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Column : Historiography in Kashmir

Tsewang Rigzin

Ladakh’s onw textbooks : A step towards autonomy

RAKESH ANKIT

The problem of poonch

Prof. Jigar Mohammad

P42

P54

P8

J & K ’ S M O N T H LY M A G A Z I N E

ISSN : 0974-5653

Epilogue C U R R E N T

A F F A I R S ,

S O C I A L

S C I E N C E S

h k a d a L return to

n life Notes o

Statist irs è a f f A t Curren è

file ical Pro

SEMINAR KASHMIR UNREST : THE CIVIL SOCIETY RESPONSE

UE G O L I EP 4 th

year o f

IVE S U L EXC nsible jo se

nalism ur

Jammu, August 1 ,2010 / Vol 4 / Issue 8 | Price Rs. 30 | Postal Regd. No. JK-350/2011 | www.epilogue.in

N E W S ,

44th f issue o e s n e s

B G Verghese ? Inder Malhotra ? Gautam Navlakha ? Naeem Akhter ? Radha Kumar ? Rekha Choudhary ? Arjimand Hussain Talib ? Daya Sagar ? Ershad Mehmud ? M M Khajoria ? Ramesh Mehta ? Nyla Ali Khan ? Gul Mohammad Wani


ANNOUNCES

Ladakh Women Writers Award

2010-11 2010-11

Open to women writers from Ladakh above the age of 18 years LANGUAGE :

English, Hindi, Urdu and Ladakhi

TOPIC :

Reflecting community perspectives on Education, Environment and Disability for positive change from the ground .

AWARD DETAILS :

Ladakh Women Writers Award : 3 Awards of Rs.5,000/- each

EXPECTED OUTCOME :

6 articles by each awardee of word length 800-1000 with photographs on the chosen theme

TIME PERIOD FOR AWARD WRITINGS : Dec-June 2011 APPLICATION FORM :

available on www.charkha.org from 15 Aug 2010 onwards.

LAST DATE FOR RECEIVING APPLICATIONS : 5 OCT 2010 Charkha, an NGO established in1994 works in several states across India to connect issues of the rural marginalised communities to the policy makers through the media. In areas like Ladakh, geographically distant from the rest of the county, its effort is to highlight voices and integrate them with the mainstream.

Applications may be sent by email to: charkha@bol.net.in or sujvan@gmail.com For further detail, contact : Sujata Raghavan : 09811217054, 0124-4079082

The Awards will be announced on 7 Dec 2010 in New Delhi at a function to mark Charkha Founders' Day.


DRUG ABUSE AND ADDICTION COMMON SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF DRUG ABUSE : ? Neglecting responsibilities at work or home. ? Taking drugs under dangerous conditions or taking risks while high such as driving, while on drugs, using dirty needles or having unprotected sex. ? Getting into legal trouble such as arrests for disorderly conduct, driving under the influence or stealing to support a drug habit. ? Causing problems in relationship such as fights with your partner or family members, an unhappy boss, or the loss of old friends. ? You have built up a drug tolerance. ? You experience symptoms such as nausea, restlessness, insomnia, depression, sweating, shaking and anxiety. ? You have lost control over your drug use. ? Your life revolves around drug use. ? You have abandoned activities such as hobbies, sports and socializing. ? It is causing measure problems in your like Blackouts, infections mood swings, depression and paranoia.

HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM DRUGS ? Get educated yourself and know the facts. ? Avoid peer pressure, think ahead and say “NO� ? Avoid situation where people will be drinking and using drugs. ? Confront your problems. ? Get help for the underline problems of family, relationships, anxiety or depression. ? Support from family members close friends relatives, councillors. Healthcare providers and society is essential to addiction recovery. Sd/Sr. Suptd. of Police Crime Branch, Jammu DIP/JK-4207/2010 Dated : 24-6-2010

CRIME BRANCH, JAMMU


3

Epilogue because there is more to know

CONTENT

www.epilogue.in

Editor Zafar Iqbal Choudhary

Prologue Letters

5 6

Publisher Yogesh Pandoh

Exclusive Stories The Problem of Poonch

8

Rakesh Ankit

Consulting Editor D. Suba Chandran Manu Srivastsa

Seminar Features

Associate Editors Irm Amin Baig Tsewang Rigzin Zorawar Singh Jamwal General Manager Kartavya Pandoh

Volume 4, Issue 8, August 2010

I N FOCUS

Art Editor Keshav Sharma Research Officer Raman Sharma Phones & email Office : +91 191 2493136 Editorial: +91 94191 80762 Administration: +91 94191 82518 subscriptions : +91 90188 87136 editor@epilogue.in subscription@epilogue.in Printed and Published by Yogesh Pandoh for Epilogue NewsCraft from Ibadat House, Madrasa Lane, Near Graveyard, Bathindi Top, Jammu, J&K - 180012 and Printed at : DEE DEE Reprographix, 3 Aikta Ashram, New Rehari Jammu (J&K)

Ladakh 32

Society Donning New Roles

33

Women in Governance A Search for an Identity

35

Agriculture No winter chill for farmers

36

Environment Glacial Melting causing havoc

11

Gautam Navlakha BG Verghese Rekha Choudhary Naeem Akhtar Nyla Ali Khan Ramesh Mehta M M Khajooria Daya Sagar Arjimand Hussain Talib Ershad Mehmud Gul Mohammad Wani Inder Malhotra Radha Kumar

Column Historiography in Kashmir

54

Prof. Jigar Mohammad

Yangchan Dolma

Yangchan Dolma

Zainab Akhter

Tashi Morup

38

Able to challenge disability : The unfolding of two lives Dolma Namgyal

39

Bollywood Effect : One in a series of onslaughts on Ladakh Rekha Shenoy

41

Personal Experience A Trek Through Life Thinlas Chorol

42

Ladakh’s own textbooks : A step towards autonomy Tsewang Rigzin

Disputes, if any, subject to jurisdiction of courts and competitive tribunals in Jammu only. RNI : JKENG/2007/26070 ISN : 00974-5653 Price : Rs 30 www.epilogue.in

43

Pasture dispute Trespassing cause unrest in Rangdum Tsewang Rigzin

44

A traveller’s perspective Leh changed, and et it didn’t Eline Gordts

46 52

Current Affairs Statistical Profile Vol. 4, Issue 8

Epilogue, August 2010


TOWARDS FREEDOM FROM TUBERCULOSIS (TB) ? If you have a cough for more than two weeks, ? If you have fever especially in nights, ? If you are loosing weight without any reason ? If you do not feel like eating, ? If you are in close proximity with someone who has TB,

all these symptoms can be TB

THEN ? Get your sputum examined at nearest Designated Microscopic centre free of cost. ? TB is 100% curable and all anti TB drugs are provided free of cost at your door steps by Revised

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“DOTS” -

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STATE TB CONTROL SOCIETY DIRECTORATE OF HEALTH SERVICES, JAMMU

TOWARDS FREEDOM FROM TB STOP SMOKING STOP TB ª Tuberculosis is a major cause of premature deaths in India. ª The prevalence of TB, is about 3 times more among smokers. ª The heavier the smoking, either, cigarettes or beedies, the greater

the prevalence of TB among smokers. ª Mortality from TB- is 3-4 times, higher in smokers than in non-

smokers.

QUIT SMOKING TODAY STATE TB CONTROL SOCIETY DIRECTORATE OF HEALTH DIP/J-4783

SERVICES, JAMMU

Dated : 14-6-2010

National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP) approved DOTS centre. DOTS is the most effective strategy available for controlling TB.


5

PROLOGUE

From the Editor

Time for Introspection ZAFAR CHOUDHARY

T

his month in 2008 we had written that Kashmir Valley is back to square one. In summer of that year fiveyear long peace was breached, people were on the streets, government was clueless, separatism was at zenith, mainstream political leaders were pushed to the wall, anger and discontent was writ large on the faces of youths, divides in the regions were deepening and no one was able offer a clue to what might happen next. That was the situation triggered by Amarnath land row which dispelled many myths about peace in Kashmir. In 2002 Jammu and Kashmir went through most credible elections of the history. Credit goes to the then Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee who promised and delivered whatever little he could do. A popular government of Peoples Democratic Party-Congress combine came into being. Mufti Mohammad Sayeed's statesmanship and brought a visible turnaround in situation. Every subsequent year 2002 onwards, incidents of militant violence declined by 25 to 35%. Mufti's successor Ghulam Nabi Azad inherited a relatively far stable political environment. Shortly before that there was change of guard in New Delhi. Manmohan Singh had taken place of Vajpayee. There followed a string of errors from Srinagar to New Delhi. The decline in militant

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violence was apparently misconstrued as proportional restoration of peace and stability. Authorities believed that now the only task before them was to finish 500 to 800 odd militants operating in the state and stop entry of around 1500 who may be waiting to cross over from other side of the divide. The Government in Srinagar/Jammu felt that issue was all about governance and the leaders in Delhi thought it was more about economic disadvantages. Chief Minister went on cleanse his administration and Prime Minister pumped in wads of money. These initiatives were very useful in improving the quality of life but there was no organized attempt to consolidate the gains of a positive atmosphere that sprung the landscape of Jammu and Kashmir after 2002 elections. Therefore, a very minor and immediately correctible issue (transfer of land to temple) trust spoilt the Kashmir story written over the years jointly by people like Atal Behari Vajpayee, Pervez Musharraf, and Mufti Mohammad Sayeed. There were, of course, many others who also played their roles in making Kashmir a negotiable issue. Shortly after 2008 crisis people again offered an opportunity of negotiating peace after they overwhelmingly participated in elections but then again same old folly

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AUGUST 2008 was repeated. Massive participation in elections was apparently misconstrued as victory and the warning signals of the previous months were hardly taken seriously. Rather those who revolted on the streets were ridiculed by showing them the statistics of voter participation in elections. Experience of summers of 2009 and now what is going on in Kashmir needs and introspection at levels. Now is the time to clearly understand what do people and what the maximum that can be given is. We can't be at war with ourselves all the times. Feedback : zafarchoudhary@epilogue.in

Epilogue, August 2010


6

Letters

Readers Write Manmohan put people first

T

here is no denying the fact that Atal Bihari Vajpayee did a lot in Kashmir but contribution of Manmohan Singh Government cannot be overlooked. Let me say that you have been bit obsessive with Vajpayee (Vajpayee's politics and Manmohan's economics, Epilogue, July 2010) in your analysis. The major difference in their policies was actually not touched upon in your essay. Vajpayee accorded top priority to Kashmir issue while Manmohan Singh put people first. Vajpayee's stand and initiatives revolved around the conflict, its resolution, keeping Pakistan and separatists in loop and springing surprises between hot pursuits and ceasefires. Manmohan's policy has remained steady. By launching a massive reconstruction project worth Rs 30,000 Crore he tried to help people who were denied of equal opportunities by Center's and State's huge focus on the security and peace projects. At roundtable conferences Manmohan Singh invited people from all regions and all walks of life; he heard them and took note of their ideas. Through these roundtable conferences he sent across a loud and clear message that people of Jammu and Kashmir are the stakeholders in all the issues and not the handful of separatists. Launch of Cross-LoC bus service and then CrossLoC trade was also a people centric initiative where people are the beneficiaries and not the separatists. If this (putting people first) was done 20 years back situation would have been entirely different. Unfortunately only those leaders are hailed who appeased the separatists and did nothing for people. SANTOSH NEGI New Delhi, Via Email

JULY 2010

Indian army is no villain

A

nmol Sharma's argument that only Army is responsible for the trouble in Kashmir is perhaps flawed. There have often been deliberate attempts to dent the image of Indian Army though this article was not one like that. It is, however, quite unfortunate that in his article (Repeal AFSPA – Epilogue July 2010) the writer is blaming the army for every mess in the valley. Kashmir ever remained an epicenter of controversies and clashes because of many other attributed reasons. Though, agreed that there are also black sheep in the force but it would be unjustifiable to tag the whole institution of Army as villain. No one can deny the role of Indian Army,when it comes to the question of service to the civilians, be it Kargil war, the snow Tsunami, 8th Oct/ 2005 earthquake or any other Natural Calamity Indian Army rendered every possible help to the state administration. The advocates orchestrating the withdrawal of Army and repeal of AFSPA are knowingly or unknowingly supporting the propaganda of Pakistan. Earlier these were only the separatists raising such pro-pak demands but unfortunately obviously because of the failure of the government of India to noose such unjustified slogans now even such demands are coming from many corners. To please Pakistan or on beheast of so called international rights groups we must not try to criminalize the whole army. JATINDER SINGH Jammu

www.epilogue.in

Vol. 4, Issue 8

Epilogue, August 2010


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Letters

Readers Write Kashmir is not for deal

V I A

P

eople sitting in South Block of New Delhi must not forget that by giving perks and incentives they cannot built trust in the heart of Kashmiris, in all these 60 years you people tried your best to buy a deal in Kashmir but let us be straight forward that 'Kashmir is not for sale' Economics packages cannot solve the basic problem and it demands a political solution. Instead of doing Hit and trial methods to solve Kashmir imbroglio the core issue be discussed with open mind and all those who matters must be heard. Dialogue for the sake of dialogue cannot yield any result. We want to live in peace but with dignity and autonomy. Let us decide what we want, economic packages and so called free and fair elections may help for a moment but for long lasting stability you need to be honest and allow Kashmiris to decide what they want. MALIK ISRAR HUSSAIN Badgam, Kashmir

Voices must be heard

J

ammu and Kashmir is often seen as war zone between the two nuclear armed neighbours and many a times has been described as the most dangerous zone on earth. The land of conflicts can of course be a platform of friendship between Indian and Pakistan. As suggested by Mr. Nazir A Dar, President Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr. YV. Sharma, President Jammu Chamber of Commerce and Industry and by Mr. Anil Suri Eminent Entrepreneur of the state (Perspectives on Cross-LoC Trade, Epilogue July 2010) Cross-LoC Trade has a lot to offer. Trade links between two regions of the state –Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan administered Kashmir –can help in reducing the political tension. Nazir Ahmed Dar, the President of Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries has rightly pointed out that even after 26/11 Mumbai attacks the LoC trade was not stopped this is a positive signal indeed, despite the heat. People and business communities of both the sides are demanding a full-fledged trade system instead of the present barter system. The onus to carry forward this trust of cross LoC trade is on both the governments. In this era of globalization none of us can afford to remain in isolation. Demands and ideas suggested by the concerned people must be given patience and actionable hearing. There can be nothing more soothing for people of the two divided parts of the state that they can do trade and bring peace in the sub continent. RAJAN GUPTA Jammu

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Vol. 4, Issue 8

F A C E B O O K

Very unfortunate that they (leaders) are not understanding the problem. Perhaps it’s because we want to resolve a political issue with economic solutions....which never worked and nor it will PERVAIZ NAIK I believe creating a conducive environment for talks is must and economic aid is a very positive step in that direction, as underdevelopment is itself a major issue...economic development can play a significant role in Kashmir politics as we can’t devoid politics of economics POONAM SINGH Vajpayee is statesman of world class order but Manmohan Singh is a pure economist who leaves politics and administration for Sonia Gandhi to handle. At present India lacks a leader whose charisma works with the people. ANMOL SHARMA Pragmatism is the cost/benefit analysis done by groups who continue to maintained their hegenomy over ignorant opium eaters... unfortunately the game gets rougher and truth more opaque....so much for pragmatism SANJAY PURI How can Indo-Pak relations be improved? Will Mushraff's back channel policy be ever applied again as it was halt in Agra summit in 2001? Siachen and Kashmir like issues will ever be resolved? Why people at the helm of affairs don’t understand the pathetic conditions of general public? SYED HAMID BUKHARI

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Epilogue, August 2010


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Exclusive Series

New Research on Kashmir

The Problem of Poonch RAKESH ANKIT

B

efore Maharaja Hari Singh's accession to the throne of Srinagar in 1925, the Rajas of Poonch – while maintaining a shadowy allegiance to Srinagar – were recognised by the Government of British India and were in a direct relationship with the Viceroy – the Crown Representative. Hari Singh's elder half-brother succeeded to the throne in Poonch and this was a considerable source of friction within the family. By 1937, Hari Singh had got the British Government to reduce the status of Poonch to that of an autonomous jagir subordinate to Srinagar even thought the title of 'Raja of Poonch' was retained. The Raja of Poonch employed intrigue, propaganda, provocation and civil agitation to change his subordinate status vis-à-vis Hari Singh. Administratively, Poonch had a civil official and a resident appointed from Srinagar but otherwise its administrative structure was autonomous with the tehsildar as the highest rank. It was a poorly-paid and slow-promotion service and hence was corrupt, inefficient, discontented and disloyal to the Raja. The Muslim members wanted the absorption of Poonch in British India while the Hindus desired total incorporation into the J & K State. 90% of Poonchis were Muslim but the Raja, his court, most of the judicial and administrative services, police and palace guards were Hindus. This was a source of discontent but so was the poor economic life in which agriculture was not

