Kashmir Truth Be Told Blog
Yus neereth gassan, pheereth cha yevaano: morda che gassan zinde (Kashmiri saying)

7/26/08

Indo-US Nuclear Deal and the Muslim Identity

I dont think I'll be able to convince people who have wrongly made up their minds, through misinformation, that anyone who talks about a muslim identity would be a hot-headed 'Islamic rage boy'. These people also are usually of the belief that there is no such thing as a muslim identity. But inspite of these stereotypes I'll give it a shot and put forth my few points:

They claim that much of the muslim world would be againts itself because many muslim countries cooperate militarily with the US. How many of these countries are democracies? Qatar, Saudi Arabia(which continues to have US bases), Jordan, Egypt, the gulf sheikhdoms and their ilk are all dictatorships or monarchies imposed by the West. If you were to ask the suppressed muslim populace of these countries about cooperating with the US or Israel I am sure you would get an answer not very far from that of the percieved 'muslim identity'.

As far as India benfeting from this deal economically and therefore the views of the majority of its muslim poulace takes second place, I would like to respectfully note that Indians are underestimating the genius of thier scientists and engineers who wuold sooner than later be able to manufacture the nuclear fuel indiginously. India would sooner or later be able to produce the yellow cake and maybe even be able tp export it to other countries. Indians are unknowingly thwarting their own progress by purchasing the nuclear fuel instead of using all resources to manufacture it in India.

If muslims are respected as equal citizens of India, cooperation with US over the nuclear deal should be reconsidered, and at the same time research for the indigineous production of Uranium should be bolstered. This should be done in solidarity with Iran and in ojection to the double standards that the US is exercising whilst dealing with other muslim countries; for instance the US unconditional support of Israel and its apartheid policies. Has anyone ever heard of US objecting to the 300 nuclear warheads that Israel posseses and yet is the recipient of over 300 billion dollar US aid most of which Israel spends on military hardware to sustain a country that has been the reason of war and suffering in the muslim world ever since it was imposed upon the middle-east.

If proponents of the Indo-US nuclear deal are unable to see the double standards that the US and its accomplices are proposing, then nothing will ever convince them. US is on the verge of militarily striking Iran for suspision of having a secret nuclear weapons program, and therefore Iran is prohibited by the US and its henchmen from pursuing a peaceful nuclear program for generating electricity. India already has nuclear weapons and yet is helped with the civilian nuclear program. Does anyone see the doublle standard?. Is it because Iran and Syria are muslim countries and not buddies with the terrorist state of Israel? I suspect that is the main reason.

If you still want muslims to support this deal, you have to assume that we are brain-dead sheep who follow any solgan of the "poor, downtrodden, helpless muslims of India" who would somehow overnight come out of this misrey by the US-India nuclear deal.

7/22/08

Environmental Stewardship

Years of timber smuggling has robbed our forests of so many deodar trees that these forests look more as barren and open meadows now. The only thing that makes this statement wrong is the fact that meadows are usually percieved as being flat lands and not mountain slopes.

Unscrupulous people have been scouring our forests for these precious old growth trees and chopping them down with impunity -- sometimes with the knowledge of the concerned officials and paramilitary forces, who reportedly have a share in the loot.

These trees are atleast a few hundred years old and have a ready market within Kashmir and other parts of India. The smuggling is very lucrative with each cubic foot of deodar fetching not less than Rs 5000. Consider what a 200 ft long and 5 ft wide tree would be worth to these smugglers who simply have to chop it down and take it to the nearest band-saw owner.

It will takes decades for these forests to rejuvenate - and they will only grow back if the forest department actually takes an initiative to plant deodar saplings there. I was in disbelief when I learnt that the forest department doesnt actually reforest these areas with deodar but instead with poplar and willow trees.

I have confirmed this fact and was shocked to learn that even if the forest department decides to make an effort to repopulate a forest area with deodar trees, unscrupulous forest officials plant the cheaper poplar trees and pocket the difference that the deodar trees would have cost and yet on paper they show that deodar trees were planted.

What these corrupt and officials fail to understand is that every corrupt action has a cascading affect and ultimately affects each and every citizen of Kashmir. They may have pocketed a few hundred rupees for not planting an acre of forest with deodar trees, but I hope they realize at some time in their life that they have actually robbed their nation and simply passed on the misery to the future generations of Kashmir who will have to deal with this situation sooner or later.

I can only speculate what the future generations will think of this time when they have to deal with this problem which probably will have snowballed into a huge crisis in their time with erosion, landslides and floods wreaking havoc on their lives. They will certainly judge these officials very harshly for selling their souls for a few hundred rupees.

