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, August 26, 2012

Kashmiri Sikhs in Distress

Sikhs considering the possibility of migrating from the valley

Sikhs In Kashmir

Early Times Report
Jammu: Miniscule minority of Kashmiri Sikhs has finally decided to take on head on the authorities in the State and at the Centre and attract attention of those who matter to the problems they have been facing since decades. They may even decide to quit Kashmir, as the miniscule minority of Kashmiri Hindus did more than two decades ago to save their religion, culture, life and dignity and completely identify with the nation. It all depends on what transpires in the two-day-long "Ethnic Sikh Conference", which will commence tomorrow at Dr Sir Syed Iqbal Mini Complex, Rawalpora, Srinagar. Prominent Sikh leaders and several lawmakers from Delhi, Punjab, Jammu and other places will participate in this crucial ethnic Sikh conference.
The decision to hold ethnic Sikh Conference was made public last week by chairman of the All-Parties Sikh Coordination Committee Jagmohan Singh Raina. Addressing media persons, he, along with other Sikh leaders, had catalogued the woes, problems and demands of his community and threatened that the entire Sikh community will quit the Valley in case their demands were not conceded forthwith. About 50 to 60 thousand Sikhs still live in different parts of Kashmir, especially Baramulla, Anantnag and Srinagar. Raina had accused the authorities of destroying the Sikh community socially, economically and politically and asserted that it was being done as per a plan. He did give everyone to understand that his community in the Kashmir Valley was facing persecution, neglect and marginalization and that the situation in Kashmir had climaxed to the point that the entire Sikh community could migrate from the Valley. He had, in fact, revealed that many Sikhs had already migrated from Kashmir villages to cities. His message was loud and clear. 

Things in Kashmir have deteriorated; it is difficult for the Sikh community to live in the Valley in the prevailing hostile environment. Raina had that day put forth four specific demands - grant of minority status to the Sikh community, reservation for the Sikhs, appointment of Punjabi lecturers in colleges and security.It is obvious that the participants in the scheduled Ethnic Sikh Conference will discuss all these and the related issues in minute detail. The very fact that Raina warned that his co-religionists in Kashmir could quit Kashmir indicated that they were passing through critical times like the minority Hindus and Sikh in Pakistan. Hence, one can expect a very serious debate on the issues confronting the helpless and abandoned Sikhs in Kashmir.

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