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profitable due to heavy taxation. Timber trade was the other main economic activity. Consequently, the Poonchis had sought employment in the British Indian Army. Undoubtedly there was a strong separatist movement among the Muslim Poonchis but for absorption into British India and ironically, given what transpired later, both the Indian National Congress and the National Conference aided their movement against the Raja of Poonch as well as Hari Singh in the decade 37-47. There was a notable disturbance in 1938 led by the Suden tribe (the inhabitants of the area between the Poonch and the Jhelum rivers) on the alleged abuse of the Holy Koran by a Hindu police officer. This movement was led by the pensioned Subedar Major Khan Mohammad Khan, ex-British Indian Army. He commanded lashkars and ordered them to march on to the Poonch town; enroute they were stopped by two battalions of the J & K State troops. For months the forces faced each other but while tensions kept simmering, a conflict was avoided through a settlement. But from this time onwards, Poonch remained garrisoned by a battalion of J & K State troops. Gopalaswami Ayengar was then the Prime Minister in Srinagar and in the deal that he brokered with Khan Mohammad Khan, the latter was made an Honorary Lieutenant, awarded the Order of British India and appointed the

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President of the Indian Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen Boards in both Srinagar and Poonch. Throughout 1938-39, minor skirmishes continued between the National Conference/Congress and Muslim Conference on one side and the lashkars of Khan Mohammad Khan but nothing serious happened. With the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939 and Lord Linlithgow's announcement making India a party to the British war effort, Poonchis were heavily recruited into the British Indian Army. Consequently, they remained largely absent from domestic politics in this period. However, by 1945 it had become obvious that in Poonch the Muslim Conference had emerged as the pre-dominant political party with its principal objective – union with Punjab and Pakistan (that they were expecting to be established). Therefore, the rising of 1945-46 in Srinagar led by Sheikh Abdullah and his National Conference had only mild repercussions in Poonch. With the end of the war, as the demobbed Muslim Poonchis returned to Poonch, they fell under the heavy influence of the Muslim Conference and the Muslim League. The leaders of the Muslim Conference in Poonch – Maulavi Ghulam Haider, Maulavi Nazir Hussain Shah, Fateh Mohammad Khan, Syaid Hussain Shah, Yar Mohammad Khan and others were joined by the barrister Mohammad Ibrahim Khan who was to make a name for himself as an eloquent fanatic.

Epilogue, August 2010


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Exclusive Series New Research on Kashmir

The issue of the day – gifted to these men, it must be said – was the decision of New Delhi to pay money to soldiers who had served in the Second World War. When months passed and Poonchis did not get anything, anger spread against the integrity of administrative apparatus in Srinagar which was accused of embezzling the funds received from New Delhi. The first clashes occurred in the NaosheraIslamabad area as lashkars gathered. The J & K State troops and their supply trucks were attacked in IslamabadPlanderi and Naoshera. The State troops were thinly spread engaged as they were in escorting refuges moving between India and Pakistan in AugustSeptember 1947. Finally, the 9th Infantry Reserve Battalion was dispatched to Poonch which cleared the road to Naoshera, dispersed lashkars and cut off Poonch from direct communication with Pakistan over the Jhelum River for fear that Sialkot and Rawalpindi authorities might intervene on behalf of the lashkars. Small mobile columns remained dispersing lashkars and September 1947 saw the re-establishment of the authority of Srinagar. This then is the celebrated revolt of Poonch of August-September 1947 which occupies a prominent place in the historiography of the first Kashmir conflict. While the proponents of the Indian case seek to either deny or downplay the incidents, those propping up Pakistan's arguments interpret the affair in terms of Muslim rebellion and liberation from the yoke of Hindu Srinagar. More than religion, it was recompense which provoked the Poonchis. H. S. Stephenson who was the Assistant High-Commissioner for UK in Pakistan in an interesting telegram to T. Shone (High-Commissioner for UK in India) tried prediction and wrote thus on 13 September 1947: 'The Poonch affair, as I have

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already said, was greatly exaggerated and the state is in an uneasy quiet. The Maharaja and the Hindu ruling class would join India if they dared but in the present circumstances that will mean revolution. The state army can not possibly hold the whole border and could not meet the Muslim infiltration which would be inevitable if revolution occurred. In the meanwhile, every effort is being made to push on the new road into India which might be ready for military traffic in three months time. The alternatives are for Kashmir to join India, which the rulers want but which

The Muslim members wanted the absorption of Poonch in British India while the Hindus desired total incorporation into the J&K State. 90% of Poonchis were Muslim but the Raja, his court, most of the judicial and administrative services, police and palace guards were Hindus. This was a source of discontent but so was the poor economic life in which agriculture was not profitable due to heavy taxation. Timber trade was the other main economic activity. Consequently, the Poonchis had sought employment in the British Indian Army. they can only accomplish by a coup d'tat, Indian troops being rushed to Kashmir and trusting to disorganization in Pakistan. Or, if that does not happen, Kashmir will eventually fall like a ripe plum to Pakistan'. T. Shone dutifully relayed this message as well as his own reading to London on 6 October. He understood the release of Sheikh Abdullah and his travel to Delhi and the removal of Banbury and Powell from Kashmir armed forces and their substitution by Hindus as 'a clearing of the decks for action as soon as the Maharaja feels that he can rely on new road from Pathankot for supplies and

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possibly military assistance from India'. He, like Stephenson and just about everyone, too was worried about 'the gravest disorders' which would be provoked by Kashmir's accession to India and, among other reasons, axiomatically raised 'the Russian bogey'. He had heard, as was by now becoming apparent, that 'no petrol has gone from Pakistan into Kashmir since September 9th' and sought to enquire about it. He feared that this breach of the standstill agreement would be 'natural for Pakistan to turn the heat in this way'. Despite being assured that Karachi had not taken any decision in this regard and that the real cause was the reluctance of Muslim drivers 'to go because of the presence of Sikhs from Gurdaspur and absence of military escorts'; Shone had 'little doubt however that local authorities in Rawalpindi are holding telescope to their blind eye and are indefinitely preventing supplies of petrol and other commodities from entering Kashmir'. Norman Cliff – the News Chronicle special correspondent – was among the first to report on 13 October that Pakistan cut off Kashmir's supplies of petrolsugar-salt and kerosene in contravention of the signed standstill agreement. It was clear to the HighCommissioner that insofar as the valley and areas surrounding Srinagar were concerned the Muslim population there were not 'enthusiastically ardent supporters of accession to Pakistan', led as they were by the National Conference which was 'sympathetic to Indian Congress ideas'. Shone, nevertheless, flagged two concerns and rightly so: first, the impact of communal killings elsewhere on Kashmir, specifically the massacre of Muslims by Hindus and Sikhs in the neighbouring Indian Punjab and second, the affiliations of the Muslim population in Gilgit and Muzaffarabad areas. At this stage, there was even a feel-

Epilogue, August 2010


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Exclusive Series New Research on Kashmir

ing among in some officials at the Commonwealth Relations Office, London that maybe the Maharaja was 'bargaining for better terms (eg. an alliance) with Pakistan by making it appear that he was contemplating joining India'. The trouble with, what I have called, the Poonch problem is that once Henry Scott left Srinagar on 29 September 1947 there is a difficulty in finding reliable and sober official assessment of the ground situation. Scott's last reports did not 'encourage confidence in stories of Muslim illtreatment there at the hands of the Hindus but the balance may well have swung the other way, with the arrival of Kashmir state troops reinforcements', since he left. Atleast one very influential person felt thus and he was Sir Lawrence Graffety-Smith (Stephenson's superior and UK High-Commissioner to Pakistan from 1947 to 1951). He confided in Philip Noel-Baker (Minister for Commonwealth Affairs – thus the man in

the Attlee cabinet looking after Kashmir and later leader or UK delegation to UN on Kashmir into confidence: 'There are large pockets of Dogras in Poonch as in Jammu; and a major anxiety of the Pakistan government derives from reports of recent heavy infiltration of Hindu officials, Sikhs and former members of the “Indian National Army” into Srinagar. They fear that the stage is being set for Kashmir's accession to the Indian Union. This would inevitably be followed by disturbances within the state to which neither India nor Pakistan could remain indifferent, and civil war in Kashmir might involve both Dominions of hostilities of incalculable extension'. What then can be said about the situation in Kashmir in the week before the invasion began? The lull before the storm, apart from Poonch where if not the storm then certainly a strong wind was blowing? Two imminent possibilities, distinct but linked, namely: accession to India and tribal invasion in either

order? And, a flurry of official exchanges between Delhi, Karachi, London and Srinagar. Hari Singh's Prime Minister – third in three months – Mehr Chand Mahajan was at the centre of this traffic. He wrote to Liaquat and Attlee on the 15th, to Jinnah on the 18th / 19th and to Mountbatten on the 26th. He read from Liaquat on the 19th, from Jinnah on the 20th and from Mountbatten on the 27th. Meanwhile, two brothers courted some infamy – Abdul Haq, the DC of Rawalpindi and Syed Ikramul Haq, ICS in MOD – and 'appeared to be conducting a private war against Kashmir' by preventing the passage of petrol and other essential supplies for the last. The correspondence between Srinagar and Karachi ceased on 20 October. Liaquat had the last word. He warned the Maharaja to not accede to India as “gravest consequences” would occur then. The stage was set. Kashmir's history pressed the fast-forward button 48 hours later.

Department of Horticulture (J&K Govt) Office of the Chief Canning & Processing Instructor Fruit and Vegetable Graft Centre, Chand Nagar, Jammu Applications on plain paper are invited for undergoing months training course in Fruit and Vegetable Processing from interested persons who intend to establish their own units in the field. The desirous candidate should be Matriculate with, science subjects. The candidates having additional qualification shall be preferred. The applications must reach this office, by or before 16th August 2010 and should be accompanied with the following documents (attested copies): 1. Date of birth Certificate 2. Qualification certificate alongwith marks sheet 3. Permanent Residential Certificate of J&K State 4 Two Passport size photographs 5. Character Certificate from any Gazetted officer or from the Head of the Institution last attended. No tuition fee shall be charged from the candidate for the said course. The interview shall be conducted on 25th and 26th of August 2010 and the list of selected candidates shall be displayed on the notice board on 28th of August 2010. No separate communication shall be given in this regard. The classes shall commence from Ist of Sep. 2010. The candidates are advised for their own convenience to mention their contact number in application forms. For further details candidates may contact at phone No.01912579072 during working hours on any working day.

DIP/J-4946

Sd/ (P K Sharma) Chief Canning & Processing Instructor Fruit Vegetable Craft Centre; Chand Nagar, Jammu


CRAFTING PEACE IN KASHMIR

B G VERGHESE

has been Editor of three top Indian newspapers –Times of India, Hindustan Times and Indian Express. He served as Information Advisor to Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, is with Center for Policy Research since 1986

GAUTAM NAVLAKHA

NAEEM AKHTAR

is a leading human rights activist and Consulting Editor of Mumbai based Economic and Political Weekly

one of the seasoned civil servants J&K produced, he quit services in Jan 2009 to support Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s political initiatives

13 1AGENDA VIEWS

RADHA KUMAR is Director of Nelson Mandela Centre for Peace and Conflict Resolution at Jamia Millia University, New Delhi

INDER MALHOTRA former Editor of the Times of India, his syndicated columns appear in 30 newspapers

PEACE IN KASHMIR

M M KAJOORIA a social activist and columnist, he retired as Director General of J&K Police

REKHA CHOUDHARY Professor of Political Science at University of Jammu

RAMESH MEHTA

DAYA SAGAR

GUL MOHAMMAD WANI

is an artist and former Secretary JKAACL, top art and culture body in J&K

is a social activist and leading columnist based in Jammu

Professor of Political Science at the University of Kashmir

ARJIMAND HUSSAIN TALIB

ERSHAD MEHMUD

NYLA ALI KHAN

leading columnist based in Srinagar, he is author of Omar Abdullah –the burden of inheritance

a native of Pakistan administered Kashmir, he is a leading policy analyst based in Islamabad

a Professor of English at a US University, she is author of Islam, Women and Violence in Kashmir. She happens to be grand daughter of Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah

EPILOGUE SEMINAR


There is a protest in Kashmir over in issue that is hardly new. Soon

SEMINAR

it assumes alarming proportions. Situation goes out of control. Security forces fire a couple of teargas shells and a young boy is killed. This triggers another round of protests. The confrontation between protesters and state's forces is terribly shriller than the previous one. As they take each other heads-on, two more are killed. There is another round of protests spreading far and wide. This cycle goes on and on. We saw this in 2008, in 2009 and there is no visible end to the present season of unrest in the Valley. Tourists are gone, tourism now seems a thing of past. Students have not been to schools for almost two months now. Businesses are shut. A government paralysed by stone pelters makes its occasional presence through some press statements or television interviews. It is not likely to go on life this for long. Situation is expected to be better in coming few days. But return of the turmoil after a brief interval is also equally certain. After all what is happening in the Valley? Why this cycle of unrest? What needs to be done at this stage? With these and more questions, Epilogue reached out to the people this state and the country looks upon with hope. As we go through their views, each one of them nearly disagrees with the other in perspectives but the bottomline is common –there is a problem which needs immediate measures for redress. There is a near unanimity in understanding that peace is too essential a commodity to be left alone to the youths who want to achieve this by pelting stones or to those who sit in cozy rooms of north block with their windows shut to the ground or even those who play the dirty palace games from pristine bungalows of Srinagar's Gupkar Road. At Epilogue we may agree or disagree with some of the views but we respect each opinion for clarity of the head and mind of the person. They have said, with abundant conviction, what they mean. Since there can't be a consensus in a single go, therefore this seminar offers a divergence of ideas on the problems and, may be, some solutions.


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Kashmir Unrest :The Civil Society Response

Q

This is third year in row that Kashmir is erupting every summer. How do you look at this cycle of unrest.

GAUTAM NAVLAKHA

Underneath these catalytic triggers lies deep rage

Y

our question frames the question wrongly. In an area where protests are considered “agitational terrorism” by the army , “gunless terrorism” by the central para military forces, where the Prime Minister of India wants authorities to curb, contain and check protests, and every protest is held out as inspired, financed from across the border it follows that targeting youth would be its operational fallout. Also it downplays the fact that denial of justice to victims of state terrorism, let alone resolution of the 63 year old unresolved problem, leaves them with no choice other than to register their protests. It is when space for exercising civil liberties are thwarted that they take recourse to venting anger by pelting stones. Not unlike what the

Palestinians do. To speak then of “cyclic eruption” is not only to de-politicise the problem but to be innocent of the context. The protests manifests the truth that military suppression may break the back of armed resistance but it cannot win over people to reconcile to a forced union with India. It is, therefore, while according to the officialdom, every indice of militant activities, presence, infiltration etc has reached “subcritical level” the presence of forces monitoring the public and private lives of people remains by and large intact. If 2008 protests was triggered by land issue, 2009 by Shopian twin rape and murder, this year the Machil fake encounter of three youths and use of brute force against stone pelters resulting in deaths of youth caused

A history of unfulfilled pledges, broken promises, political deception, military oppression, illegal political detentions, a scathing human rights record, sterile political alliances, mass exodus, and New Delhi's malignant interference have created a gangrenous body politic that hasn't even started to heal. NYLA ALI KHAN anger. But underneath these catalytic trigger lies rage at the violence inflicted by the Indian State on a people, whose demand was for a democratic resolution of the problem.

BG VERGHESE

Some protests are partly engineered

T

his is most unfortunate. There may be reasons for dissatisfaction with the prevailing situation – conflict-related distress, unemployment, lack of progress towards a political settlement, HR violations, etc. But there are ways of discussing and mediating such issues without taking to the streets in provocative (mostly Friday) protests that are being partly engineered by interested parties to stir the pot and further their narrow agendas. The last Amarnath Yatra Shrine Board and Shopian agitations are illustrative of issues or non-issues being blown out of all proportion and distorted to serve nefarious ends. Never forget that Jammu and Kashmir (with Ladakh) is more than Kashmir or just those parts of the Valley that are disturbed.

