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 7, 2012

Should the Society Ignore Crimes Devoid of Political Payoffs?

Fida sounds an alarm about the recent spurt in crime rate

(Mr. Fida Iqbal, 49, was born in Sopore. He attended the D.A.V. School in Nayadyaar, Rainawari, and the Government Higher Secondary School in Sopore. He obtained his Bachelor's degree in Agriculture/Floriculture and Landscaping from Chowdhry Chottu Ram College at Muzaffarabad Nagar in Uttar Pradesh. Mr. Iqbal works with the Jammu & Kashmir Tourism Department as a landscape architect. He enjoys kitchen gardening, reading writing, and is very a passionate and dedicated golf player.)

  Are we Heading Towards Anarchy?
For the last more than a decade crime graph in Kashmir valley has gone up by manifolds and in particular the social system is most vulnerable to this criminal onslaught. A cursory look on newspaper and other media reports of last many years will reveal the vile face of social crime in Kashmir. To substantiate my argument ‘Degrading social system along with increasing criminal mindset and political strife leading to social anarchy in Kashmir’, let me mention three isolated criminal acts with societal ramifications as references.

• Few months back in Chanpora locality of Srinagar two neighboring families fought over some trivial issue, leaving one person dead. Unfortunately the accused killers were well educated professionals.

• On 17th of August a Shopian girl Tawheeda was murdered by her fiancĂ© Aitmad Ahmad by pushing her into roaring Ahrabal water fall just to make way for his liking to some other lady.

• Exactly a week after this ghastly act of crime against helpless young lady on 24th of August another young girl barely twenty years of age was done to death by none other than her siblings with active support of some other close relations. On the fateful Friday young Zubaida was mercilessly beaten to death and strangulated to make it sure that she is dead by all means. Zubaida’s brutal killing is now dubbed as honour killing by her accused killers but the rumors in the area are rife that Zahida became victim of beastly materialistic mindset of our society.

In all the three cases truths have to be dug out by meticulous and proper investigation by the investigating agencies. Whatever the facts? We are not here to jump to conclusions and conduct any extrajudicial trial, but the way killers have resorted to horrifying killings and the subsequent violent reaction by unruly mob in all the three cases is an alarming bell. A loud and clear bell of social anarchy!

Mankind had to cross many hurdles and phases to reach the levels of humanity. It took lot more time to human race to be on path of compassion, tolerance and justice. But the way greed and materialism is spreading unabated, dehumanization of mankind is imminent in near future. However it is not only our behavior and greed but the way our governing system react to situation of social crime. Many a times, their inappropriate reaction does not prove effective deterrent in containing the social disorder. The politics of a particular region plays a vital role in criminalization of the society and degradation of values. The induced and accepted ad hock-ism in our political order is one of the most important factors for misinterpretation, and lack of respect for the law. Many a time’s proper and justified implementation of law is compromised by the state just to avoid any awkward political situation or to appease a section of the society. These political compromises and appeasements along with inefficiency and corruption have torn our social fabric into rags.

Prior to 1947 Kashmir had a virtues social system with a religious influence in every aspect of life and by then over-exploited and impoverished Kashmiris had only faith to live and values to relish but their social system was much in order than the present, apparently modern, empowered and civilized Kashmir. The influence of religious preachers and leaders possessing great values was the guiding force in maintaining the transparency, sagacity and serenity within our society. Premature and half-hearted democracy played havoc with our social system; made us overenthusiastic regarding our rights but unfortunately we failed to remember about our duties—particularly our social obligations and national responsibilities. In this rush of democracy we left behind our values. Even after more than six decades of imposed democracy we are nowhere near to our legitimate rights; instead we have lost our prudent sense of retaining much cherished values.

Apart from the main horrifying crime acts the over reaction of the unruly mob after Chanpora incident and Shopian killing is an eye-opener both for the society and the administration. The spontaneous reaction of the violent mob is manifestation of delayed justice in our system. Several years back the ghastly killing of Tabinda Ghani in Kupwara district is an example of sluggish justice delivery system. Even after years of trial the case seems heading nowhere. By instituting bravery awards in the memory of this unfortunate young daughter of the nation will not help in containing the social crime and subsequent acts of lawlessness by the disorderly mobs. The best way to save our society from going haywire and prevent anarchy to creep into our social system, we as a society should introspect and adhere to our respective religious teachings of kindness and better values. And beyond doubt, our governments should ensure time bound justice without any discrimination. Otherwise the proverb `might is right' holds good for our society.

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