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, October 16, 2011

The Brave Ones

Javed pitches for the visually impaired people

(Mr. Javed Ahmad Tak, 37, was born in Bijbehara in the Anantnag district. He received his schooling from Government schools in Bijbehara, and his B.Sc. degree from the Government Degree College in Anantnag. Unfortunately, at the age of 21 he became a victim of a terrorist bullet which hit his spine and disabled him for the rest of his life. However, he overcome mental and physical odds to complete his Master's degree in Social Work from the University of Kashmir, and also completed certificate courses in Human Rights and Computers from the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU). Although wheel-chair bound, Mr. Tak is recognized as a leader who has relentlessly and with extreme passion taken up the cause of disabled people in J&K, seeking full citizen rights guaranteed under the J&K Disability Act but never implemented in the past. He is a founder-member of numerous NGO's dealing with issues and sensitizing public about challenges faces by physically handicapped people in Kashmir. He has received numerous awards and citations for his selfless work and has attended numerous workshops on disability rights around the country.)

White Cane Day

Today marks the ability of blind people to walk safely on city streets. This day also highlights the progress of blind from poverty and isolation to full participation in community life. The white cane is a symbol of independence and a symbol of the dignity and capacity of blind people. Blind people need the understanding of the public. They need society to recognize their abilities and to give them a chance to demonstrate their talents.

White Cane Day is a time for blind and people with normal vision to come together in support of the movement toward full integration.Visually impaired do not want to be dependent on their families or on society. What keeps many blind people in dependency is not so much the blindness itself, but the lack of opportunity. Blind people need the chance to become educated, to develop their own interests and abilities, and the opportunity to seek employment on a fair and equal basis with others.

Blind seek understanding and recognition of their ability and desire to live and work alongside others in their communities. We have supporting laws and guiding rules to overcome these challenges or minimize the problems but the implementation at ground level is needed. JK Persons with Disabilities Act guarantees equal opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full participation for the persons with disabilities but it is unfortunate that so far the Act is on papers only and for 2 lakh blind people Jammu Kashmir state has no schooling facilities. Mostly they are dependent on the so called social security schemes which fetch them nothing more than Rs 400/- which can't fulfill their needs. 

On May 25, 2001, Erik Weihenmayer became the only blind man in history to reach the summit of the world's highest peak - Mount Everest. Eric is the first blind person to climb Mount Everest. Eric's achievement is symbolic of the desire of blind people throughout the world to pursue their dreams and ambitions.

In the same way Tariq Bashir a blind person from Andoora Shangus of district Anantnag completed Masters in History and qualified Kashmir Civil services (Prelims) exams but he was not allowed to take the facility of scribe in (Mains). Still Tariq didn’t gave up and qualified 10+2 Screening test and got through the interview conducted by JK Public Service Commission and got appointed as Lecturer History in School Education Department. Tariq is presently posted in District Institute of Education and Trainings Anantnag and is successfully working there.

Such individuals can become an example for others. On this day we salute the courage of such men and women who don't let disability come in their way to successs.

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