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

Nigeen Club (Lake) Going to Dogs

It is the same old sad story

Sana Altaf (Kashmir Times)

Srinagar: Kashmir may boost over the success of its tourism this year, but how far the authorities have been able to keep up the charm of tourist places is evident from the condition of the posh Nigeen Club.
Entering one of the most famous, serene and elitist club situated on the banks Nigeen Lake, one is pleased to see well maintained flowering garden. However, after stepping further inside the club, stray dogs welcome the visitors. They can be spotted in the parking slot, amid flowerings, under the shade of chinar and even resting near the restaurant of the club. Ironically, no one seems to be bothered to even shoo off the dogs, who seem to enjoy the cool and serene atmosphere of the club.
The presence of stray dogs in the club is equally prominent as the foreign and domestic visitors who sometimes have to shoo the dogs from attacking their open air dining table. The visibility of dogs is more during the evening hours.
Adding to the displeasure of the visitors are the defunct lights, old bamboo dining chairs and the polluted Nigeen water.
The evening visitors have to be provided with lanterns or candles for open air dinners.
“Nigeen club has been one of the poshest places in Srinagar. Though the gardens have been maintained, but it is sick to have dogs inside,” said Musadiq Ahmad, a local visitor to the club.
Mohammad Amir, another visitor says he was disappointed with the mismanagement in the club.
“It is distressing to see dogs inside club, no proper lights and management. Government needs to take steps to spruce up tourist places.”
Nigeen club dates back to 1900. It was constructed by British on the orchard land owned by the after being en snarled by the supreme beauty of the lake. It was a recreational centre in which a guest house was later built in 1940, wherein the British Residents used to stay.
The British would spend their leisure time in the club, playing cards and other games.
After the British left Kashmir, it was passed onto to department of tourism. The club activities came to a grinding halt after the building was gutted in a devastating fire in 1989. Like most of the public spaces this one too was occupied by Indian Security organizations; first, Border Security Force and later, Central Reserve Police Force. The residential bungalow of the club having seven bed rooms, dining hall, lounge and pantry housed the Jammu and Kashmir Police.
In 2007 the club was vacated and its reconstruction started. It was thrown open again in 2009.
Kashmir Times learnt from club employees that the housekeeping of the club is currently unavailable for past one week as new appointments are in process.
“New members are now being appointed for the club and shall be brought back into action. We will ensure that club work best,” an employee at the club said.

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