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.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

"Go South, Young Man"

Kashmiri youth look for greener pastures, but not without some degree of trepidation

1,000 Youths Get Jobs Outside Valley

Bashaarat Masood (Indian Express)

Srinagar For more than a thousand youth, this is a dream opportunity to showcase their talent in the corporate sector. But as they prepare to step outside the Valley to work in different parts of the country, there are apprehensions and concerns about their safety — even by J-K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah.

A year after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh set up the Rangarajan Committee to roll out a job plan for Kashmir’s youth, 1,060 men and women, trained for various skills under project ‘Himayat’ (Support). The project is a training and placement programme for unemployed youth in the state initiated by the Union Ministry of Rural Development.

Adeeba of Srinagar, who has been appointed as customer service representative in Chandigarh, said: “They (government) not only trained us but also provided us with a job. This is the beginning of a new life for us.”

At a function at Kashmir University where the appointments letters were distributed, the youth and their parents were ecstatic. But when a parent said he will send his son outside the Valley only on the assurance of the Chief Minister, he expresses the fears of numerous others.

Omar, too, expressed concern and made an appeal to the government and people of other states. “Please stop looking at Kashmiris with suspicion. Every Kashmiri is not a militant; every Kashmiri does not want destruction. Most of the Kashmiris want to live a peaceful life and aspire for a good future.”

Union Minister for Rural Development Jairam Ramesh tried to allay the fears. “I think he (Omar Abdullah) has a point and we are looking into it,” Ramesh said on the sidelines of the function. “The whole idea is to bring the youth of Kashmir into the mainstream and break the stereotypes.”

Under ‘Himayat’, one lakh youth from poor families will be given training, over next three to five years, and then employed in private sector across the country.

No comments: