Skilled women: A distant dream in Kashmir

Bilal Dar

Kashmir is known for its unique handicraft production and has been a part of Kashmiri culture. This sector plays a vital role in income and employment generation. But it has been facing the challenge of industrialization and globalization. Handicrafts work is common in Kashmir and mostly females have learnt the handicraft skills. It can play an important role in women’s empowerment. But they need opportunity, with an environment to develop their talents. Moreover, education and training facilities are must.

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Reflections from Chenab region

The Gujjar – Bakerwal community of Chenab region is extremely backward, and as compared to Gujjar – Bakerwals, living in Poonch – Rajouri region. However, they form an important component of Jammu and Kashmir heritage. In an editorial, daily Kashmir Uzma writes that inspite of having been included in Scheduled Tribe, they lack basic facilities. There are dismally poor arrangements for education. Once there used to be mobile schools, but now these are not functional. Government needs to attend to their problems.

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Dynasty politics faces rebellion

Khalid Isaac

After the fall of coalition got the rebel PDP MLAs have said that PDP has turned into a Family Democratic Party. Obviously politicians in Jammu and Kashmir have followed the foot steps of Nehru – Gandhi family. It seems Ms. Mehbooba is finding it had to keep the legislators together, as power that was binding force has gone. Times are changing and Modi has changed the very concept of politics. Abdullahs and Muftis will have to sit back and introspect.

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Talab: Endangered Heritage of Kashmir

Rayees Ahmad Pir

 Kashmir was known for its water bodies; ponds or ‘Sar’ played an important role, acted as storage for water during floods, and were the habitat for flora and fauna. The disappearing ponds of Kashmir due to  rapid urbanization, public encroachments and apathy of concerned department have been worrisome. There is hardly any initiative towards projecting Kashmir Environmental News. Glaciers are retreating, rainy days are decreasing, demand for water is increasing. The ponds need to be rejuvenated and conserved.

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The less known Persian manuscripts

Iqbal Ahmad

Like Sanskrit records, many Persian MSS and documents have not been translated or maintained properly, writes Iqbal Ahmad. According to him after the decline of Sanskrit, it was Persian that was the official language. The people learnt it and was essentially useful for Muslims, to understand religious teaching. Many Kashmiri Pandits like Bhawanidas Kachru, Taban Ram Turki, Satram Baqaya, Aftab Bhan, Gobind Koul have made valuable contributions to Persian literature. But Persian has been neglected and it is not a healthy state of affairs. To understand philosophy and history in these Persian manuscripts translations should have been encouraged. All Sufi philosophy and rituals are preserved in this language which is a glory of Kashmir Culture.

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Backwardness and development of Jammu Kashmir

Altaf Hussain Haji

Backwardness is defined as lack of normal development especially social development. Social development includes poverty alleviation, citizenship, peace, democracy and governance. The percentage of poverty below poverty line  is 25.7% for rural sector, 13.7% for urban sector in India. Overall poverty is 21.9%. In an analytical article Altaf Hussain writes that in Jammu and Kashmir state, the percentage below poverty line (BPL) is 11.5% from rural sector and 7.2% for urban sector, over all percentage is 10.3%. The percentage of backwardness index of rural sector of Kashmir is 20.5%, for Jammu 40-05%, Ladakh 8 7.5.% The overall backwardness index of J&K is 36.36%. For Urban sector, it is 50% for Kashmir, 37.5% for  Jammu division and it is 87.5% for Ladakh. Total backwardness index is Kashmir – 40% Jammu – 60%  Ladakh 87.5%.

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New signposts of an unknown journey

Mehmoo Ur Rashid

Violence never left Kashmir since 1990. It underwent multiple changes. But 2016 announced the arrival of a new phase of violence. According to the commentator, incorporating opinion on Jammu and Kashmir, the core content of politics of conflict was transmitted to next generation and violence was bound to re-appear in newer forms. The forms could be dependent upon Kashmir’s internal political dynamic, international atmosphere and relationship between India and Pakistan. On all these counts nothing happened that could keep violence at bay. The result has been seen by all, more and more coffins and graveyards.

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A man, no plan

How will Imran Khan govern?

Commenting on the outcome of Pakistan elections and emergence of Imran Khan, a former cricketer, leader of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, as the likely Prime Minister of the country, the writer says that it is the second time in history of Pakistan, that power has been democratically transferred. The outgoing Muslim League Nawaz and Pakistan People’s Party may cry foul, but seem to have accepted the result. Mr. Imran Khan, needs a handful of allies, which it seems will be independents and smaller parties, but obviously not radical Islamist parties.

 Pakistan faces a balance-of-payment crisis, with foreign exchange reserves having gone down to $ 9 bn and IMF bail out looks at but inevitable. The stitching a deal together will need finesse. The terms of an IMF deal will bring a populist party down to earth – having promised an ‘Islamic welfare state’. The next challenge comes on security and foreign policy. Islamist violence is a constant threat to Pakistan. The regional situation is becoming trickier. Khan has to tackle rocky relations with America, festering sore of war-toss Afghanistan and Pakistan’s age-old and bitter animosity towards India. As it is, Khan seems ill-suited for these challenges. The commentator says that Pakistan via the generals may yet find the will to seek better Indian ties. A political analyst, Farooq Tirmizi, predicts a fight that will come down to ‘guns vs textbooks’. So it is to be seen how Khan, who seldom attended parliamentary sessions, will find a sense of dedication, and learn to work with a political class we have only slammed.

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The challenges

The change of regime has provided some relief to people in respect of decrease in the incidence of violence and civilian killings. The administration looks to be engaged in attending to people’s grievances and finding out ways to redress these. But the challenges are many.

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The Climate Change

 Ashraf

 The unusual climate has been creating problems. In Kashmir the effects of climate change have been studied in detail. It reveals that between 1980-2013, nine bench mark glaciers have shrunk by 17%. The total glaciated area has been reduced from 29.01 square kilometers to 23.81 kilometers. There has been corresponding reduction in discharge of rivers dependent on glaciers. Another change has been the shifting of rainfall season from summer to spring, which could have adverse effects on agriculture. Our misfortune is not only negligence but depletion of green cover (because of felling of trees in forests) and deliberate destruction of our water bodies.

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