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

Saleem Beg's New Baby

Saleem is the key figure and a catalyst in bringing the new Lal Ded Museum into existence 

(Mr. Mohammad Saleem Beg, 61, was born and raised in Srinagar. He was educated at the S.P. College and the Gandhi Memorial College, receiving his Bachelor's degree from the latter. He was awarded a EEC fellowship in 1998 which allowed him to attend study courses at Universities of Luven, Belgium, and Trinity College, Dublin. Mr. Beg entered the State government service in 1975 and retired in 2006 as the Director General of Tourism. In the 31 years of public service (which included two deputation assignments in New Delhi), Mr. Beg promoted local arts and crafts, and raised public awareness of Kashmir's rich heritage and architecture. He was a leading figure in getting Srinagar listed as one of the 100 most threatened heritage cities by the World Monument Fund in 2008. Mr. Beg has traveled extensively and has attended numerous conferences, including the 1997 UN Special Session on Environment in New York, and the 1997 Kyoto Convention on Climate Change in Japan. His articles and essays have been published in various publications. Since retirement, he has remained active as the Convener of the J&K Chapter of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage - INTACH.)

INTACH awards photographers
Rising Kashmir News

SrinagarIf you want to know about the heritage of Srinagar city as old as 18th century, just pay a visit to recently reconstructed Lal Ded Memorial Museum on the banks of river Jehlum at Habba Kadal and you will get to know the history.The display of paintings, photographs, historic maps, old wooden tools and machines like spinning wheel, Kashmir’s prized handicraft products like carpets, shawls, papier-mâché, copperware, and earthenware will take you to Kashmir’s rich art, craft, heritage and life of the people in old city.

Earliest Map of Kashmir by Germans

The reconstructed museum which describes history itself has a prized possession of the earliest map of the Kashmir written in German language. The map drawn in 1802 by Germans shows how much important Kashmir art, craft and heritage was. The map was used by the visitors to know about the land of Kashmir.

Map on wool

Another map was drawn by the great Mughals during 18th century. One of the maps embroidered on the fine wool cloth drawn in the 3rd quarter of the 19th century is a masterpiece of Kashmir art. Kashmiri artisans have intricately crafted the map of Srinagar City on cloth showing lakes, canals, bridges, gardens and places for which city is famous for.

Asia map showing Kashmir part of Mughal province Kabul
Another political and geographical map was drawn in 19th century which shows the territorial boundaries of Asia of 18th century when Kashmir was conquered by Mughals and was under the administrative rule of Kabul government in 1586 AD. During that period, Kashmir formed the part of Mughal province of Kabul that included territories from Kashmir to present day Afghanistan. One the maps also show the historic silk route.

The ground floor of the building also houses the photographs depicting culture, heritage and life of the old city.
The photograph of the old houses in the back drop of the Koh-e-Maran heritage fort in the city reveals how Srinagar is blessed with heritage which used to draw foreign tourists.
“Now city is turning into concrete structures. The heritage in old city is lost into these concrete structures. Preserving the Lal Ded Memorial School is a beginning which will help bring home locals the importance of our own heritage. We don’t have to preserve the old city heritage only for tourists but for locals also who need to know their culture,” said Convener Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage INTACH-JK Chapter Saleem Beigh while interacting with the tourism stake holders at the museum on Tuesday.
Besides holding an interactive session, INTACH organized an award ceremony to honor photographers who won prizes for their photographs which portray culture, heritage and life of the Srinagar city. Director Tourism Kashmir Talat Parveez was the chief guest who gave away the certificates to the photographers.
Later an interactive session with the hoteliers, tour operators was organized to sensitize them about the importance of the city’s rich heritage.

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