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.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Irrepressible Kangri

Kashmiris may have iphones, but they have not outgrown the kangri

Kashmiri 'Kangdi' Most Popular Heating Equipment

Srinagar : With winter approaching, people of Kashmir are preparing themselves to face the cold weather.The most important tool they use is what they call Kangdi, a traditional earthen fire pot used to keep themselves warm.

The manufacturers of kangdi fire pot around kashmir region have started their job and their products are already in the market now.

Mohammed Ashraf is one among them, and has been into this business through generations now. He says the use of kangdi in Kashmir can never be replaced by any other products because people of Kashmir have got used to this traditional system of heating since ages.

Not every one is rich in Kashmir and cant afford the expenses of modern heating appliances, first it is cheap and is portable which adds to its usefulness.

Despite the availability of all modern appliances of heating, most of the house holds in Kashmir rely on this inexpensive technique.

A Kangdi is an improved version of the Manann semi-spherical clay pot enclosed in willow rushes, with handles also made of willow rushes. The pot holds burning coals that stay warm throughout the day. Throughout winter season, it is common to see people with one hand holding their Kangdi inside their Phiran a woolen cloak.

I cannot resist this cold without a kangdi inside my cloak, I start its use at the onset of winter till the arrival of summer, and bearing the expenses of other modern things is impossible.

Making of a kangdi is an art and time consuming process. Mohammed Ashraf says it takes him 4 hours to complete the making of one kangdi. He makes 3 of them a day.

For the months of winter my family and I are completely dependent on this business, the price of each kangdi depends on the raw material used and it ranges form 100 Rs to 1000 Rs.

Though the origin of kangdi remains untraceable, it is believed to be the most famous product of Kashmir. It is now gifted as souvenirs and is counted among heritage of Kashmir.

(Kashmir Monitor)

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