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REKHA CHOWDHARY

Frequent eruptions in Kashmir clearly reflect a deep-rooted anger

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It is not just a coincidence that these three summers have been particularly hot in continuity. The problem goes back to 60 years NAEEM AKHTAR

bviously there is something seriously wrong in Kashmir. The frequent eruptions in Kashmir clearly reflect a deep-rooted anger not only among the youth who are seen to be pelting stones on the streets but in the society as a whole. There is a feeling that even after two decades of conflict and loss of thousands of lives, Kashmir has not reached anywhere near the resolution of conflict. The pressure built by militancy has been exhausted and there is no compulsion for India, internally or externally, to move forward. Hence, for long time now, nothing is happening in the name of peace process – no efforts are being made to engage Kashmiris in dialogue, no CBMs are being offered – not even the ones approved by Working Committees constituted by the Prime Minister, and on the contrary, the participation of people in the processes of governance is mistaken as the 'normalcy'. Worse, the commitment of the Prime Minister that there be zero toler-

NAEEM AKHTAR

Don't look at three years, it is about six decades

I

f you just expend the time frame it will become easier to understand the malaise. It is not just three years, not even two decades but all the sixty three years of the independence that the cycle of turmoil is haunting Kashmir. It is just a coincidence that these three summers have been particularly hot in continuity. And administrative reasons have worked as a trigger on all three occasions.

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ance to the Human Rights violation is being disregarded to the extent that every now and then there is one or the other case of loss of lives of the innocent citizens either in cases of fake encounters or in the cases of mishandling of protests. It is accumulated anger which also reflects a sense of betrayal, disillusionment and hopelessness. Apart from the anger against the state, there is also anger within – in respect to the separatist politics and movement. With the divided leadership, there is a sense of loss of direction. The middle ground of separatist politics has since long been lost as the moderate have been discredited in the process of their engagement with New Delhi. The separatist politics is therefore dangerously tilted towards the hardcore elements who despite the 'consistency' are cocooned in their non-negotiable positions and hardened stances. On the whole, there is lot of confusion which gets reflected in the spontaneous political responses of the people. The latest phenomenon of stone pelting youth is further reflecting this confusion. With no other expression for channeling the anger of people, and no other political avenues being available – it is the street politics which has acquired importance. The street politics however is not to be seen only in relation to the teenagers pelting stones– but in relationship to the society as a whole. With the separatist organizations and leaders failing to offer any alternative politics of resistance, the stone pelting is the only politics of resistance at the moment with which people can identify.

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NYLA ALI KHAN

Politicians have failed the nation

T

he process of nationalist selfimagining is likely to remain in a nebulous state so long as the destiny of mainstream Kashmiri politicians is etched by the pen of the calligrapher in New Delhi and determined by maneuvers in the murky den of subcontinental politics. Can J & K politicians rise above their myopic aspiration to willy-nilly grab the throne and scepter? The obvious lack of selfreflexivity in regional parties shows a glaring inability to carefully consider the stakes. I wanted to end my book on a hopeful note but, sadly, the reins of J & K are yet again in the hands of New Delhi. The powers that be can pull those reins in any direction they deem fit. The two mainstream regional parties--the NC and the PDP--are pawns in a game of chess in which the odds are in favor of the Congress. J & K in the current political context is a house divided. It is paradoxical to watch political bigwigs, bureaucrats, and civilian and paramilitary officers preening and gearing up to celebrate India's Independence Day, 15 August, while many Kashmiris continue to remain in the abyss of socioeconomic deprivation and political marginalization. J & K is a palimpsest that has been inscribed upon two or three times, yet the previous texts have been imperfectly erased and, therefore, remain partially visible. A history of unfulfilled pledges, broken promises, political deception, military oppression, illegal political detentions, a scathing human rights record, sterile political alliances, mass exodus, and New Delhi's malignant interference have created a gangrenous body politic that hasn't even started to heal. After the first edition of Islam, Women, and Violence in Kashmir: Between India and Pakistan, published in June 2009, was reviewed by several

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Kashmiri academics, it was pointed out to me that autonomy was an inadequate solution. The intractability of the Kashmir conflict has made advocates of conflict resolution rather wary of applying a seemingly workable but facile solution to the complex political conflict. Mainstream media, intellectuals housed in academic institutions, formulators of public policy, and members of think tanks are quick to point out that regardless of the bloody and seemingly infinite nature of a political, ethnic, or racial conflict, a viable solution can always be found to dilute the fierceness of a conflictual situation. But one is cautioned against glibly advocating a kitsch solution to the Kashmir conundrum by the complexity of the Kashmir conflict, which embodies the brutalities of nation building devoid of myth or self-infatuation. The unruliness of the Kashmir conflict has led many to confuse the idea of nation with the power and brute force of the nation-states of India and Pakistan. Although the idea of self-determination collides with military oppression on the contentious site of nationalism, political accommodation can lead a war-weary people out of the colonnade of duplicitous rhetoric, political domination, and forceful imposition. The debate among political thinkers, scholars, and policy makers about finding viable ways to placate marginalized ethnic minorities in J & K has been infinite. Since the advent of independence, New Delhi's self-deluding and self-serving “democratic” approach has been to allow the disaffected people of J & K to voice their “seditious” opinions within the existing political framework legitimized by governmental rhetoric. The reasonableness of the autonomy solution advocated by mainstream political parties in J & K may seem axiomatic, but what is the

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Sheikh Abdullah had launched movement against Maharaja because he foresaw a better place in secular India. Today, there are people holding torch against India because they search for a future somewhere else DAYA SAGAR

likelihood of its being adopted in an undiluted form to metamorphose Kashmir's political, cultural, or territorial circumstances? Both India and Pakistan have a long history of deploying rhetorical strategies to skirt the issue of plebiscite or complete secession of the former princely state of J & K. When feeling particularly belligerent, Pakistan cries itself hoarse declaring the legitimacy of plebiscite held under UN auspices in J & K; India responds just as aggressively by demanding the complete withdrawal of Pakistani troops from the territory of pre-partition J & K; or, in a moment of neighborly solicitude, for conversion of the LOC to a permanent international border. Which of these solutions is the most viable?

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SEMINAR Kashmir Unrest :The Civil Society Response

RAMESH MEHTA

There is obvious disconnect between leaders and peoples

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People in Jammu and Kashmir are fed up with present state of affairs. A recent survey by Chatham House has just proved that. A vast majority wants substantive change in present status ERSHAD MEHMUD

irst of all we must understand that Kashmiris are basically extremely sentimental. It appears that the popular Governments between 2008 and 2010 have failed to gauge the mood and read the mind of the people of Kashmir leave alone relating to them. There had been a disconnect between the leaders of the ruling coalition and the public. Well, it is very likely to be the outcome of a design but who allowed the design to succeed? People's whole hearted participation in elections was construed as a license to ignore the aspirations of the people of Kashmir. Omar's inaccessibility to even his cabinet colleagues speaks volumes in this behalf. Even Dr. Farooq Abdullah is on record to have said only recently about Omar that, “ He must come to grips with the administration and show the door to officials who don't perform.” This statement is self explanatory and endorses the views held by the common man in the streets. I would like to recall the SASB agitation in Jammu. It was the manner in which the body of Kuldip Verma was disposed off that fuelled the anger far and wide and helped the agitation enormously otherwise till that day it was just another agitation. Perhaps the same history is being repeated in Kashmir over the last few years. There has also been a clash of perceptions between the people and the Govt. and Govt. had failed to clear the mist encircling its credentials. Failure of intelligence gathering mechanism as well as lack of responsive administration has been adding fuel to fire.

M M KHAJOORIA

This is a grand coupe

T

o keep Kashmir restless and simmering to be brought to boil at the time of their choosing was the tactical response of Pakistan establishment to the changed politico-strategic ground realities as assessed probably in 2007. The people were fed up with senseless killing .Terrorism had begun to yield diminishing returns provoking public apathy and defiance This was evidenced by the level of participation in the elections. There were no takers in the world community for “ the struggle for freedom “ cover for ongoing terrorism in Jammu & Kashmir. And terrorism had become a dirty word The strategic shift involved combination of over ground violent mass street action and spaced terrorist strikes on specific targets. In the latest bout yet-to-mature , gullible and excitable teenagers were placed in the vanguard .The violent street action with stones as the weapon of offence invited the use of force by the security forces ( the justification whereof was subject to formal scrutiny) resulting in civilian causalities exposing the Indian state to Human rights violation et all . The accompanying man oeuvres in successful management of Public Perception during the last phase of violence succeeded in confounding the civil society, confusing the political class , put Indian security forces and J&K Police in the dock and gained immense public sympathy for the “movement .This was sort of a grand coupe which could encourage similar adventurism in future.

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DAYA SAGAR

For separatists, summer is best time to communicate

T

here is a role reversal in Kashmir. After 1990 Kashmir Valley has remained exposed to only a particular class of views. With this the dialogues and opinions that question the intentions of New Delhi are more often expressed. This way the separatist have been getting easy space. The separatists too have found it easy to carry their campaigns and propaganda. Rather the separatists too see come competition from parties like PDP. New Delhi has been playing very soft on separatists as well as those who advocate separatist like preferences for Kashmir valley. National Conference that had in earlier days simply preached special treatments for Kashmiris, has now started feeling suffocated in the separatist environment and for its survival is not able to play harsh on the separatist elements. The quit Kashmir torch that was held by Sheikh Abdullah, against Maharaja Hari Singh in 1946 to ensure that in independent India the democratic power in State of J&K comes in the hands of NC like it would be for Congress in India, has now been very cleverly held by Sayeed Ali Shah Geelani. But now it is against India. Moreover except central grants no any other tool has been used by the Government all these years in Kashmir valley to remedy the misconceptions, separatist propaganda, anti India campaigns, doubts on the genuineness of 1947 Accession, the two nation theory and the status of princely states . Before 1996 almost all political cadres had moved out of the valley. And when they returned in 1996 they moved amongst the people under tight securities. This way they could not win the confidence of the people in an environment where anti India ideologies have been only inputs that the common Kashmiri par-

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ticularly the youth and new generation was exposed to. The social matrix of Kashmir valley was damaged, the Kashmiri Hindu left the valley and their return was not given the first priority over other material projects. Unfortunately this further helped the anti India elements. The efforts of the official machinery have not been enough for confidence building since the propaganda by the separatists was not against the local civil government but it was and has been against the nationality. Even Indian National Congress has worked as local party , it cannot compete with National Conference politically and so the best thought way to keep NC uneasy by allowing the anti NC elements alive in valley. Under these circumstances summer is the best time for the separatists to reach out to the outer world since the borders are also live, the tourist season is on, the State government heads are in valley . So we have been seeing the valley more disturbed in summers in recent times.

It is accumulated anger which also reflects a sense of betrayal, disillusionment and hopelessness. Apart from the anger against the state, there is also anger within – in respect to the separatist politics and movement. With the divided leadership, there is a sense of loss of direction REKHA CHOWDHARY

ARJIMAND HUSSAIN TALIB

I

t would be foolhardy to see a conspiracy angle or a planned pattern to this phenomenon. This eruption is simply a spontaneous public reaction to political and economic suffocation, coupled by excesses by and impunity to armed forces in the state. The problem is that there is a big disconnect between the rulers and the common people, especially the youth, and the former are not fully able to understand the nature of the latent aggression and discontent among the people. And the root cause is New Delhi's aversion to address the core issue – Srinagar's completely eroded political and economic rights. And an onslaught on its larger identity.

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SEMINAR Kashmir Unrest :The Civil Society Response

ERSHAD MEHMUD

Dividends of 2008 elections were not consolidated

T

There is a strategic shift in Pakistani establishment's approach to Kashmir. Keeping Kashmir simmering at the time of their choosing is their tactical response to the waning scheme of terrorism. In the latest bout gullible and excitable teenagers were kept in the vanguard. This is a sort of grand coupe MM KHAJOORIA

he massive destruction and human losses in the wake of militant struggle in the Valley in 1990s had forced many Kashmiris to shun their armed struggle and revert to a non-violent movement. The peace process initiated between India and Pakistan imbibed a new hope in this segment of the society which fully supported it. However, things stand totally changed today as the process has failed to yield significant results; mainly because of lukewarm Indian response coupled with the political turmoil in Pakistan. The people of Valley once again preferred ballot over bullet in 2008 when state assembly elections were held in Kashmir. Pakistan too tacitly supported this exercise and things went smoothly. In fact, Islamabad put its weight behind Omar Abdullah who promised to promote broader reconciliation between Delhi and Islamabad and also within Jammu and Kashmir to create local consensus. However, he failed to create a space for the separatists in the local politics due to Delhi's terrorism centric approach towards Pakistan in the wake of Mumbai attacks. People of Kashmir are fedup with the current state of affairs. Recently, Colonel Qadhafi's son Saif-Al-Islam commissioned the first opinion poll on both sides of LoC on the future of Kashmir. The poll was conducted by a well reputed organization IpsosMORI in October - November 2009 and published by the Chatham House London. The survey suggests that the protracted conflict made huge negative impact on the people?s lives. The poll maintains that an overwhelming 80% of Kashmiris ? 75% in AJK and 82% in J&K. felt that the dispute was very important for them personally. It shows that a vast majority of the people wants substantive change in the present status. It also shows the people's frustration with the current state of affairs in Jammu and Kashmir. In my view, as long as Delhi and Islamabad do not jointly take tangible steps to stabilize Kashmir Valley lasting peace cannot return to Kashmir. In this regard, they have to pick up the threads where they were left before Mumbai attacks.

GUL MOHAMMAD WANI

There is hardly anything surprising about protests; anger is deep

T

he upsurge and uprising of youth power need not surprise us. The youth were always at the forefront of rights- based movements in Kashmir .After all gun too was taken by the youth against the State. In recent times stone pelting youth and the consequent disruption of civic, economic and political life has made many Kashmir watchers to offer their own explanations as to what has happened and how to retrieve the further collapse. There is no doubt that the peace process both in its internal and external domain had brought a sense of confidence and optimism in the life of an average Kashmiri youth.The youth were feeling that the world has starting opening to them. The disruption in that process did make a dent in the psychology of Kashmiri youth. Despite the fact that many organizations in Kashmir either in unionist or separatist's camp are headed by young men and women but that has not translated into either their fascination or empowerment of youth. The youth have a feeling that their leaders have lost their autonomy to confront the might of the Indian State. Some critical issues dominant in Kashmir discourse like Land, demography, drug abuse, violations of human rights have their own impact on youth psyche. Further rising economic and globalizing India does not mean much to an educated youth who remain under scanner of security agencies once he moves out side the state for education or jobs.

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SEMINAR Kashmir Unrest :The Civil Society Response

Q

What should State and Center do at this stage.

REKHA CHOUDHARY

The should come up with political response

F

or achieving the minimum peace in the Valley, first thing that is required is the improvement of record of Human Rights violations and both the Central and State government should see to it that the innocent civilians are not harmed in any way. The present cycle of violence needs to be broken and a message needs to be given to those responsible for maintaining law and order that every life is valuable and order cannot be restored at the cost of human lives. However, there is no possibility of peace without the political initiatives. The political response has to go beyond the knee jerk and adhoc response to crisis situations. Not doing anything will not lead us anywhere. There is a need of political vision and political will to resolve conflict situation. Given the emotive response to Kashmir at the national level, it may not be possible to immediately provide a model of conflict resolution, but at least some beginning needs to be made. New Delhi needs to address the trust deficit that it has in Kashmir. To remove this trust deficit, the Government of India will have take step, which might be very small, but which should reflect the genuineness and sincerity of the Government of India. It is important the people should get a feeling that a peace deal with Pakistan would not be brokered without the participation of Kashmiris and whatever happens people would be given a chance to deliberate upon issues.

An internal political dialogue must commence on all issues – the task force reports (centre-state relations and regional autonomy), governance, meaningful decentralization through empowered panchayati raj structures, the future of the Pandits, development and employment, disappearances, HR violations, etc. Nothing and nobody need be excluded BG VERGHESE

RAMESH MEHTA

Make only those promises which can be fulfilled

B

oth governments should make only those promises which they are capable of fulfilling. Saying that sky is the limit and not allowing even the rooftop is not going to work. Forming the Working Groups and consigning their recommendations to records sends wrong signals. It is foolhardy to believe that unemployment is driving the youth to stone pelting. It is a recognized fact that Kashmir is not included in the list of 8 most poor States of India. Unemployment today is a worldwide phenomenon. Hence, there is much more to it than meets the eye. Why is it that whenever there is a crisis of this sorts the politicians belonging to the ruling coalition goes into hibernation instead of going to and facing the people? Yes, by facing the people they are destined to face their wrath but that is the price they should be prepared to pay for earning the title of being genuine representatives of the people. Other wise the vacuum created by them in troubled times is bound to be, and is being, filled by the separatist elements.

