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, May 20, 2012

Kashmir University Shows The Way

What else would you expect from the State ranked among the most corrupt

Kashmir University Buys ‘A’Ranking

Srinagar: Kashmir University officials say the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) minutely scrutinises nearly a thousand parameters before it gives its seal of approval to a particular institution, a startling reports, that shames University authorities, in New Delhi based Mail Today newspaper.

But they will never tell that the 'thousand parameters' include expensive gifts and extraordinary hospitality to the accreditation council's members when they call in for a ground check or random quality evaluation. The university showered a NAAC team last summer with high-end Pashmina-mixed Tosha shawls, a dozen intricately designed Samawars (Kashmiri tea pots) and Kesar (saffron) - the world-famous emperor of spice grown by Kashmiri farmers.

For the record, pure saffron comes at a prohibitive price of around Rs235 per gram and the university shelled out Rs12, 028 on this exclusive herb-spice. And that's not all. The university spent Rs1, 289,137 on the NAAC members during their 'stay' from July 18 to August 12.

Documents reveal the break-up: Rs311,235 on travel and dearness allowance, Rs83,000 as honorarium, Rs1,26,235 to library café for lunches, Rs70,000 to camping agency, and Rs5,87,994 to Hotel Taj Vivanta, where the team stayed. This includes Rs33, 150 for a dozen Tosha shawls. Besides, the university paid Rs6, 120 to bookseller Sheikh Usman for books that the NAAC members borrowed but never returned. Rest assured, going this extra length helps as the Valley's topmost institution takes pride in being an NAAC-accredited university with an 'A' rank - the highest possible.

The team checked all the parameters - curriculum, faculty, research, infrastructure, learning resources, organisation, governance, financial well-being and student services - and found them in order. University registrar Syed Fayaz said the NAAC normally reimburses the tour and dearness allowances (TA and DA) of its visiting team. 'But money spent on gifts is not reimbursed,' he added. Senior NAAC official Sham Sundaran said the team wasn't supposed to accept any gift, though the university might have given these things out of respect.

The University Grants Commission (UGC) formed the NAAC in 1994 with its headquarters in Bangalore. It was accorded autonomous status to assess and accredit institutions of higher education in the country. (

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