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.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Domestic Tourists Make-up for Lost Time

The numbers make it clear - peace dividend is real if Kashmiris stop being abused by political operatives with single agenda to create mayhem and anarchy

13.50 Lakh Tourists Visited Kashmir in 2012: Parvez

Gulmarg: The Winter Sports kick-started formally at centre of Winter Games of India, the Gulmarg yesterday on Monday during the new year celebrations at the healkth resort. As many as 10 sports activities were held during the day.

Director Tourism Kashmir, Talat Parvez flagged off the sports activities---Sledge Race, Snow Cycling, Snow Marathon, Snow Rugby, Free Style Skiing and Zorbing demonstration. Notably, the most attractive event of the snow festival, Ice skating was held in the evening. As many as 30 students representing various districts of the Valley participated in it. This event was followed by Night Skiing and Cracker show late in the night. These events were witnessed by large number of local and non local tourists and various stakeholders camping in snow capped hill resort, braving chilly breeze of sub zero temperature of Challan Kalan (January) nights.

Speaking on the occasion, Parvez said that revival of tourism in the J&K has been expedited as the number of tourists visited Valley increased manifold. He said the number of tourists has gone to 13.50 lakh in the year 2012 while it was only 6 lakh in 1989.

He said various new games have been introduced in this years game plan, which include Marathon Race and Sledge Race to boost the tourism industry in the Valley. ?"We make efforts to involve more youth in different activists of tourism and winter games for which services of national and international repute coaches are being hired to make them professionally sound?, said Parvez. He added Gulmarg will get fully equipped Internet Centre which will cater the need of tourists besides media persons this year.

Parvez added that owing to the efforts put in place by the Government, tourists from United States and various European Countries are visiting here, following relaxation in the negative travel warnings to visit Kashmir. " Tourists from all over the world visit Kashmir, which is a good omen in boosting the tourist industry," Parvez added further.

Later, prizes were distributed among the best three position holders in each game by Parvez at a function organised late in the evening. A musical concert was also played by the renowned musicians of the Valley. Besdies, Inspector General of Police, Kashmir Range, S. M. Sahai and Chief Executive Officer, Gulmarg Development Authority were also present on the occasion.

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