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Epilogue, August 2010


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NAEEM AKHTAR

First, acknowledge the basic problem

L

The rouge element in the counterinsurgency grid of the State needs to be eliminated. All corrupt elements in government and administration need to be weeded out.Saint Augustine [Christian philosopher] used to say that all unjust rulers need to be killed}.That is one way to stop the revolutions. GUL MOHAMMAD WANI

ook at the realities and acknowledge them. Unfortunately everybody has been in a denial mode on Kashmir. The problem exists at more than one level. And unfortunately the current turmoil has introduced yet another level to it. The youth who are spearheading it sense an existential threat to them as a result of the killing of scores of them. This has happened in the backdrop of comparable situations receiving completely different treatment. Media has made instant comparison possible. And the youth or the general public in Kashmir does not view it as difference of approach but discrimination as in the case of dealing with Naxal violence. While Naxals armed with guns and literally butchering security forces are called and treated as “our own men� who can't be fought with weapons, bullet is prescribed as the only solution to Kashmir's angry protestors. And to legitimize this approach conspiracy theories are cooked up with the help of a media that in case of Kashmir has always sided with the establishment and worked as part of security apparatus. Unfortunately the establishment in Delhi has never treated Kashmir as a part of the country or its exciting democratic enterprise while accusing everybody else of trying to snatch it away. As part of that mindset which sees Kashmir as a held territory rather than part of a nation full of different strains even a genuine democratic opposition is treated with suspicion and dubbed antinational if the ruler is a darling of Delhi. Could it happen that Mamta Banerji is called upon to help communists in diffusing Nandigram and if she didn't attend a meeting with the chief minister be called antinational? While the political problem of Kashmir will remain as long as it is not actually solved without waiting for it to disappear, governance has also been an important factor. It is the administrative quality that has always determined the dormant or active nature of people's anger. History is a witness to it. Quoting the more recent chapter of it may be relevant but not necessary. Compare 2002-2005 to the years that followed it or preceded it. Same human beings could produce different results. Same people of Kashmir were inspired to write a new agenda of peace for South Asia that are now being maligned as stone pelters risking lives for 100 bucks (foreign funds) a day. Same people crowded the polling stations to create new records for the country who are now being defamed as Let terrorists. That is enough to indicate what needed to be done. But it may already be too late for Omar Abdullah to begin afresh. For credibility once lost is impossible to recover.

GAUTAM NAVLAKHA

Repeal black laws, stop brute force

R

ollback the regime of repression which is in place since 1989, indeed many of the extraordinary laws need to be repealed or revoked which have been there since 1947, release political prisoners, and stop use of brute force to suppress people who protest. These are what I consider as basic minimum required to ensure that a political process can be initiated for reaching a democratic and peaceful solution. It is outrageous that people writing on Facebook or activists organizing protests should be charged for inciting violence when it is the Indian and state police forces which are responsible for causing the unrest in the first place by their commission of atrocities and then by cracking down on the media to ensure that people do not get to know the truth. Take the most recent instance. Machill killing highlighted the fact that there is a co-relation between the disappeared and the unidentified graves. Kalaroos graveyard, where the three youths were killed and buried was one of the many graveyards investigated by the International Peoples Tribunal on Kashmir and the findings show that there were 2373 unidentified graves containing unnamed 2943 bodies in 55 villages of just three districts! How can it inspire confidence when no steps are taken to investigate this to reveal the truth lying buried in the mass graves in J&K? Why should this be considered something not doable. If this is not doable why expect people to remain placid when faced with these harsh realities that punctuate their live

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Epilogue, August 2010


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SEMINAR Kashmir Unrest :The Civil Society Response

MM KHAJOORIAl

Center and State have a lot to introspect

T

he central government should terminate the policy of pampering and “pleasing” the political elite and focus on the aspiration of the common man instead. It must ensure that the benefit of the huge financial inputs to the state reaches the common man in full . More importantly speedy and effective steps be taken to convince the people that the financial support was neither meant to be “Khairat” nor bribe money. I am convinced that the most potent source of alienation in Kashmir is the strong feeling that the government in Delhi as well as other states equate the entire community with the militant anti-national fringe. Every Kashmiri Muslim was suspect. The strong , transparent and painful emotions generated by this humiliating treatment should be effectively addressed on topmost priority to the satisfaction of the Kashmiri civil society. , The state government had lot to introspect about. The foremost question to be addressed was what made the Kashmiri Muslim youth so vulnerable to and such easy prey for manipulation by subversive elements despite unprecedented financial allocations by the centre, special economic packages, huge inputs in infrastructural development ,sanction of central universities and other institutions of higher education and government claims of massive employment generation. ? The Tourism was booming and Pilgrim tourism never had it so good. Was it frustration , desperation ,hopelessness or total loss of faith in the system and conduct of governance? Chief Minister Umar Abdullah must initiate immediate steps to ascertain what precisely went wrong with the system and take urgent corrective measures..On the law and order front. the state apparatus needed to be reoriented and geared to face the challenges of normalcy . I wish someone had taken seriously and acted on suggestions contained in my article titled “The challenges of Normalcy” published in November, 2009.. It was still very much relevant.

INDER MALHOTRA

GUL MOHAMMAD WANI

ARJIMAND HUSSAIN TALIB

Keep the core political question in mind

F

irst acknowledge that 60 years of carrot and stick quick fixes have not worked to quell popular discontent in Kashmir. Anything skirting the core political question is unlikely to help in achieving durable peace. The state government must act as a facilitator between New Delhi and those who see the solution to the Kashmir issue beyond the political status quo. It must also try to explore a common ground with all political stakeholders in the state to set a political agenda for New Delhi-Srinagar talks which addresses people's political aspirations, and at the same time takes into account the economic and political realities of our region and the world at large.

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Political leaders of the state ought to be in constant touch with the people. But none is doing that. The Centre is surprisingly even more inactive

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Remove gaps between promise and performance

O

n all issues like zero tolerance for human rights violations, dialogue, reconciliation the gap between promise and performance needs to be removed. The independent enquiry recommended by all party committee to probe recent killings of youth needs to be speeded up and findings made public. The rouge element in the counter-insurgency grid of the State needs to be eliminated.All corrupt elements in government and administration need to be weeded out.Saint Augustine [Christian philosopher] used to say that all unjust rulers need to be killed}.That is one way to stop the revolutions.

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NYLA ALI KHAN

Adopt an inclusive approach

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Launch new initiatives - pursue Omar's attempts to get punishments for HR violations and crimes, bridge polarization between Jammu and valley; CRPF to act only as backup to JK police RADHA KUMAR

urrently, mainstream political parties in Indian-administered J & K have jumped on the autonomy bandwagon. Although these terms are often used interchangeably, the differences between them are not insignificant. New Delhi asserts, time and again, that a revitalized Indian federalism will accommodate Kashmiri demands for an autonomous existence. But, historically, federalism hasn't always adequately redressed the grievances of disaffected ethnic minorities. Here, I concur with Robert G. Wirsing's observation that, “while autonomy seems to imply less self-rule than does the term confederalism, for instance, it is generally understood to imply greater self-rule than federalism, which as in the American case, need not cater to ethnic group minorities at all” (2003: 199). Given Kashmir's treacherous political climate and the rampant political factionalism in that region, the appeal of an ambiguous “autonomy” remains intact for some groups but for others, as has been forcefully pointed out to me by a couple of political scientists, it is a wrong narrative to establish in the case of Kashmir. Sadly, the Kashmir conflict is no longer just about establishing the pristine legitimacy of the right of self-determination of the people of J & K, the former princely state. Rather, prolonging the conflictual situation works in the interests of some of the actors, state as well as nonstate, on both sides of the LOC. Some civil and military officials--Indian, Pakistani, and Kashmiri--have been beneficiaries of the militarization of Kashmir and the business of the “war on terror.” Also, some militants, armed and unarmed, have cashed in on the political instability in the state to establish lucrative careers. For such individuals and groups selfdetermination and autonomy work well as hollow slogans stripped of any substantive content. The dismal truth is that the wish to establish the legitimacy of self-determination or autonomy vis-à-vis J & K is not universal. The current political discourse in the state has strayed far from home.

ERSHAD MEHMUD

Demonstrate political maturity

I

t should be acknowledged at the level of policy-makers and political elite that Kashmir issue has internal as well as external dimensions to deal with. There is no denying the fact that during the last two decades Islamabad's influence in the Kashmir Valley has increased tremendously. As long as Islamabad and New Delhi continue to follow hostile approaches towards each other and do not stop the zero sum game, peace in Kashmir will remain a pipedream. However, Jammu and Kashmir government led by Omar Abdullah can also play a vital role if it demonstrates political maturity. No matter what political cost it has to pay, the state government should not allow the security forces to use high handed policies to curb protests. If Mufti Saeed can take risk to initiate a war of ideas and politics with separatists, why Omer Abdullah is shy of engaging them at this point of time. Imposition of PSA and NSA is no solution to the current upsurge. It, in fact, has aggravated the situation further. Releasing of all political opponents can also help to improve the law and order situation.

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SEMINAR Kashmir Unrest :The Civil Society Response

Q

Everyone is talking about dialogue. Your thoughts about it.

BG VERGHESE

Lot needs to be done, one can begin by probing wrongs and empowering peoples

T

he all-Party talks on July 11 suggested an independent inquiry into the entire gamut of recent incidents including deaths, firing, curfews, stone pelting, intercepts, etc, and appealed to the Prime Minister to initiate a sustained political process. This offers a good starting point. The inquiry must go to its logical conclusion and not be allowed to be derailed as in the past because the truth is uncomfortable to some. An internal political dialogue must commence on all issues – the task force reports (centre-state relations and regional autonomy), governance, meaningful decentralization through empowered panchayati raj structures, the future of the Pandits, development and employment, disappearances, HR violations, etc. Nothing and nobody need be excluded. The agenda can be framed in the first round. The door should be kept open for all to participate but those who boycott cannot be given any right of veto. If they are left out of the process it will be for them to explain why. The Hurriyat has sat on the fence for far too long. The internal dialogue must be sustained and unbroken with a trusted and credible Central interlocutor (and a state level counterpart if necessary) being inducted at the next stage to carry forward discussions on the nitty-gritty.

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Mindless “protests” that degenerate into hooliganism must be dealt with firmly and political leaders must participate in providing “leadership for peace and reconciliation”. The present protests are by a third post-1947 generation of youth that is concerned more with the future than the past. Can we structure a volunteer “Peace Corps for Reconciliation, Harmony and Reconstruction” comprising J&K and other Indian youth to work together on agreed and doable projects and programmes of education, health delivery, rural reconstruction, sport, culture, skill formation and capacity building in different parts of the state ?

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Too much time has been wasted in sterile talks between the Centre and Kashmir leaders because no Kashmiri party or group is prepared to offer any suggestion on what should be the content of greater autonomy for J&K

INDER MALHOTRA

The Indo-Pakistan dialogue is on a different track and will proceed independently. Efforts to confuse the two should be resisted. Pakistan cannot be part of an internal settlement within India. The internal and international dialogues are independent though interdependent. The internal dialogue is by far the more important and there will be efforts to sabotage it by separatist elements precisely for that reason.

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NYLA ALI KHAN

Restoration of trust is pre-requisite

T

Within Jammu & Kashmir state, it is time for some hard decisions. A majority of people in Leh district and UdhampurJammu-Kathua districts are not inclined to be part of any process where New Delhi's political authority in the state is put for negotiations. I personally believe Srinagar needs to respect their aspirations and let them chart their own political destiny. It is better to say goodbye to each other as good friends than be at loggerheads perpetually

ARJIMAND HUSSAIN TALIB

he armed conflict has changed political combinations and permutations without either disrupting political, social, and gender hierarchies or benefiting marginalized groups. The social, economic, political, and psychological brunt of the armed conflict has been borne by the populace of Kashmir. The uncertainty created by twenty years of armed insurgency and counterinsurgency has pervaded the social fabric in insidious ways, creating a whole generation of disaffected and disillusioned youth. Lack of faith in the Indian polity has caused Kashmiris to cultivate an apathy to the electoral process because it is a given that persons best suited to carry out New Delhi's agenda will be installed in positions of political import, regardless of public opinion. The earlier enthusiasm that accompanied democratization seems totally futile in the current leadership vacuum in the state. Lack of accountability among the J & K polity and bureaucracy has caused a large number of people to toe the line by living with the fundamental structural inequities and violence, instead of risking the ire of groups and individuals in positions of authority.

Political organizations in the Valley have eroded mass bases and are in a moribund state. There seems to be an unbridgeable gulf between figures of authority and the electorate, who have been deployed as pawns in the devious political game being played by Indian and Pakistani state-sponsored agencies. The glaring lack of a wellequipped infrastructure in the Valley makes unemployment rife and underscores the redundancy of the educated segment of the population. The counterinsurgency operations undertaken in J & K by the Indian military and paramilitary forces were ferocious and cruel, and have alienated the disillusioned populace. Restoration of trust is a prerequisite to any kind of dialogue; attempts to reduce troop deployment in Jammu and Kashmir; reining in paramilitary troops and holding them accountable for their actions; restoration of institutions of civil society; bringing the intelligentsia of J & K into the fold and giving credence to their opinions; restoration of grassroots level institutions without which any kind of internal dialogue would be futile.

REKHA CHOUDHARY

Initiate inclusive talks, don't make them hostage to external dialogue

I

t is important to engage the Kashmiris and for that a dialogue process needs to be started. Even when it is true that there can be no lasting peace till Pakistan is involved in it, it may not be fair to make the internal dialogue hostage to the improvement of India-Pak relations and resumption of composite dialogue. While dialogue channel with the separatists, who are ready to be engaged, needs to be opened by the Government of India, there should be multiple dialogues. Dialogues which should continue in one form or the other – dialogue with the separatists, with the civil society, with the intellectuals, with the political class across the ideological lives, However, dialogue should not take place for the sake of dialogues, but also for the sake of building consensus and moving forward towards peace.

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SEMINAR Kashmir Unrest :The Civil Society Response

MM KHAJOORIA

We are a plural state, initial a plural dialogue

T

he current internal dialog is totally ill conceived. They are barking the wrong tree .Competing and conflicting political and developmental aspirations of segments of people destined to live together cannot be resolved by retired or serving Judges saddled with committees comprising of political party reps bound to the party agenda . It is not a question of right or wrong. Even a majority view point cannot be imposed on unwilling or defiant Ladakh and Jammu. The requirement is to evolve a consensus. The central government should therefore act as the facilitator ,bring together the elected representatives, leaders of different sections of society like commerce, legal fraternity,

academics and most importantly civil society. Such combination can be expected to inject the required balance and pave the way for consensus. . The exercise must be informed by some basic premises like, preservation of the integrity of our composite state and the three regions as well a commitment to secularism and plural ethos .Promotion of communal interests under any garb should be barred. Once a consensus is arrived at , the expert committees and constitutional experts can be involved. Essentially, the search is for a constitutional re-arrangement, democratic in essence and decentralized in form which broadly satisfied urges and aspirations of people in al the three regions of J&K.

Either you give alternative to people or accept that people have no one to look up to except the separatists. It may be a different thing that instead of providing leadership separatists have been riding on the popular anger

RAMESH MEHTA

GUL MOHAMMAD WANI

Make quiet dialogue visible, credible

T

ERSHAD MAHMUD

he internal political dialogue needs to be initiated as quickly as possible. The dialogue process needs to be properly instituted and structured. There is no doubt that quiet dialogue process had certain advantages but it needs to be made visible and credible. Though the need is for an inclusive dialogue we can consider having a separate round table for groups outside the mainstream arena. All this is recommended so that we learn to walk before running. It is better that we get away from employing retired bureaucrats as interlocutors. Jammu and Kashmir needs to be taken away from Home ministry and placed directly under the Prime Ministers charge. The Ministry of Kashmir affairs needs to be revived so that there is focused attention on issues related to Jammu and Kashmir.

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Go for tripartite dialogue but don't ignore locals groups

I

t can be helpful if New Delhi makes it a tripartite -Srinagar-Delhi, Srinagar-Islamabad and finally Delhi and Islamabad based exercise. However, dialogue between various regions and intra-Kashmir dialogue can always be helpful to narrow down the extreme positions and to create a broader understanding of each other's point of view. In this connection, I would always suggest dialogue should be backed by the practical steps to improve the ground realities such as demilitarization form the urban centers, etc.

