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

Once Kashmir Was Known For Its Terracotta

Terracotta discoveries from the past displayed the vast richness of Kashmiri art that is close to extinction now

Pottery, a Dying Art Form

Mudasir Tariq (Kashmir Monitor)

Baramulla: Hit by rising costs of essential commodities and lack of market interest, Kashmiri potters are now contemplating giving up their generations’ old profession.

At Putkhah, a small hamlet in Baramulla, Ghulam Ahmed Kumar wonders what life has in store for him. Many generations of his family have been in the pottery business but as the demand for the mud pots is on a decline, Kumar fears that his children may have to look for other professions.

“My father used to sell these pots and in barter get enough grains that would last for a full year. It was a valued profession but now with the introduction of modern type of utensils this great art of pottery has been overshadowed and our new generation is turning to other professions,” says Kumar.

He further said pottery works were a part of daily life and used for several functions in the past. “Some of the pots were considered essential for certain ceremonies like henna pots, earthen lamps, tumbaknari, milk pots etc. In Kashmir, some 70 years back in village marriages food was served in mud pots only. Incidentally food served in mud pots is considered to be clean and matka works like a refrigerator, which keeps the water cool. Unfortunately for us, these are not used anymore,” Kumar added.

Another potter Rajab Kumar from Haigam said, “Almost in every mohalla there used to be a terracotta center and we used to serve some particular homes in the village and get money and grains in return. The potter who used to make these pots held an important position in the village.”

Gani Kumar of Shirakwara Baramulla said due to very little demand for these pots it was difficult for them to provide livelihood for their families. “We sell some particular items like heaters, milk pots and tumbaknaries and that too very rarely…my son has switched to fruit business….he doesn’t like this job,” Gani added.

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