was also held on ‘Contemporary Status of Children’s Literature in Jammu and Kashmir’. (Manzoor ul Hassan)

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