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SEMINAR Kashmir Unrest :The Civil Society Response

GAUTAM NAVLAKHA

Dialogue is useless if trust deficit is not addressed

I

Revive the inclusive peace initiatives: ie: ●Multitrack dialogue for a resolution of political issues: a. with Pakistan, b. with azaadi groups, c. with JK civil society on both sides of LOC ●CM-public dialogue on peace and governance ●Better control over/banning groups like SOG RADHA KUMAR

nternal dialogue enjoys no premium. Government of India has dangled it so often and gone back so many times I do not know what proponents of internal dialogue mean by it anymore. Is the dialogue meant to make life of authorities easy? To defer addressing the fundamental issue that has beguiled J&K for 63 years? To pretend that this unrest is merely a sign of bad governance rather than oppression? Are there conditions attached to this dialogue? If these conditions dismiss demand for respecting right of selfdetermination which party will join this dialogue? Will such outfits be able to carry the public with them? If large section of people of J&K, as well as

Pakistan, is not a party to the dialogue what purpose does it serve? And whose purpose/ Is it not the people's morale which needs boosting? Besides, what is the internal dialogue supposed to achieve when J&K is completely beholden to centre for meeting its salary and wage bill to taking their approval before releasing political prisoners! Parenthetically, why did the union home secretary announce relaxation of curfew the other day when even during the governorship of rabid unionist such as Jagmohan it was the divisional commissioner who use to make the announcement! Point is until the issue of trust deficit is addressed dialogue serves little purpose.

DAYA SAGAR

Identify the problem first

R

ecently Omar Abdullah too has talked that Kashmir valley needs a political solution. But for that the first need is to clarify in very simple words what actually is the problem and what do parties like NC mean by a political solution. In case NC sees political solution in Greater Autonomy and PDP sees political solution in Self Rule then both these parties must first start a dialogue between them for common agenda that could be discussed with the Government of India. But ,I would suggest that some people within in or outside Hurriyat Conference who too have become stake holders should also be then, if possible, brought in the fold by NC-PDP combine within the proviso of Indian constitution. It is only after that a minimum workable dialogue process could be Started by New Delhi on the agenda from Kashmir Valley and of course involving opinion makers from Jammu and Ladakh regions as well. This is the only practical way for a dialogue within the Indian Constitution without negating the 1947 accession of JK with India. Thereafter the separatists and Pakistan could be handled as per the constitutional provisions and international law considering their activities of sedition and attack on the integrity of India. Such action coupled with the debriefing programme launched at social level would set in motion the process of removing confusions and doubts in the common Kashmir mind about the truthfulness of India and 1947 accession.

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ARJIMAND HUSSAIN TALIB

Initiate a rectangular dialogue

I

nternal dialogue alone would not do. A result-oriented dialogue has to be rectangular. New Delhi-Srinagar dialogue at one level and New DelhiIslamabad at another level. For the sake of sustainable peace, SrinagarIslamabad and Srinagar-Muzaffarabad dialogues are also important to create meaningful consensus on political and water issues. As far as Srinagar-New Delhi dialogue is concerned, it would require some confidence building measures: setting of a deadline for simultaneous withdrawal of troops to pre-1989 positions and strength, release of all political prisoners, freedom of speech and assembly, freedom of peaceful political mobilization and renunciation of arms by all militant groups. Both the Hurriyats and the United Jihad Council

(UJC), on their part, need to set a date for the welcome of Kashmiri Pandit migrants back to Kashmir with all due dignity and safety. Within Jammu & Kashmir state, it is time for some hard decisions. A majority of people in Leh district and Udhampur-Jammu-Kathua districts are not inclined to be part of any process where New Delhi's political authority in the state is put for negotiations. I personally believe Srinagar needs to respect their aspirations and let them chart their own political destiny. It is better to say good-bye to each other as good friends than be at loggerheads perpetually. That way, people will continue to maintain good personal relations and trade with each other in a cordial and mutually beneficial manner.

RAMESH MEHTA

Engage the leaders of dissent through back channels

S

ee, you have no other way to move forward except through dialogue. On the very signs of semblance of normalcy you start saying that Hurriyat has become irrelevant and when you are faced with the trouble on the streets you start harping for dialogue with them. How could it be? Back channel initiatives are most suited for finding a way out of this impasse. But here again fear of attacks like the one on Fazalul Haq Qureshi will not let Hurriyat move forward. I believe that there is no need to go public on any kind of parleys before arriving at some workable resolution. Undue publicity robs backchannel initiatives of its working environment. In the alternative, either you give alternative to people or accept that people have no one to look up to except to separatists. It may be a different thing that instead of providing leadership separatists have been riding on the popular anger.

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Reining in paramilitary troops and holding them accountable for their actions; restoration of institutions of civil society; bringing the intelligentsia of J & K into the fold and giving credence to their opinions; restoration of grassroots level institutions without which any kind of internal dialogue would be futile. NYLA ALI KHAN

NAEEM AKHTAR

Sorry to say, there is no hope

R

esuming dialogue with whom? The leaders are in Jail who now have teenagers from the street for company. Teenagers who were protesting the killing of their classmates, friends and acquaintances are filling up jails and lock ups. Someone in the system need to have the credibility to be listened to and I honestly believe there is no one on the horizon right now. The Prime Minister even though he did not respond to the killings in Kashmir could still make the difference. But it has to be at his level.

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SEMINAR Kashmir Unrest :The Civil Society Response

Q

Your message to restless valley youths.

GUL MOHAMMAD WANI

Counseling Kashmiri youth is most difficult at the moment Youths should not fall prey to jihadist and others who want to sever J&K from its rich, secular Kashmiriyat, and sufi-rishi heritage BG VERGHESE

I

t is really difficult to say anything to youth at this time what we can only promise but cannot perform. We need to ensure that honor and dignity of the people is respected. The youth must have a feeling that opportunities are open to them in the entire world. Kashmiri youth must have a sense of security in and outside the Kashmir. We need to create social and democratic spaces where our youth can express themselves. The youth need to be patient and also understand

how youth in other conflict situations cope up with their day to day problems. If the state has six lakh unemployed youth then we ought to have a coherent youth policy drawn in consultation with those experts who have sufficient knowledge about Kashmir.It is high time that State knowledge commission is established so that we are able to understand as to how to reorient the system of college and university education in the state as a long term measure.

REKHA CHOUDHARY NAEEM AKHTAR

Dekho Mujhe Jo Deeda E Ibrat Nigaah Ho

I

am left with no moral power to render an advice to Kashmiri youths because I feel I belong to a failed generation that leaves behind a messier place than the one we inherited. The boys are trying to find their own path and I would only tell them “dekho mujhe jo deeda e ibrat nigaah ho�.

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Youth needs to be engaged in more productive activities

Y

outh at this time is in a very difficult situation for the burden of separatist politics has been placed on their shoulders. This is certainly not fair, since the youth cannot lead the movement because it itself needs to be led. The vacuum that exists in the resistance politics of Kashmir, cannot be filled in by the stone pelting youth. The reason that they are getting killed is not only the agents of the state are responding ruthlessly to their protest activities, but also because they are not being restrained by the members of the civil and political society. Youth needs to be engaged in more productive activities and they need to be told that the future of the state as well as the movement demands their role hence they need to be saved for that role. What is more important for them at the present time is their education so that they can take their own responsibility as well as that of the society.

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GAUTAM NAVLAKHA

They have to consider using means other than stones

T

he movement is alive and kicking with the third generation now taking over the baton. The protests have not been futile going by the fact that the intelligentsia and authorities have again woken up to speak of doing something to defuse the situation. It is also a reminder, to use the words of a stone-pelter that “we want to tell the world that there is no normalcy here. We live in a disturbed area�. Equally, it is a reminder to all that only protests compel authorities, and an insensitive Indian intelligentsia, to become aware of people's mood. It may well be that the efforts of the youth

will be squandered through cunning and stealth of the authorities as Shopian incident so well illustrates. Therefore, sustainability of protests is what the youth should keep in mind. Especially, while their courage at being able to face death or fatal injury at the hands of a heavily armed security force cannot be minimized, they have to consider using means other than stones to remind the world about what injustices have been dealt them and what they want. In the long run truth is the strongest weapon against oppressors and articulating demands during protests/agitations will lend their protests credibility.

As an Indian citizen I owe them (Kashmiri youths) an apology, that all my attempts to end their isolation and mistreatment have failed RADHA KUMAR

RAMESH MEHTA

Youth of Kashmir may do better in nation building

T

o me it appears that there is a deep rooted feeling among the Kashmiri youth that they have been let down by one and all. Youth of the valley, howsoever disenchanted they may be with the system, need to understand that violence will brood no solution. They must observe and take lessons from Pakistan as to how Talibanisation is wrecking Pakistan's economy and the civil society. They have to realize that they are being used as a pawn in the international game. There is no single recognized party, from among mainstream parties or otherwise, to whom disenchanted youth of Kashmir can look to. There may be unity of purpose among the separatists but there is no unity of minds. Further, had the issue been limited to India and the Kashmiris alone, then there could have been some hope for finding an amicable as well as workable solution but here the element of Pakistan besides, may be, international agencies is also involved. Given the fragile nature of Pakistan government/s no concrete outcome for peace in Kashmir is expected at the moment. Hence instead of going astray the youth of Kashmir may do better to join nation building, even if their notion of nation may be limited to Kashmir only.

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ARJIMAND HUSSAIN TALIB

Youth must not allow their political struggle be communalized

T

o counsel anything to them looks fruitless at a time when they are going by their political and basic human instincts, and not even listening to political leaders who champion their cause. But, yes, the youth must not allow their political struggle be communalized.

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SEMINAR Kashmir Unrest :The Civil Society Response

MM KHAJOORIA

Just pause and think

The restless youth of Kashmir some of whom have turned into stone-pelters, paid and unpaid - do need to be assuaged. The best way would be to ensure them jobs within Kashmir or in rest of India INDER MALHOTRA

acceptable to all the three regions of J&K will have a chance . So use the time to convince others of your point of view through logic and rationale . Four. In the meanwhile life has to go on. So concentrate on your studies . / professional duties so that you are equipped to improve your quality of life and that of your family. Participate in the great Indian march towards the goal of an economic super power . The God almighty has in His beneficence endowed you with higher IQ and intuitive capability . Prove worthy of it.

BG VERGHESE

Don't become prisoners of the past

B

uild the future. Do not become prisoners of the past, of old hatreds, of mistrust and ideological propaganda. Do not fall a prey to the jihadists and others who want to sever J&K from its rich, secular Kashmiriyat andsufi-rishi heritage. That is the path of selfdestruction. Make a careful study of the constitutions of Pakistan Administered Kashmir and the Gilgit-Baltistan region and their operation on the ground and ask yourself if that is the model of “selfdetermination” you wish to adopt. J&K's problems are by no means unique. They are variously shared by people in other parts of India. If we join hands, then together we can and shall overcome.

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GRAPHIX

M

y sincere advice to the valley youth will be to pause and think. Then some realities will dawn upon them which need not necessarily look pleasant on the first sight. One: The “Kashmir Issue” is not going to be resolved in a hurry or in isolation from Indo-Pak reconciliation. Two: Disturbances in Kashmir can only contribute to the deepening of the conflict and subversion of the peace process there by further delaying the resolution Three. In the final analysis , only that decision which suits , I repeat suits India and Pakistan and was

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PROLOGUE

From the Editor

Return to Ladakh!

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year after we brought out a special issue on Ladakh, here is the second one dedicated to the land of moon, as this Himalayan enclave is often referred to. Between these two special issues and earlier one in November 2007, each issue has carried a dedicated section on Ladakh with focus on stories of change. Hearing stories from Ladakh and telling to the rest is a priority for us at Epilogue. Our effort is to reach out to those places and people where mainstream media finds hardly any business. That is where we mean business –giving voice to the voiceless. In last 44 months we have realized that there can't be any end to reportage on Ladakh. There is a story after story. Having discussed politics and relations between communities in earlier issues, our reportage of the region revolves around the ordinary peoples and their extraordinary issues. Politics is important too but we are not obsesses with writings on Leh deals with Kargil or how Kargil deals with Zanskar. We have focus on every on every Ladakhi. While presenting this third exclusive issue on Ladakh, we have an immense sense of pleasure to share with our readers. Since physical presence holds a symbolic importance, we have tried to put ourselves among the people. Epilogue has set up an editorial and management sub office in Leh. We have arrived in Leh after having done nearly 250 stories on Ladakh in three and half years. That reflects the strength of our commitment with Ladakh and this strength comes from trust Ladakhis have reposed in us. Our office in Leh is to further strengthen this relationship. We have tried to offer people a place where they can walk in with ideas and issues, initiate debates and get themselves heard and reported. For Ladakhi peoples, we believe, none can be a better storyteller than Tsewang Rigzin, Epilogue's Associate Editor in Leh. He is the man who has played as a link between Ladakhis and rest of the world through his writings always revolving around the life of the ordinary. I wish this relation grows stronger! Zafar Choudhary Editor zafarchoudhary@epilogue.in

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NOVEMBER 2007

AUGUST 2009

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ladakh in focus

Notes on life SOCIETY

Donning New Roles YANGCHAN DOLMA

Straddling the Himalayan and Karakoram mountain ranges, lies Ladakh, a cold icy desert in uppermost reaches in the northern part of Jammu & Kashmir state Comprising a medley of different races, Tibetans, Mons, Dards descendents of the earlier Indian settler and having a sizable presence of Muslim and Tibetan Buddhism religions, Ladakh has evolved a unique tapestry of social, cultural and political life.

A

tribal society and a culture Ladakh accords a position of respect and strength to women. Even the most ordinary chores like caring for children, rearing livestock, farming, fetching water and spinning, weaving wool call for strenuous activity in Ladakh's mountainous terrain and harsh winters. Women have traditionally played a prominent role in socially relevant events or cultural extravaganzas. There are no community dances, songs, social felicitations to political leaders or spiritual teachers which take place without their active participation. Donning their finest jewellery and carrying the customary Chamskan' or a pot of wine, women are part of such special occasions. Today however, Ladakhi society is in transition and women in Ladakh are donning new roles which go beyond the traditional into significant areas of socio-political life. Men in throngs are migrating out of their villages in search of employment which has been generated by a strong Army presence as well as a vibrant Tourism industry. Villages are left bereft of male presence and women have gradually moved into this space. There is a surge

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of women-headed households in rural areas, where areas of decision-making which rested solely with men are now becoming the domain of women. The composition of the 'Goba' or Governing Body in a typical Ladakhi village which executes all the customary activities is indicative of this transformation. Women are increasingly becoming members of “Goba' which regulates and runs all activities like village festivals, prayers, reception to guests, to religious or political leaders. Kunzes Dolma in Skurbuchan village in Khalsi block in Shyam region was the first woman to have worked as village Goba in 2003. Tsering Yangskit of Leh Nutrition Project, NGO based in Ladakh working on women development says that a fundamental change in attitudes towards women is imperative for them to play a much more significant role in public life. Churpon and Nyerpa are traditional customs and practices where the role of women is gaining prominence. Here the role is not merely decorative but signifies a subtle but fundamental shift in acknowledgment of women in the economic and religious spheres.

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Churpon is the traditional system of cooperative farming where a family is nominated on rotational basis to distribute water impartially to every villager for cultivation. Nyerpa is the person who organizes the annual prayer held in their monastery or temple for timely snow and rain for agriculture. Both these are roles were previously the domain of men exclusively. There has been a move to explore new economic arenas resulting in formation of SelfHelp Groups (SHG's). Women weave shawls from Pashmina and Numbu both fine, local yarn and make 'Goncha' the traditional Ladakhi dress. Groups like these have mushroomed and are now developing innovative ways to market their wares. One of the members in Basgo Village of Leh Block offered space in her house which is on the national highway for a showroom. According to Tsering Dolker president of the group “ To sell the products , we participated in various exhibition at events like Ladakh Festival and Sindhu Darshan. We also participated in Saras Mela held in Srinager in 2007 to showcase and sell our handicraft.� Women are also cultivating vegeta-

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ladakh in focus Notes on life

bles beyond domestic use and contributing to the family income. Ladakh has a scarcity of fresh vegetables in winter and spring but has a surplus in summer when it is warmer. Summer in the plains all over India is scorching and many parts of the country are reeling under shortage of vegetables. Ladakhi women entrepreneurs have recognized this economic activity and are proposing ways to supply vegetables to the other regions of the country during this time. Tsering Nurbo, Executive Councilor for Agriculture of Ladakh Hill Development Council (LAHDC) says, “5 ton of potatoes and 4 ton of peas cultivated by different Women SHGs in Dhomkhar village of Khalsi block was sent to sell in Kashmir region in Srinager, the capital of J&K for the first time.” Ladakhi society today is poised between two worlds. One is based on their age-old way of life, its unique culture, customs and social order. The other world promises the opening up of traditional Ladakhi society with new employment avenues, ideas of women's empowerment, opportunities for educational and social advancement. The woman in Ladakh represents the face of this change, a shedding of past patterns and a reaching out to a brave new world. It is but natural that such a transition implies flux and invites a range of opinions. Some women leaders are still skeptical of this new-found energy and confidence in the new roles for women. Thinless Tharchin of Ladakh Development Organization working on women's issues, says that influence of women is negligible even within village Governing Body. Within these dynamics, however, it is an undisputable fact that women in Ladakh find themselves pitch forked into new arenas in social, cultural and political spheres. There could be a long way to go before women actually work in partnership with men at every level of decision making but the direction of the winds of change are unmistakable.