Taking care of our precious forests, and prime agricultural lands for our future generations is known as environmental setwardship. That means that we take care of these forests for our future generations. If our ancestors presented us these forests and agricultural lands in pristine condition, then it is only fair that we pass them on to the future generations in the same or better condition that they were handed down to us. Failing to do so will invite the label of being the most selfish and self-serving generation that Kashmir has ever produced.

7/19/08

Anarchy

I recently happened to visit many small villages in the Badgam district and was horrified to witness the pollution caused by the countless brick-kilns that dot the landscape there. It is a mockery of our so called "Pollution Control Board" to allow such needless destruction of our precious agriculture lands.

Every single country in the world has laws to protect prime agriculural lands from being used for anything other than agricultural activity. What is surprising is that in Kashmir we have similar strict laws regarding changing the use of agricultural lands. It seems that just like every other laws that give any semblance of a government functioning in Kashmir, this law is only good on paper and not really enforceable since there really is no government functioning in Kashmir.

The powers to change the land-use of a certain piece of agricultural land lies with the revenue deoartment and as we know that means the Patwari of a certain area has to make the decision. Needless to say we know that Patwaris are the most corrupt of all officials. It saddens me that the future of our fragile environment lies with the corrupt Patwaris.

7/18/08

Tough Solution for Dal Lake

Dal Lake and other lakes keep falling into the presipice of a dark future. A future where all the beautiful lakes and rivers will turn into a swamp and maybe be filled later on to be built upon for cosntructing concrete buildings.
In my opinion, the only solution to this problem is as follows:

The actual boundaries of these lakes should be indentified. This should be an easy task for our scientists using satellite imagery and figuring out the extent of flooding during peak rainy seasons. After identifiying the boundaries, those areas falling within this boundary should be absolutely a 'no-construction' zone. I beleive this is done to some extent by the LAWDA at the present time with some enforcements taking place.

An ideal solution would be if this whole lake area is somehow de-populated and then enclosed using a non-penetrable fence with a few entry gates for getting in and out of the lake areas.

I believe this solution is workable if there is a good incentive for the residents of this area to relocate from their ancestral homes and lands. What would be a better incentive for some resident of Jogilankar, Gurpur, or Bahrar to relocate from an area that borders the Dal or Nagin Lakes to another area. The incentive would be if the area of relocation is in a better neighbourhood.

I would ask the readers to identify any government owned lands within the Srinagar city limits which the government could re-acquire that they could offer these residents of Dal or other areas bordering these Lakes?

7/5/08

More Conspiracy by Hindutva Agents

Here's an excerpt of an article I was reading from some Hindutva agent about ways to get rid of article 370 :

Excerpt
"Firstly, there’s that issue raised by A. G. Noorani in his article
cited earlier. He snidely wonders whether the BJP has
considered what the effect of abrogation will be on Article
1 of the Constitution of India. His unstated argument is that
Article 1, listing the territories of India, is applicable in
relation to Jammu & Kashmir State only through Article 370
and that, therefore, the extinction of Article 370 would mean
the exclusion of Jammu & Kashmir from the constitutionally
listed territory of the Union of India ! Well, that is a very
minor snag that a senior lawyer should never have even
contemplated. After all, if the BJP does at all effect the
miracle of abrogating the whole of Article of 370 through
a Constitutional amendment, all it has to do in the process
is to add a clause in its Amendment Bill whereby Jammu
& Kashmir is included in Article 1 itself, independent of any
other provision of the Indian Constitution.

The real problem in the abrogation exercise is the wording
itself of the Article. It states that the Article can cease to
be operative only if so recommended by the Constituent
Assembly of Jammu & Kashmir State. Since that Constituent
Assembly was dissolved in November 1957 but its existence
not removed from the Constitutional text till date,
its recommendation for axing Article 370 is impossible in practice.
A suggested solution to this obstacle is an amendment of
the Indian Constitution under Article 368 to remove the
stipulation therein that the recommendation of the Constituent
Assembly is necessary to remove the Article. However,
because of a Constitution Order of the President under
Article 370, any amendment under Article 368 affecting
Jammu & Kashmir demands issuing of a Presidential Order
under Article 370. This, in turn, means that a constitutional
proposal to axe the mention of the Constituent Assembly
from Article 370’s wording would require the State’s concurrence
under clause (1)(d) of the existing Article. Such concurrence
from either the State Government or the State Legislature appears
almost impossible to procure as long as the Kashmir Valley rules the State.

