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.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Divinity Marred by Excesses

Imran says in Pahalgam divine boon of a green belt is being replaced by material mania


Imran Yousuf (Kashmir Images)

When someone imagines about natural creation, natural beauty, Kashmir is the first word which strikes his mind. Kashmir is well-known in every corner of this world for its unique, incomparable, matchless and eternal beauty and Pahalgam has been the crown. Pahalgam is the place where comprehensive combination of divine beauty is found, green landscapes, thousands of years old Devdars are spotted everywhere in the valley, but one more advantage that adds the magnificence is the Majestic Lidder. The sparkling water of River Lidder flows through the valley of Pahalgam and therefore it is also called as Lidder Valley. Majestic lidder makes Pahalgam more precious, exceptional and beyond comparison. The Lidder River is popular among travelers because of its cold water flowing right from glaciers. Pahalgam is surrounded by mountains and crossed by the cascading waters of river Lidder, it has been a popular tourist destination for years. The snow capped peaks in the background and abundant green pine forests soothe the eyes of the visitors. Virgin pine forests, apparent mountain streams, and meadows of wildflowers mark Pahalgam as part of the paradisiacal beauty of Kashmir.

Pahalgam is the finest tourist resort blessed by deity from each and every corner. On the other hand Kashmir has faced some ugly days as well as Pahalgam is also suffering due to the recklessness of people of Kashmir. When we go through Pahalgam we come across new structures everywhere, new huts, hotels, houses are built through the whole valley, nonetheless govt. has stopped and banned the new constructions but things are going on. We are losing the greenery and natural beauty. We don’t see Pahalgam as fine-looking and eye-catching as it used to be. Natural beauty is being replaced by artificial, nearly entire place has been built in new pattern and concrete structures are surfacing which doesn’t gel with the environment and thus are diminishing the loveliness and attractiveness of Pahalgam. The natural beauty has its own unparalleled magical charm.

About 15 years ago I went to Pahalagm with my Dad, I do remember, at the very first glance I was fascinated and I could not stop myself to get lost in the divine beauty of Pahalgam. I saw some wooden huts or houses built that time look fantastic, now I identify perfectly that these huts were also constructed in concrete, they looked like creator has itself constructed them to boost the charm. Today we find modern constructions all over the place - hotels, shops, houses, and huts have occupied the whole space. No doubt it has made life a bit easy but a tourist misses the calmness of mountains, noise of fluxing water which used to attract visitors from different corners of the world. One misses that old elegance, the glimpse of deity beauty.

Shouldn’t we care for this magical place with magical atmosphere, magical climate which changes its complete pattern within seconds.

Doesn’t this place belong to us, which Deity has created with his own hands, Doesn’t Pahalgam deserve a close attention to protect it and restore its earlier magic?

That Pahalgam which used to bless the visitors eyes.
That Pahalgam which used to offer divine presence.
That Pahalgam which used to be the spiritual place for saints
That Pahalgam we are losing bit by bit, please save it now or it will be too late.

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