(Articles in this section from page 32 to 42 are supported by the Charkha Development and Communication Network, New Delhi, under its Sanjoy Ghose Media Fellowship Programme and Ladakh Women Writers' Award Programme. Epilogue is thankful to Mr Shanker Ghose for his guidance and also deeply appreciative of Sujata Raghavan and Anshu Meshak for their work and coordination –Editor)

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Vol. 4, Issue 8

WOMEN IN GOVERNANCE

A Search for an Identity YANGCHAN DOLMA Being a woman in Ladakh has traditionally meant having a position of respect in a society seen to be liberal in its gender attitudes and patterns. But this stops at women in the roles designated for them within the cultural and social patterns and roles that have emerged during its chequered and fascinating history. In the modern era, to be a woman in Ladakh and in politics or in governance at any level is still a hat which society has not been able to wear comfortably. The J and K Panchayat Raj institution came into existence three years before the 73rd Amendment Act of the Central Government. This has a provision for reservation for women on Panch seats but not for the Sarpanch of the Halqa Panchayat a significant level of the tier system of panchayati raj. Panchayat institution in effect began in Ladakh 2001. In the first ever Panchayat election, 37 women became Panches through consensus nomination of their respective villages. Five them were contested the election. The Government, in an obvious attempt to meet the mandatory 33% reservation directed the opening up of the seats in the Halqua Panchayat A key factor in the governance and politics has been the establishment of Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) in 1995 to address the unique issues of governance in the context of Ladakhi society and polity. The step implied the growth in political opportunities for the Ladakhi, a say in matters of governance and a mechanism to fashion development and growth according to the unique and particular needs of the region. However this has not reflected in any tangible thrust of the Council to women's development or empowerment in Leh district. Amongst the 26 members of General Council of

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LAHDC, there are two nominated women councilors. Both of them are on the reserved seats, Spalzes Angmo nominated for all the three terms on the principle of minority and Tashi Angmo on the reservation of weaker section. Inspite of the opportunity for some women to make a difference being part of the Hill Council, their performance and trackrecord is lack-lustre. Their contribution to the processes of planning and setting agendas is negligible. For women in the Halqua Panchayat it is the same story. At both these levels it is an opportunity lost. . Within the Executive Council which is the think-tank and the body which defines policy and sets development agenda has Women's Development or Empowerment conspicuously missing from this. G M Sheikh, who works on women's leadership points out, "Women in Councilor's post unfortunately lack understanding of women issues and needs in the society.” Former MLA and presently member of SC/ST Commission Tsering Samphel opines, "Lack of competition among the Women councilors is responsible for their being inactive. Women councilors need to groomed in politics." However this speaks of a deeper malaise, a root cause for which is in probably unfair to nail the individual women in power and governance systems. Shiekh opines , “Ladakhi society is patriarchal and is the main barrier to the participation of women in governance and decision making in the society. The general perception still persists that these jobs are the responsibility of men”. Tsering Dolker, General Secretary of Women's Alliance of Ladakh says this mind-set itself discourages women's participation in governance. The myth of the Ladakhi women being at par with the males in society stops short of their participation in governance and the political process which is some ways is the yardstick or the acid test of women's empowerment in any region. Unless women participate fully and are part of

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not only public discourse on any issue but of the process of governance, they will remain in the shadows, more as decorative value, as emblems of a rich and fascinating culture no doubt but without a role in development. Development itself suffers from this lack of women's participation, their perspectives and their contribution to actual work on the ground which women in panchayati raj institutions across the country are bringing in. The steps taken by the J&K Government have been shortsighted in this matter and rather than a demonstrated commitment to Panchayati Raj have been vacillating possibly because of the regime changes and political compulsions of the day. Yet panchayati raj, its vision and its potential cannot be and should not be the prerogative of any one political regime, it belongs to the people of India, to their aspirations for a more accountable and sensitive governance. Panchayati Raj was introduced for the first time in January 2001 during National Conference Government. In 2002 the Congress –PDP alliance came to power and during their tenure the existing term of panchayat expired in May 2006 which was neither extended nor panchayat elections was held in entire state. The promise and potential of Panchayati Raj to make governance a democratic process based on the involvement of local communities is at the moment on a weak wicket in J&K. Ladakh as a region suffers from being disconnected and in some sense sidelined even within the state and this finds reflection in the political representation from the region at the national level. There are two Lok Sabha seats, each for Leh and Kargil till 1995 and four seats after delimitation. Leh has a largely Buddhist population and Kargil is dominated by Muslims, a demographic fact which has in a sense polarized Ladakh on the lines of religion and region, leaving very little space for the development agenda and to a much

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extent, less women-centric development agenda. Seen from the point of view of women, their enhanced role in governance and political processes , it seems a Herculean task to cut through the lines of region, religion, gender for women to aspire to and sustain a significant if not forceful presence in governance. Everything seems heavily weighed against this. Today educated women in Ladakh still avoid the public domain of governance and prefer regular jobs. Many Ladakhis still feel that those willing to come in politics are uneducated, incapable and lack understanding of issues. But the winds of change are blowing albeit gently and will in time give way to a more progressive era. Advocate Thinley Angmo notes, "The level of education in women is increasing and will soon start a new era in women society. The government job opportunities which are most preferred by women are decreasing and they are exploring other opportunities. The dynamics of women in governance in Ladakh has many facets which are reflective of a region which is churning and seeking change from its traditional mould. Yet it finds itself caught and trapped in old mores. Nothing captures this more than the document brought out for the first time by LAHDC on the comprehensive strategies and action for the next twenty five years. The process did not include one woman nor does it have a substantive s e c t i o n d e v o t e d t o Wo m e n ' s Development. Later this document, fundamentally flawed because of the absence inputs from women was released by the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and Leh became perhaps the first district to own a Vision Document sans women's perspectives. Perhaps those who are leading lights in the Panchayti Raj movement and those who are involved in creating a responsive, locally tuned governance need to put their heads together and address the issues of Ladakhi women.

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AGRICULTURE

No winter chill for farmers ZAINAB AKHTER

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ith the onset of winter, icy winds and temperatures plummeting way below sub-zero, farmers in Ladakh are a worried lot. Over 90 per cent of Ladakh's population is engaged in farming, their livelihoods directly dependent on agriculture. It is not easy to get a good yield though. The extremely short summers and long harsh winters make it difficult for farmers to grow vegetables even to sustain themselves. For months on end, heavy snow fall covers the fields, leaving little scope for anything to grow, leaving farmers waiting in despair. Things are changing however. Farmers in Leh district of Ladakh have adopted a method of greenhouse farming, which enables them to grow vegetables in the middle of harsh winters. It has led to the availability of vegetables throughout the year, which even a few winters ago was unheard of. The concept of greenhouses was developed by Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO), from its unit located in Leh. The moving spirit behind this innovation was to help the farmers overcome the hazards of harsh winters and protect their farming practices so that they could get a good yield. Interestingly it was adopted by the Indian Army, for the first time in Kargil after the 1999 border warfare and introduced amongst the local populace. The farming community cannot believe the wonder of growing green leafy vegetables throughout the winter

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season. "We get fresh green leafy vegetables even during the months of January, February and March. We want more greenhouses to be promoted so that more people get benefit from this novel method," said Tsering Dolker, a farmer. It is a far cry from the past when the supply of green vegetables in Ladakh during the long winter months was restricted to cargo that arrived by air from Delhi, Jammu or Chandigarh. Now as the Ladakh gets snowed in, the supply of vegetables like cucumber, eggfruit and capsicum emerge from the hothouses. For the locals, to be relishing these when it is nail biting cold outside, is a delightful experience. It has demonstrated how technology can be applied to natural processes to boost the yield and make the region selfreliant. It has also demonstrated that with applied research, the farming community in Ladakh need not be at the mercy of climatic cycles but offset its disadvantage by adopting new methodologies. The viability of agricultural processes and yields have grown tremendously with this one intervention. This has signified a turning point for the farmers . Seeing the remarkable way in which the yields have increased , the Horticulture Department was quick to respond with its own initiatives . It was the quantum jump in the

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yield that moved the authorities to further this novel concept and take its benefit to a wider population. They helped establish similar greenhouses across the region. Leh has another natural advantage. Because of its unique geography, it receives good sunlight for an average of 325 days in a year . This has been a boon for the greenhouse project. "We have seen that solar energy has a lot of potential in Leh town. We have tried to develop farming and we are encouraging farmers to grow vegetables. This concept was developed in 1998 to make greenhouses using local material," said Tashi Thokmat, Deputy Director, Ladakh Environment and Health Organization (LEHO). The momentum has caught on. Biju Shitall, a Pune based private company offered to organize an exposure tour for farmers of Ladakh to travel to Pune and learn about technical innovations in vege-

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table seed production. It was a tremendous learning experience which the Ladakhi farmers will retain and apply to conditions in their own region. District Agriculture Officer, Leh Thinless Dawa, said during the tour, “these farmers were provided extensive training followed by field visit to farms of the state.” Mr. Dawa added that there is an understanding between Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council, Biju Shitall company and the Farmers Cooperative Society to market vegetable seeds to other states. Also in pipeline is a move to adopt a model village for seed production in Leh district. The farming community and the consumers in Leh are enjoying the benefits of summer during the winter season when normally they would be deprived of fresh vegetables This turn-around is clearly based on scientific methods buoyed by the enthusiastic response by the community and the authorities. It has all but solved the scarcity of vegetables in the harsh and long winters in this Himalayan plateau. The day does not seem far when apart from demands within the region, they will be exporting vegetables to the other parts of the state during the winters. For a community used to scrounging around amidst diminishing winter stock of fresh food, this has come like manna from heaven.

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ENVIRONMENT

Glacial Melting causing havoc TASHI MORUP

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rudging down the street of Leh bazaar, a pall of gloom on his face, Ishay Tundup, an elderly farmer holds up a bag full of green vegetables . An ordinary sight surely but it was far from that. This 70-year-old man had grown vegetables all his life. He had never needed to buy them from a bazaar. Tundup is one amongst the many farmers who have suffered the effects of drought in Ladakh last summer, a phenomenon unheard of. Sonam Zangpo, another farmer who is also the Leh Phoomdo Goba or the Headman of Leh district said, “It was (the water scarcity) extreme last season, our fields received just four waters (four times) in the whole season.” Normally barley fields receive water through the irrigation channels 12 to 14 during the period of cultiva-

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tion. Streams ran dry and the staple crop barley, which was water-starved, grew stunted. This pattern of nature going awry has become apparent over the last decade this high altitude trans-Himalayan region. A drastic reduction in the Indus River waters and in smaller streams, disappearing glaciers, flash floods, lake overflows. Many natural springs, which for centuries have been a source of drinking water and irrigation, have gone dry. Ladakh, likened to an oasis in the icy desert attracts thousands of tourists with its rugged terrain, its immense potential for trekking in the semi-arid highland. But now crossing fast-flowing and intricately linked rivulets does not hold that thrill anymore. “You can now cross these

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tributaries without wetting your shoes with the help of stones that have emerged on the water surface,” says Tsering, a veteran tour operator The famous 22-day trek from Lamayuru to Darcha cutting across the Himalayan range had a memorable stretch at the Shinkun La pass, which meant crossing the glacier. Now deep moraines have developed caused by the melting glacier and this route is now omitted from the trekking itinerary. The Khardong La pass, also a must for the trekking enthusiasts is called the 'Highest Motorable Pass in the World” , a lifeline for locals between Leh town and Nubra valley. Here too the rising temperatures have led to a complete disappearance of the glacier, which used to straddle the road.People in Leh have been witnessing glaciers shrinking literally before their eyes. They have seen flash floods in 1999 and in 2006 caused by recessional glacial lake outbursts at Nang-tse and Phu-tse glacier. According to Joseph T Gergan, Glacial Scientist at Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, Dehradun, these are the sources of water supply to Leh town The fast melting glaciers' in Changthang area are pouring into the famous Pangong lake which lies partly in India and the rest in Tibet. The overflowing waters recently submerged the roads adjacent to the long shore of the lake, which then needed to be rebuilt. Communities settled along the Indus belt areas have their own woes to tell. Water canals in Chushot, Choglamsar, Spituk and Phey villages are stretching further upstream to access the rapidly receding waters of the Indus River. “We had to build fresh canals to draw water further up from the Indus as one of the three courses of the river along our village has completely gone dry,” said Mohd. Sadiq, Goba of Chushot village.

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“There was not a single drop in our stream last summer,” said Tsering Angdus, an elderly villager in Phey . He remembered those days when snow was knee-high everywhere, which lasted the whole winter. “Today you don't get to see any snow”, Angdus lamented. The dwindling water has forced communities in Shun village, Lungnag valley in the remote Zanskar region decide to shift base from their traditional land. They now inhabit Darcha on Leh-Manali road, a difficult trek of several days from their ancestral village. At Phu-tse glacier the breaching point where the lake was formed due to melting is apparent. So is the larger lake at the

snout of Khardong la glacier. Disturbing signs which point to the fact that the seemingly solid glaciers are in the process of melting. The burgeoning water problem meanwhile has been taking up the attention of the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC), the principal body of policy and implementation in the region. In a letter to Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, Tsewang Rigzin Councillor of Diskit constituency of Nubra Valley has suggested a tunnel be built across Khardong la pass. This would divert the flow of the north-facing glaciers towards Leh town. It would prevent water going down its natural incline towards from Shayok

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River of Nubra valley. Chering Dorjey, Chief Executive Commissioner , LAHDC,Leh is concerned about the depleting underground water sources and has mooted a Water Supply Scheme to lift water from the Indus River. More and more villages like Taru, Phey, Nang, Stagmo and Sakti in Ladakh, facing water scarcity are now building reservoirs under Watershed and Haryali schemes. Mr. Gergan who has studied the issue, believes that the numerous moraines created by the glacial melt could work as small, manageable check dams to preserve water as well as rejuvenate the springs. In several countries facing glacier recession, like Switzerland, artificial covers from sun are provided. Artificial glaciers along side hills protect the original glacier and preserve the vast stretch of permafrost. In Ladakh, such steps would be a boon, a much-required action to protect its precious natural water reserves, the life-giving resource for its people. The administration both at the level of the Ladakh Hill Council and the J&K state government needs to address the issue much more seriously. Meeting the immediate challenge of water shortage should receive top priority but it needs to go much beyond that. The larger issue of global warming and its effects in the region needs urgent attention to be taken up at relevant policy forums in the country. For the locals, the issue glacial melting is not an academic one. It not only affects water supply, agriculture but and their very survival in high terrain region which for centuries has been fed by the natural springs and streams. Unless the authorities wake up and take action that is so required, the people in Ladakh will continue to suffer and this pristine, sensitive eco-system will continue to be ravaged.

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ABLE TO CHALLENGE DISABILITY:

The unfolding of two lives DOLMA NAMGYAL

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hat constitutes disability, that too physical disability? Is it merely about a limb not functioning, a body part, which is atrophied, or a set of motor responses not being adequate or is it the mental attitude towards any form of physical disability that lies at the root of the problem? Mental attitude of not only those disabled but those who are not, who infact constitute the environment in which the disabled live out their lives. Walking down a busy market place in Leh, Ladakh, I came across a friend of mine who was with a group of people. Amongst them was a young man, around 27 years old, whose legs were wasted away. But what was his striking feature was not the physical disability but the forlorn look he seemed to perpetually have, an air of diffidence, of being defeated. It bothered me, so much so that asked him directly what matter was. He hesitated before replying, a response that was unexpected and struck me like a bolt of lightening. I had expected to hear a crib about his wasted limbs. Instead he said, “You guys are educated and I am not. Looking at all your faces, I feel like a fool.” Karma Sherup blew my preconceived notions to smithereens. It was not the disability that was bothering him but the lack of education, the means to access knowledge, to enhance one's capacities. I could not let go now spurred on not just by curiosity but a

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way to challenge my own mind-set. I asked him why he did not go to school. To that he said hesitatingly “Everyone used to stare at me. Even the teacher used to stare me. So I felt so bad and left the school.” Again I had that uncanny feeling that the problem was not Karma Sherup or any other disabled boy or girl in Ladakh or outside. The problem was the rest of us, who had a problem with disability, with seeing it, dealing with it and overcoming it. For Sherup and probably others like him, things were much more simple and clear cut. All they wanted was a fighting chance, a level playing field. The choice then was before me. Either I could retreat into my previous mind-set and shut out this new and startling insight. Or I could take it on, take action. It did not take me more than a couple of seconds to decide. I asked him “ Do you want to do self- study? He hesitated slightly, possibly conditioned by his bitter experience. I pushed it and said, “I will help you “ to which he, said “ OK” before breaking into a broad smile. There was no looking back. We first made a timetable for our study schedule. I had to first gauge his level of learning was took the first two sessions or so. Based on that, I created my own syllabus from my level of knowledge about subjects, general knowledge and small life-skills and experiences we all acquire along the way. Come to think of it, this is the one thing

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we don't do enough of; to share our knowledge and skills with those who need it and can benefit from it. Sherup was a quick learner, with an aptitude for the English language. I enjoyed the sessions as much, perhaps more which led to a warm, interactive exchange between us. I remember it was just over two months of this joyful learning that we happened to be once again at the same place in the market, with a similar gathering of friends. I must admit I was a bit anxious about my ward. Would he mingle or again retreat back into his shell? What followed was such a study in contrasts that it left me wonder-struck. Sherup was easily conversing with this entire bunch of people who were the 'other' and whom he had shunned a few short weeks ago. I knew he had been visiting cyber café's off and on and perhaps had read up on a variety of subjects that interested him. He was also accessing many people through social networking sites like Face book and Orkut which had connected him with the outside world. Disability in andenabling' environment does not remain disability anymore. In the case of Karma Sherup, it happened through a chance meeting of someone who could give that input which not only restored his confidence, but also opened up the way to his further 'self-study'. With this, he could easily fit into a working environment like a shop or any agency. He could teach nurs-

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ery children. He could stand on his own feet, basically. Perhaps that was the real source of his joy. For Tsewang Namgyal, struck by Cerebral Palsy from birth, things were different. He was fortunate to have a family, which was supportive, caring. Brought up along with two sisters, one elder brother by his widowed mother in Shynem village just outside Leh, he was never made to feel he was different. He went to school, cleared Higher Secondary in Skara, nearby and today has a Government job in Leh Municipality and is fully capable of leading his own life.

Both Sherup Karma and Tsewang Namgyal are in a pro-active role, participating in all aspects of society. What is striking in both these lives is the crucial role of Education. In Sherup, it opened the door to a newfound confidence, to friendship and new capabilities sure to stand him in good stead. In Tsewang, it has led to a quality education, securing a means of livelihood, a life of dignity. Tsewang has found some likeminded people in Ladakh and is a member of People's Action Group for Rights and Inclusion (PAGIR), a network of disabled persons in Leh district. He passionately advocates for the accessibility

of school buildings for disabled children and the sensitivity of the teacher towards their education. The transformation of two young lives and motivation and work of civil society groups like PAGIR is truly laudable. It proves that given a supportive environment, the disabled can very well make that journey from the margins of society to a fully participative and responsible role. It is really upto the rest of us to enable the disabled, not just in Ladakh but across the country, to make this journey and in the process create a more inclusive, a more compassionate society.

BOLLYWOOD EFFECT :

One in a Series of Onslaughts on Ladakh? REKHA SHENOY

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he final scene of the Bollywood blockbuster '3 Idiots' showing a breathtakingly beautiful 'Pangong Lake', glassy blue amidst the stark rugged mountainscape has triggered off a chain reaction. Situated at 14000 feet it is entirely fed by glacial waters, this 134 km wide water body lies partly in India and mostly in China. Today people from across the country are thronging Ladakh get a glimpse of this spectacular lake seen in their favorite movie. On a recent visit there, returning to the Kharu Check Post, the guard remarks, “Today, we recorded 150 vehicles to Pangong and it

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is the highest number of vehicles in the history”. He also made another statement, perhaps a more telling one “The interesting point is only one vehicle had foreign tourists and the rest 149 carried domestic tourists.” Tashi, our taxi driver's glee is palpable “Thanks to '3 Idiots', madam, our tourist season now extends to seven months instead of the conventional four. My income has been doubled as I take domestic tourists to Pangong everyday,” he grins. That is true for many taxi drivers who are suddenly in high demand for day trips to Pangong! Yes Ladakh has witnessed a record

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number of domestic tourists. Tour operators are laughing all the way to the bank. But is everyone happy about this transformation of India's only cold desert into the hottest tourist destination in the sub continent today? Ladakh has always been a strategically important region sharing a border with China and has one of the most militarized zones, Siachen. It is one of the most starkly beautiful landscapes in the subcontinent, a land, glaciers, lakes, mountains, seat of a thriving culture based on the Tibetan form of Buddhism. Yet all this remained locked in, restricted to only the local

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populace. The policy shift in the 70's opened up the region to tourists, largely foreigners, Westerners drawn to the exotic land of moon-passes. This no doubt began turning the wheels of its economy but it went beyond that. It brought in a sense of 'integration' with the 'larger world', a vehicle for new ideas, knowledge, technologies and practices for the local communities. From a subsistence economy dependent mainly on agriculture and animal husbandry it became a tourism-driven economy. There was a proliferation of travel agencies, opportunities for local youth as guides, shop-keepers and taxi drivers. Villagers opened up their homes for 'home-stays', a big draw for foreigners who cherished the experience of traditional life. Much later, when domestic tourists started showing an interest in the region, the 'integration' of the local Ladakhis started with their compatriots too, as a second phase. The question still remains, whether this domestic surge, this integration within the country bodes well for this region, ecologically fragile, strategically sensitive and culturally distinct as it is? On the face of it, the Indian tourists signify a 'steadfastness' that perhaps the Western tourist will not be able to match. Any small tension on the border, and you hardly see any Western tourists in Ladakh. Tsewang Rigzin, a councilor in Ladakh Hill Autonomous Hill Development Council, says that domestic tourism is more sustainable. But sustainability is not only about economics. What about the effect on the environment, the sensibilities of the people? Here the picture turns ugly. Used to the Westerners, who have shown genuine respect for the culture,

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way of life and care for the fragile ecosystem of Ladakh, the locals have gained a new-found confidence and even pride in their culture and society, reflecting the attitude of the foreign tourists. The attitude of the domestic tourist sadly is in sharp contrast. P.T Kunjang, Secretary, Ladakh Buddhist Association and the President, All Ladakh Tour Operators Association (ALTOA), says that a majority of domestic tourists show no interest in the history and culture of Ladakh. They do not hire local guides to learn about this. The distinctiveness of Ladakhi monasteries, which reflect aspects of Indian and Tibetan Buddhism, seems to be lost on the Indian tourist. Their manner reflects a lack of interest and scant respect for the local heritage, which the local population takes umbrage to. Hurting local sensibilities apart, the sudden rise in domestic tourism is putting enormous pressure on the already scarce resources. Water for instance which all comes from the melted snow and ice of the surrounding mountains. Tourists demand a change in bed sheets and towels in their hotels every day. Hoteliers have dug borewells to meet this demand. The traditional Ladakhi 'dry compost toilets' evolved to beat the water scarcity is anathema to the domestic tourists who insist on flush toilets, which consumes huge quantities of water. Domestic tourists are known to take their vehicles right up to the shore of Pangong Lake and Tsomirii Lake, the two, major wetlands. “Even though there are clear instructions not to feed birds and throw waste, I see many Indian tourists indulging in exactly that. I am extremely saddened by this sight” , says Thinlas Chorol, who runs a Ladakh

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Women Travel Agency operated entirely by local women. The surge in tourism and here one can in all fairness club both the domestic and international, has led to another mammoth problem, that of waste. There is an enormous amount of packaged food and water in circulation in the region which earlier depended solely on naturally available food and water. Everything could be recycled back to the land. Today it has to deal with growing quantities of nonbiodegradable wastes such as cans, bottles and plastics not only in the towns but also on mountains, where trekking routes lie. In the absence of proper solid waste management system, this is posing a huge challenge for the administration and gradually choking the eco system. The picture in Ladakh is both redeeming and disturbing. Tourism has surged ahead providing life-blood for its economy, a fountain-head of income- generating activities for the locals. It has equally soaked up natural resources, gradually destroying what has been a life-line of a different, perhaps more enduring kind, its fragile ecology, and its sensitive environment. Ladakh simply does not have the c a p a c i t y, e i t h e r n a t u r a l o r infrastructural to handle the huge number of tourists bringing in practices and attitudes, which run contrary to the natural laws of the region. This needs to be regulated. P.T Kunjan worries and many would echo, “Otherwise ten years from now, tourists could stop visiting Ladakh”. That is not the kind of drastic solution that anyone would want, so it is imperative that an equally powerful answer be found, one, which would lead to harmony and restoration along with economic gain.

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PERSONAL EXPERIENCE

A Trek Through Life THINLAS CHOROL

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was born in a small village with around 60 houses called Takmachik about 120 km from Leh, Ladakh. In my village, all the 60 families are divided into groups to take turns at grazing the goats and sheep on the mountains.. We also would make trips to collect grass and store it so that during the long harsh winters, the animals have adequate fodder. Sometimes my father used to go up everyday for 3 or 4 weeks to collect grass in the quantities required. As a child during my holidays , I used to go up on the mountain with my father and our herds. I was afraid that something may happen to him if he was alone. My mother had died when I was a baby and I had only my father, whom I cared about deeply. I did not really cut any grass, I just went because of my father and because I loved the peaceful mountains. This was the bliss of my childhood which I still miss in the village which I still love. But then life changed and I went out into the world to get myself an education and explore possibilities for my life ahead. After Class 10th , I had to leave my village to further my studies. I was selected for the SECMOL (Student Educational Cultural Movement of Ladakh) hostel in Phey, around 25 km from the Leh Town. In SECMOL I met many volunteers and I went trekking with some of them. One of the women asked me to come with her as a guide. Previously, she had a

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bad experience with a male guide, who had tried to coerce her into having sex with him. Distraught, she had abandoned the trek and fled. And now was understandably weary of taking a male guide along. She knew that I have trekked before and though I said I did not the route, remained keen to hire me as a guide and offered to pay me my charges. I had been born in the mountains and spent my childhood amidst them. It was natural for me to slip into that mode and become for the first time, a trekking guide! It was an altogether different experience from my childhood wanderings. I found I was attracting a lot of attention with local people coming up to me and speaking to me in English saying they had never seen a Ladakhi female guide ever before. In fact so remote was the possibility of encountering one, many of them thought that I was Japanese! The trek turned out to be wonderful and the woman enjoyed it immensely. She suggested that I think about becoming a guide as a profession. It was the first time, I had got advice of this kind and suddenly the world opened up before me. What was a part of my growing up experience could become a way of life, a career option, She pursued this and together we went to meet with the organization “Snow Leopard Conservancy� which runs such programs in the region. Although it did not quite work out with this particular organization, the experience of this foreign

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women believing in me, left a huge impact on my life. I decided to pursue it on my own steam and approached two travel companies. At one of them, the person in charge asked me if I did monastery tours. He was taken aback on hearing me say categorically, that I wanted to work as a trekking guide. I was rejected. At the second company, it was worse. I was clearly told that local society would not accept a woman going up on the mountains with a group of tourists. These were bitter experiences, leaving me dejected, my dreams seemed on the verge of being shattered. But help was near. I shared my angst with my English teacher, Becky who was from America and found a much needed supporter in her. She encouraged me to pursue my dreams and paid my fees for mountaineering courses. Later, Becky introduced me to a travel agency, she knew well and they said they would hire me! It was I knew a turning point for me and I had to prove myself to all those who believed in me. I did a few courses to upgrade my knowledge and skills and also to show the agency that I was really serious about my work. I first did mountaineering course at the Nehru Institution Of Mountaineering and National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS India) . It was here that I really learnt how to live in the wilderness. Generally in Ladakh, students work as a guide without any formal

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Education training. Men are hired by company even if they do not have this training, any familiarity with trekking routes or work experience. In spite of my training though, in the beginning it was very difficult for me to get hired by the travel companies. I faced a similar situation everywhere. But I persisted in my efforts. And my lucky break came in 2004 again through SECMOL. They opened a travel company called “Around Ladakh with Students”. Most of the guides were women, all of them were doing cultural guide and monastery tours, except me. I was for the first time a full-fledged trekking guide! It was a dream come true and my joy knew no bounds. This was the beginning of a journey for me. I observed that generally it was very expensive for individual tourists to travel to different regions in Ladakh and get a sense of the local life there. In my present capacity, we use homestays for taking up groups where tourists can stay in homely comfort and at the same time experience the real Ladakhi way of life. Over the time, a few travel companies came to know about our work and approached me to be a trekking guide and I began to get hired for their treks. This is what I loved doing the most and such opportunities encouraged me and gave me a confidence, a renewed faith in myself. I have learnt a lot on my journey and enjoyed it immensely. Women who are interested in the outdoor field or any field dominated by men should be patient and keep the competitive edge sharp. I have learnt that if a woman has the courage to do something in male world, it will be a lot of hard work, but the sweet rewards of success will surely be hers in time.

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LADAKH'S OWN TEXTBOOKS:

A Step Towards Autonomy TSEWANG RIGZIN

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rom 'known to unknown' is what the education system supposed to be based on, especially at the primary level. However, for Ladakhi students, it had been the reverse prior to the launch of the Operation New Hope (ONH) – a movement by the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) Leh in collaboration with Students' Educational & Cultural Movement of Ladakh (SECMOL) aimed at overhauling the education system to make it more close and relevant to Ladakh's life and culture. As a part of the Operation New Hope government schools in Leh today have primary textbooks published in the context of Ladakh's distinct cultural and geographical conditions. According to the introduction in these textbooks, “ONH books are based on Ladakhi environment and culture which Ladakhi children will find easier to relate to and hence learn with joy”. Until mid 1990s textbooks in Ladakhi government schools, even at the primary level, were completely irrelevant to the students of this mountainous region because these books talked nothing about Ladakh, its environment and its culture. It was more like 'from unknown to known' thereby making hundreds of Ladakhi children to feel themselves and their culture as inferior to others since they wouldn't find a single word about Ladakh in their textbooks. Under ONH, new textbooks were specifically designed for Ladakh because the founders' of the movement believed that the previous

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METAMORPHOSIS textbooks, which came from outside Ladakh, were meant for children living in tropical India but not for children living high up in Ladakh. Under the ONH, a team of local government school teachers, SECMOL staff and experts from other parts of India, developed teaching materials including eleven textbooks and four supplementary bilingual Ladakhi/English storybooks along with a set of pre-primary material and many posters. The textbooks are now the standard syllabus in government schools across Leh District. Architects of the ONH believed that “all these books depict Ladakhi children, culture and environment that students can identify with, and retain their confidence and interest”. In the introduction of these books a special mention is found about some of the textbook making team members who had been deputed by Eklavya: “These books have been made possible with the help of resource persons from across the country and collaboration provided by Eklavya, Madhya Pradesh – an organization with 20 years of experience in elementary education”. During the year 2001- 2002, Safe the Children in collaboration of the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Hill Development Council Leh and the local NGOs conducted a study to document the impact of ONH with an aim to derive lessons from the experience with the movement. The study report observes that “there is positive response to the textbooks prepared under ONH. Participatory exercised found that children are able to relate with and learn from the textbooks and most teachers are comfortable with them”. It is pertinent to mention here that all the textbooks under ONH have been published by the Jammu & Kashmir State Board of School Education in collaboration with the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council Leh and SECMOL. This article is generated with support of National Foundation of India Fellowship Programme

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PASTURE DISPUTE

Trespassing cause unrest in Rangdum TSEWANG RIGZIN

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nrest is prevailing in Rangum area of Zanskar, a place of huge historical and religious importance, after Bakerwal tribesmen from different parts of Kashmir Valley have thronged the pastures with their sheep and goats. Since the place of religious importance, the locals have written to the Ladakh Budhist Association for their intervention in preventing the tribal herds from visiting Rangdum. Rangdum residents have warned of leaving the area in protest as they said that local authorities have been helpless in resolving the issue with Bakerwals. Informing about the issue, people of Rangdum, through Khenpo Stanzin Dorjay of the monastery, have asked the LBA to take care of the management of Rangdum Monastery as there would be simply no one left to take care of the monastery if the villagers had to leave the place. In a letter addressed to the President LBA, Khenpo Stanzin Dorjay referred to some Court orders restraining the Bakarwals from entering into the area. “The orders issued by the Honorable Courts are not being implemented due to the interference of vested politicians which is a clear indication of the insecurity of the lives and properties of the natives living in the area. Therefore the entire inhabitants of the area have decided to leave the place and seek an alternative place for resettlements,” the letter warns. Executive Councilor LAHDC Kargil, Mr Punchok Tashi expressing grave concern over the situation told Epilogue that he would approach the General Officer Commanding of the 14 corps for deployment of the army as the last resort for the protection of the area and its people from intrusion of Gujjar and Bakarwals. Tashi suspects the involvement of some politicians with vested interests. A historical document says that the entire area of

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ment debtor and also to ensure that the judgment debtors be not permitted to violate the decree in future. President LBA, Mr Lobzang Rinchen, has formally taken up the issue with the Chief Minister Mr. Omar Abdullah asking him to intervene and resolve the issue peacefully before the situation got worsened. It is pertinent to mention here that being the coldest place of the area, the Gonpa and the people of the area depend upon the cattle breeding as the only source of income. The entire area of Rangdum is pastureland for both summer and winter seasons for the cattle of the inhabitants.