In the USA, such consent would be extracted by resorting
to pressure. Federal financial assistance to a State would, for
instance, be withheld until the State complies. Adherence to
the stipulated high minimum speed limits for cars on the
American highways is known to be ensured in that manner.
Will any Central Government in India have the spine to use
such tactics in order to make Jammu & Kashmir State fall
in line?"

A sigh of relief for now that the concurrence of the state legislature is required to abrogate article 370. More reasons for an alert Kashmir citizenry. A word for Hindutva agents - Keep dreaming!

The problem with no solution

It is common knowledge that people in Kashmir are suffering from more ailments these days than anytime in the past. Kashmir used to be renowned as a place where sick people used to visit in order to recover from sickness and get healthy. The pristine natural beauty used to have a healing effect on these patients.

I am certain that Kashmiris are not in as good a physical and mental health than what they used to be only a few decades ago. Many claim that this decline in physical fitness and increase in health related issues is merely a reflection of better access to doctors and specialists who are identifying these ailments and diseases which otherwise would have gone un-diagnosed. This might very well be the case in some instances, but to attribute this reason to most cases is being too optimistic.

In my opinion, the sudden spike in the outburst of health issues has more to do with our changing lifestyles than any other reasons; and it certainly warrants a thorough research to suggest some remedies and inform the public about the choices they have in terms of getting accustomed to a new lifestyle.

The new lifestyle that I am referring to is getting used to the militancy in Kashmir. It is an established fact that there are a huge number of psychiatric cases in Kashmir and this needs no justification or elaboration. It is heart-wrenching just to mention it here. Anyone watching the news in the last couple of days must have learnt about the young girl in India who went into a shock after being ridiculed by judges who were critical of her dancing. The little girl went into a shock and is in a state of paralysis which resulted in her losing her speech as well. All this over a dancing incident and no violence was involved. Now let us go back to the spike in psychiatric cases in Kashmir ever since the onset of militancy here. Consider the horror of a Kashmrir girl seeing her brother or father being terrorized and shot in front of her eyes by the Indian paramilitary forces. The spike in these psychiatric cases is a testament to these incidents and many of these cases are exactly because young Kashmiri children went into a shock after witnessing the death of a loved one (probably a militant whom the Indian paramilitary forces killed in cold-blood in front of his family after raiding his house in the middle of the night - that is usually the case in many of these "encounters").

Although the psychiatric cases are a tragic outcome and only time and love can help those victims; the physical welness is upto us and we could certainly improve our well-being.

Our lifestyles have changed because of increased immobility, watching too much TV, and the wanton consumption of quick-snacks and soft-drinks. The most obvious consequence of militancy is the restriction imposed upon people's movements because of constant crackdowns in the 90's to almost regular hartals and curfews even at the present time. This immobility of Kashmiris has drastically reduced the already little exercise they used to get by walking to the bus stop, going out to the market, or even getting out for a stroll after sunset. The interference with peoples day-to-day life has left Kashmiris with little choice but to sit back and watch TV, and snack up on high-carb treats - readily available these days.

Another nail in the coffin of the health of Kashmiris is the introduction of bottled juices. It is the preferred drink to serve our guests these days. Gone are the days when the healthy lime-juice used to be served. It seems that us Kashmiris are easily attracted to any vice which will reduce our physical efforts to prepare just about any meal or cold drink. The bottled juices are an easy replacements to the laborious task of preparing fresh lime juice each time our guests visit us. If only more people were made aware of the harmful affects of the ingredients of these bottled juices, maybe they would think twice before sipping on this concoction of slow-poison. These juices are packed with sugar which is fattening and preservatives which deteriorate our immune system. Some juices also contain a preservative called Soduim Benzoate, which is a hormone disrupter. In layman terms, it means that normal people will become homosexuals if this hormone disruption takes place on a large scale.

All these bad habits - some imposed and some self-inflicted - has brought with it a windfall of lifestyle related diseases such as Diabetes, Obesity, Gall and Kidney stones, high blood-pressure and Cholestrol and a long list of heart diseases.

7/1/08

Mission Accomplished

I decided to save this ribbon on a separate post of its own to remind us of the victory of July 01, 2008. On this day, the people of Kashmir were able to stand united and got the decision to transfer land at Baltal, and Dhumail, Pahalgam to the SASB reversed.

This is a momentous day in the history of Kashmir, and just shows that if we stand united for a cause no obstacle is unsurmountable.

May the five Kashmiris who lost their lives rest in peace and may Allah bless them and grant them heaven.