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, August 19, 2011

Return of the Native

Veeresh shares his experience

(Mr. Veeresh Saraf, 25, was born in Srinagar. He attended Kendriya Vidyalaya in Bantalab, Jammu, and completed his professional degree, AMIE, through the Institution of Engineers, Kolkata. He is employed as an electronics engineer.)


Recently I visited Srinagar in connection with an academic work.

And coming to this city always generates a sense of nostalgic home-coming. But the city is not normal. Despite everything, there certainly seem to be a strong sense of perplexed normalcy in air. And as always, consciousness about the growing governance deficit and the rusting administrative mechanism seems to have created a parallel sense of confusion. Of course, anger over the custodial death of a young man in Sopore was evident but more evident was a sense of rejection and perpetual bluntness.

Writing is supposed to be a concrete step forward, with an eye towards the future. But in these frustrating conditions as are prevailing here, what good can one person’s intentions do?

The youth of this state in general and of Valley, in particular, are caught up in a dismal situation which is far more discouraging here than in other parts of this country. Literacy rate has shot up much higher than expected but chances of employment are vanishing. Employment in the governmental sector still remains the favored option, with much preference being given to the police service or to the god-forsaken education department. The great talent pool which is a strong force of creative dynamism in the form of youth, is left to rot in government offices, which, these days are nothing but dens of corruption.

State of affairs has got stagnated as nothing seems to be moving forward. Needless to say our vehemently stratified social spheres are increasingly becoming more and more turbulent.

What kind of a society are we becoming – cutting down on our growth channels? Large schemes are launched with much fanfare and media coverage but nothing really changes on the ground. But then, how can we expect things to change, considering the indecisiveness and lack of substance behind many of these so-called “development schemes”. For the social parasites who collectively brand themselves as ‘political masters’ of hapless masses, the utility of many such schemes is limited to pocketing big time money, in the name of ‘aid’.

There is a repeated abuse of the system by the elected representatives at almost all levels, whose sole concern in public realm is securing the seats of power for their future generations, by monopolizing the whole thing. And those among us who know what can be done, never do anything apart from spending time in empty meetings and endless discussions. The politicians in the true spirit of the paper tigers that they have become, always go on delivering sermons, poking fingers at those few, who really try to strive for betterment.

A few months back, when a former Chief Minister of a southern state, (whose name allegedly figures in the list of politicians having ‘black’ money accounts in Swiss Banks, according to Wikileaks) asserted on the ‘practicality’ of so-called unbreakable bond between politics and corruption, he was symbolically referring to a widespread megalomaniac mindset of our political class. And he was right in saying that there is no space for men like say, Anna Hazare in today’s politics. Not because of anything else but because it is generation upon generations of politicians who have turned our administrative structure into such a stinking mud-hole. And when it comes to that, there really is no difference between Kashmir and any other state; the same old blend of shameless corruption and masked intentions.

Corruption is not the result of some kind of an alien disease, as our administrators want us to believe, but it is a by-product of our own psyche, which has developed over centuries. In Kashmir, this may not be generally the sole reason but this surely is one of the reasons. What we have been doing in our daily chores has been carried forward by us to our topmost offices of responsibility. Maybe so…and this is reason enough to believe that the crusade against this attitude involves patient self-analysis and translating paperwork into tangible results.

As far as our arm-chair intellectuals are concerned, the fact of the matter is that their opinions don’t count. Not because of their superficial concern about the socio-political squalor, but because by their useless cynicism, they have proved that in this presumed quest for changing everything that has to be changed, a definite quota of administrative power has to be in the hands of opinion-makers and actual leaders, not in the closed quarters of politicos or status-hungry individuals.

The path is long indeed and is certainly not just limited to corruption, which is just a symptom of a diseased outlook. The problems vary and so, then scope of corrective activities has to be widened to address the root cause of what ails us. And once we acknowledge this, there will remain no need of any protest marches or forced shutdowns- activities which bring yet another face of the sick society that we are fast becoming, into the open; a gruesome, sinister and inhuman face of an ugly underbelly of this so-called civilization of ours. A misguided lot - delivering sweet sermons on decency and trying to ape the ideal of social responsibility, without knowing that a true society is yet to be created here. Sometimes, it seems that nothing good can ever be happen in this frustrating atmosphere.

But then, the genius that has been the driving force behind so-many insurrections in the history of mankind has its roots in a blend of human thought and action. So, regardless of all strategies which have gone horribly wrong in our state and largely, in our country, whenever I see the pictures of men like Anna Hazare sitting there at Jantar Mantar, in contemplation, I see the hope for this country.

No comments: