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.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Callous Society

Proof that Kashmiris (whether tweeting or not), by and large, are uncaring towards the unfortunate and the abandoned


Syed Imran Ali Hamdani (Greater Kashmir)

Srinagar: Unclaimed Baby. These two words have been the identity of this newborn girl as she cries in a cradle at Kashmir’s sole children hospital at Sonawar since the day she was abandoned there last week presumably soon after her birth.

Though medicos caring the baby have been frequently raising this issue on social networking sites like Facebook, practically till now, nobody has come forward on ground. Her cleft deformity, though something fully treatable, is believed to be the cause of her having been abandoned.

The hospital Medical Superintendent Dr Muneer Masoodi said despite repeated efforts nobody came forward to own the infant even as he termed the incident an “alarming situation of dying social and religious values.” “People of this Muslim dominated society are going away from Islam,” he added.

Those witness to bitter cries of the newborn are trying to attract concern through social networking media. Dr Muhammad Salim Khan who works at the hospital had this to post on the Facebook: “Callous Society: It has been 6 days now when a fervent appeal was made for helping her for adoption or personalized care. No one came forward except few media persons who highlighted the plight of the hapless 'orphaned' baby girl and one NGO.”

“How long shall we shun our responsibilities by expressing verbal concerns only? We have more than 5000 NGOs working here, but when it comes to act practically everybody washes hands off. Would she survive with such callous attitude of ours?” he asked.

Concern came but only in comments. Said Gem Khan: “Sir, every moment is a test in one's life from the Almighty Allah. So you need to be enough prudent in your every stride which is related to this beautiful girl child. Be magnanimous in showing your responsibility towards the child, surely Almighty Allah might have a good plan for her betterment and will soon knock your door to take the child back.”

Dr Khan wrote back: “It’s our collective conscience that is loathed by such insensitivity. Let’s hope she gets a warm caring lap soon.”

Tufail Baba another netizen opines that civil society has a role to play. “Why we are asking only for NGOS? Why cannot one of us take the lead. I think we are not worth to call our society an Islamic society and ourselves true Muslims. I pray to Allah to forgive me and all of us and make a suitable arrangement for the poor baby.”

Khalid Hussain a netizen remarked that: “We Kashmiris have this habit of blaming others every now and then. If no one comes forward we can think of other alternatives like donations. Kindly do a favor by opening an account in her name so that donations can be deposited. InshaAllah I will be the first to donate.”

However his suggestion has little takers. “The moment we ask for donations for the baby, scores of pseudo-NGOs will erupt for collecting donations for her name and will swindle and take away the booty for themselves. So no collections till she gets someone to own or adopt,” a medico attending her replied.

According to hospital authorities the baby was left by her parents in the hospital on the morning of September 15. About her facial deformity, the hospital medicos said: “The cleft palate and lip is a birth defect which is 100 percent treatable through plastic surgery and proper management during the treatment.”

A plastic surgeon said that such surgeries are done across the country including Jammu and Kashmir. “Some NGOs are also financing the cleft surgeries,” said a surgeon.

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