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, April 1, 2012

History Dying

The pathetic state of valley's main museum is highlighted by the Kashmir Monitor

SPS Museum in Shambles, History Dying

By Firdous Hassan

Srinagar: Sri Pratap Singh Museum the summer capital’s main museum may soon need to be placed in a museum of its own as the government seems to have forgotten that it actually exists.

Being the sole museum of the valley which stores the history and identity of Kashmir’s rich culture, it continues to disappoint the art and history lovers as the administrators of the museum hardly value what has been given to them for being taken care of.

Even after five years of the construction of the much hyped new museum building which was supposed to store all the antiques is still not fully operational.

An investigation by The Kashmir Monitor into the condition of the museum has thrown up shocking revelations. Priceless antiques are lying in piles of dust ,showing that they have never been cleaned.On top of that they are placed in a haphazard manner, not like a museum stores its antiques.

The world famous paintings of Maharaja and his times, Santosh and even M F Hussain are too lying in dust and uncared for.In todays market these would fetch millions of dollars.

The Kashmir Monitor spoke to some of the visitors who shook their head in disappointment. “We have been to almost every museum of the country but this is the first of its kind where the things are kept in a very shabby manner. Every antique has a history stored in it and here too these antiques narrate a tale but no one seems to be taking care of them”, said a group of local history lovers.

During this reporters visit inside the building, for an hour in the morning there was no lighting arrangement and most of the doors leading to the other sections of museum were closed even at 11:30am as the officials claimed that some of their fellow employees were on leave.

Moving ahead to the first section of the museum where most of cupboards were lying empty while as some of the mummified birds like ‘Jack Daw’ and other animals were found with broken necks and shelled bodies and all the rooms were without any fire extinguisher which the staff claimed to have been sent for the refill.

Furthermore the boat which was gifted to Maharaja Ranbir Singh by Queen victoria has been left in an open ground which has led to its weathering and has now become the resting place of stray dogs.

Unlike other museum of the country the museum also lacks a guide who could educate and inform the visitors about the antiques and paintings lying there.

When asked about the state of the museum, the curator Mushtaq Ahmad, said “We don’t know when the authorities will make the new building operational where all the antiques will be placed in a good pattern. Right now we have kept some of the antiques for rest.”

When asked about the dogs inside the lawn and the condition of the boat, he said, “This area is under Police and Housing Corporation.We don’t have any space in the museum for this boat and we can’t take it away from this place. So we are planning to make a small shed for it in the month of April.”

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