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your House To Prevent Mosquito Breeding. Ä Keep All Water Containing Vessels, Overhead Tanks Tightly, Covered With Lids. Ä Dewater Desert Coolers, Drums, Flower, Pots, Bird Bath Etc. Every Week Ä Wear Full Body Clothes To Prevent Bite Of Mosquito Ä Get Your Blood Tested For Malaria, Parasite, In Case Of Fever With Rigors

KEEP MALARIA, DENGUE AND CHIKUNGUNYA AWAY & STAY HEALTHY

KINDLY CO-OPERATE

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Rangdum from Osgom (Do-Khom) to Pentsela pass and Kanjila including all the big and small valleys and gorges from the glacier to either side of the river, the entire uninhibited area with its pasture, water and herb, wood, its possession and ownership, all had been offered to His Holiness Ngari Rinpochey, the supreme incarnate as a pure religious donation by King Tsewang Namgail of Ladakh vide his government order in the month of tigeryear in 18thcentury. “The successive kings of Ladakh confirmed the donation orders. Similarly, the Maharajas of J& K and the successive state governments have also confirmed this donation by not altering the orders of the king. His Holiness Ngari Rinpochey has constructed a monastery over the hillock which at present is known as Rangdum Gonpa,” said the letter referring to this document. “Since the year 1979, Bakarwals from some parts of the Kashmir valley tried to intrude in the pasture areas as trespassers and created many law and order problems. In the year 2001, three lamas of Rangdum Gonpa were shot dead by a terrorist group under the guise of Bakarwals,” recalled the letter hinting that another such dreadful incident cannot be ruled out. When asked the Deputy Commissioner Kargil, M Raju admitted that there has been some dispute between the locals and the Bakarwals over some areas in Rangdum area. He said that there is police post at Shafat to prevent the entry of Bakarwals into the area. “I will make sure that Court orders are implemented in letter and spirit,” he assured. The Rangdum Gonpa filed suit for permanent injunction against some Bakarwals from interfering into the “peaceful possession of the Rangdum area”. The suit was decreed by the District Judge Leh/Kargil on November 29, 1985 restraining the defendants and other Bakarwals from interfering in the suit property. The appeal filed by the Bakarwals before the Honorable High Court against the decree and judgment of the District Judge was dismissed confirming the decree of the district judge. Referring to court proceedings and judgments pronounced, the letter recalls that even after the decree confirmed by the Honorable High Court, the judgment debtor tried to trespass over the area, so on the application for execution of the decree, the learned District Judge has issued a permanent direction to the Superintendent of Police Kargil with the direction to ensure that the decree of the court is complied in letter and spirit by the judg-

Issued by : State Malariologist, Directorate Of Health Services Jammu.

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A TRAVELER'S PERSPECTIVE

Leh changed, and et it didn't ELINE GORDTS

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arrived in Delhi on a warm July evening, on one of those hot summer nights right before the start of the monsoon. It would be my second time in India, and I thought I knew what I was up for. The particular smell of Indian nights, the deafening sounds of cars and rikcshaws, and the endless masses of people sleeping in New Delhi railway station: I thought I had seen it all before. Yet as the taxi from the airport drove deeper and deeper into the city, and the noise, the smell and the bustle became overwhelming, I desperately wished we had already reached the main destination of our trip: Ladakh. Two years ago I and a friend travelled from Benares to Rajasthan, spending five weeks in India's bustling fairytale province. Friends convinced us to end our trip in Leh. They promised a little island of rest and peace, beading in sun, surrounded by mountains, on the roof of the world. They were right. Leh stole our hearts. While sitting in that taxi on New Delhi highway, fearing for my life as we dangerously passed a truck while taking a curb, I remembered the snow-covered mountains I was about to see again, Shanti Stupa and Leh Palace , prayer flags and momo's, women selling vegetables in the main bazaar. One week later, after a 20-hour drive from Manali to Ladakh, we were finally there: Leh. The Golden Gate doomed up in the darkness like a big welcoming sign and instantly reduced the motion sickness that had tortured me the hours before. I went to bed, and immediately fell asleep. I was home. Yet the next morning, heading out for breakfast, I instantly realized what

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a great deal Leh had changed over those two years. I had expected to find the city exactly the way I had left it last time, immune for change, immune for time. Although my own life changed radically since I left Ladakh in September 2008, I was sure that no such thing would have happened in Leh. I was wrong. Leh town is busier, noisier. Cars and motorcycles make their way through scares of tourists, unable to resist touching the honk. Every time they pass, want to pass, or refuse to pass, there's that penetrating sound. I once joked that if the government of India would introduce a fine for honking, like the police do in New York, she would instantly be rich. Maybe the LAHDC should consider a similar move. The number of tourists seems to have exploded. The number of shoe shiners seems to have doubled. The number of shopkeepers seems to have grown. Travel agencies seem to have mushroomed. Every corner seems to have its internet café. Walking through the main bazaar, I can't help but wonder: Is my mind playing tricks on me? Did Leh seem so quiet after those five weeks in Rajasthan, that I minimaize its traffic, its bustle? Yet some interviews with Ladakhi's learned that my memory is working fine. The number of tourists has exploded. The number of shoe shiners has doubled. The number of shopkeepers has grown. Travel agencies have mushroomed. Every corner has its internet café. Today Leh is full of tourists, and the whole town seems to be in for it. And it needs to be said, Leh's growth

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brought some serious benefits too. The German bakeries, which you can find all over town, sell the most incredible collection of sweets. I've tried delicious plum pies, mouth-watering chocolate cookies and tasty apple crumbles. Many cafés make espresso now, a real delight for a coffee addict like myself. And done with the cold showers I remembered from two years ago. My guesthouse has warm water, night and day. Yet whatever the luxurious benefits that even a low-budget traveler can afford in Leh, I'm a bit nostalgic to the town I remembered from last time. Maybe it's the heath, maybe it's because I'm more critical on this second visit or maybe it's because I'm here for work, but I can't seem to find the tranquility and rest the I encountered here before. Yet right when I was ready to give up, running from one appointment to another, clear my way through groups of tourists and noisy taxi's, it struck me: it was still there, that Leh of mine. I realized how nice and warm everybody in this town still is, offering cookies and cups of tea, inviting me to discuss politics, take me along on trips. I noticed how everybody greets each other with a warm, honest smile. “Yullaj!” I decided to go for a walk. From the Shanti Stupa I followed the canals back to Leh town. And there it was, Leh as I had imagined it: the cobbling rivers and the green fields, the spring water, the fresh vegetables, the beauty of the Sankar Stupa, the colors of the praying wheels. Children were playing between the trees, laughing. “Yullaj,” they yelled, barely looking up from their game. Back in the hotel, the owner greeted me with a welcoming smile. “How are you? Are you good?” The sun set behind the mountains, and a cool breeze lightened up the air. Shop owners laughed light-heartedly “How are you doing Miss?” The smell of masala and sizzlers, tea and soup zwierf through the air. A boy was scrubbing a last pair of sheets on the small river bank. Leh changed, and yet it didn't.

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Current Affairs CONTINUOUS DISCONNECT

Ladakh in stone age, literally!

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adakh is increasingly becoming a preferred summer destination for thousands of tourists from India and abroad. Leh town and some other important places in region become a hub of cultural exchanges for brief while every year. Destination is though charming but the facilities are not at near a bare minimum to offer comfort to even the local inhabitants, leave aside the tourists. In recent months, thousands of people visiting the place have gone through disappointed by the poor and inefficient services of the electricity and the telecommunications in Leh. This is indeed an embarrassment for the State Government and the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council before all the guests coming from every nook and corner of the glob and the country. The services provided by the BSNL and the power development department in Leh in about two months have been frustrating, embarrassing and annoying. Every other day the internet and telephone services, particularly those of BSNL, are out of order on one account or other. Most often cited reason is breakage of Optical Fiber Cable (OFC) line due to the execution of widening of Leh-Srinagar highway. Availability of internet services is a lifeline for all tourism related business and also for thousands of domestic as well as foreign tourists, but even after days of internet disconnection and network problem with mobile phones, concerned authorities seem unconcerned. However, when it comes to the billing part of the BSNL, it doesn't spare anyone. There is literally no compensation for the loss that consumers suffer on account of an unreliable system. According to the Telecom District Manager, BSNL Leh the frequent disturbances with the internet and the mobile network are being caused partly by road widening works and partly because of floods at

some place on the Leh Srinagar road. Regretting the poor services of the BSNL, the Deputy Commissioner Leh Tsering Angchuk Leh told Epilogue that he was aware of this situation which has been causing immense inconveniences to all. “I have taken the issue with all concerned authorities at all levels for immediate redress”. The next important thing without which life in today in a city comes to a standstill is the electricity. Very disappointingly and annoyingly the power scenario in Leh in the last two months has been too depressing because people, especially in the tourism industry, had to experience frequent power cuts. Justifying the frequent power cut, the executive engineer, PDD Leh says, “A part of the machine was broken with the Martselang Hydel project. The part has to be brought from Delhi,” adding that efforts are being made to restore the machine to ensure a smooth power supply. It is pertinent to mention here that in the month of July alone Leh had many dignitaries including the Vice President of India, some Union Ministers, the Chief Minister of the State and many others coming to host national and international conferences on some important topics. They must have been aware of the difficulties being faced all people living in and around Leh. Had they been told of these problems, they would have preferred to address them first before lecturing of visions and policies for future. Henceforth, apart from their visits to the famous tourist destinations including the Pangong lake and the monasteries in Ladakh, mitigating of inconvenience being faced by the public should also be included in the agenda of all the VIPS visiting Ladakh – which seems to be missing agendas of the VIPS otherwise. -TSEWANG RIGZIN

Ladakhi girl represents India in Finland Ice Hockey Camp

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woman Ice-Hockey player named Padma Chorol of Spituk village, who is a student of the Moravian Mission School Leh in class 9, represented India in the international Women Ice-Hockey Development camp held in Finland in July. Based on the previous performances, The Winter Sports Club Leh and the Ice-Hockey association of India had selected her to represent Indian in the camp. On her return to India, Union Sports Minister MS Gill hailed her

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performance and announced an amount of rupees 75,000 for her to successfully represent the country in an international camp. On her return to Leh on July 15, members of the Winter Sports Club, students and staff members of the Moravian Mission School, villagers of Spitik and Padma Chorol's relatives along with her parents accorded a warm reception in her honour at the Bakula Rinpochey Airport Leh.

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Dalai Lama spends nine days in Nubra

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is Holiness the Dalai Lama after delivering sermons to the devotees at different places of Nubra during his nine-day tour flew back to Dharamsala on July 28. Earlier on his arrival in Leh on June 21 he was according a rousing reception Thoise Airport at Nobra in this district. According to the reports received from Nubra, a large number of people were seen queued up along the road side in all the villages from Thoise Airport to Samstan-ling Gonpa to pay respects to Dalai Lama. Clad in colourful traditional dresses the people showered petals to His Holiness the Dalai Lama in a very devotional and cheerful ambience. From Thoise Airport, His Holiness the Dalai Lama was brought to Samtanling Gonpa in a big motorcade. While arriving at Sanstan-ling Gonpa, His Holiness the Dalai Lama was given rousing reception by His Holiness Galdan Thi Rinpochey, Norboo Gyalson, Executive Councillor, Art and Culture Tsering Angchok, Executive Councillor Minority Affairs Mohammad Khan, Councillor Stanzin Delex and Councillor Deskit Tsewang Rigzin, Monks, Nuns and a large number of men and women of the nearby villages

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poured in to have darshan of His Holiness and listen to His sermons. His Holiness the Dalai Lama was also given ceremonial reception by the Lamas of Samstan-ling Gonpa, playing religious symphony and also by the local musicians in a traditional way. After his nine-day tour, His Holiness was seen off at the Thoise Airport by the Executive Councilor Art and Culture, Tsering Wangchuk, Deputy Commissioner, Leh Tsering Angchok, MLA Nubra Tsetan Namgial, Thiksay Rinpochey, President LBA, Lobzang Rinchen, President LGA Rev. Tokdan Rinpochey, SDM Nubra, Pankaj Sharma and the prominent people of Ladakh. The Deputy Commissioner Leh, Mr. Tsering Angchuk said that His Holiness the Dalai Lama was quite pleased and satisfied on his 9-day successful tour in Nubra valley. The Dalai Lama has committed to visit Leh and Lalok-Durbuk next year, he added. The State Government had provided the State Aircraft to airlift the Dalai Lama from Nubra to Dharamsala.

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PEACE WORKS

International conference facilitates dialogue between Muslims, Buddhists

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rue to the basic character of Ladakh as a tolerant and peaceful society, two organizations recently took a major initiative of building greater understanding and peaceful relations between Muslims and Budhists. An international conference on Buddhist-Muslim Dialogue, held at the Mahabodhi Campus at Choglamsar, was organized by the Mahabodhi International Meditation Centre (MIMC), Leh in collaboration with Global Family for Love & Peace and Museum of World Religions, Taiwan. The Minister for Tourism, Nawing Rigzin Jora who inaugurated the conference said that “religion is a code of conduct for the human beings to lead a peaceful life and therefore, every individual should know the fundamental principles of religion to live and let live others in peace and harmony”. Terming the conference a great initiative to ensure peace among co-exiting religions, the minister of State for Tourism, Nasir Aslam Wani expressed that need of such dialogues as harmony is disturbed in many parts of the world. Recalling the history of congenial relationship between the Buddhists and the Mulims of Ladakh,

Gyalwang Drukchen Rinpoche emphasized the need to maintain this tradition further by respecting each other's faith. The Dharma Master, Hsin Tao, founder, Museum of World Religion and President, Global Family for Love & Peace, Taiwan, the Member Parliament Ladakh, Mr. Hassan Khan, Prof. Ruben Habito from USA, Prof. Michael von Brueck from Germany, Moalana Umair Ahmed Ilyasi, president All India Organization of Immams of Mosques, New Delhi, Ven. Tokdan Rinpochey, President Ladakh Gonpa Association, President, LBA Mr. Lobzang Rinchen, President Moin ul Islam Leh Mr. Nazir Khan, Dr. Siddiq Wahid, Vice Chancellor, Muslim University J&K and representative from Immamia, Leh Mr. Syed Naqisha also spoke on the inaugural function. The President Mahabodhi International Meditation Centre, Leh Ven. Sanghasena highlighted the main objectives of this conference and said that is Dialogue was a part of an on-going series of worldwide discussions and joint meetings aimed at bringing together influential representatives of these two great religious traditions.

JEWELS OF THE MOUNTAINS

Biodiversity resource kit for educators in Ladakh

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i Gyancha - a biodiversity resource kit for educators in Ladakh was released by Union Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh in Leh on July 10, 2010. The release took place at a national conference organised by Defence Institute of High Altitude Research (DIHAR) on seabuckthorn. The Minister commended the efforts of the Snow Leopard Conservancy-India Trust (SLCIT) based in Leh and Kalpavriksh (KV), a Pune based organisation, which has produced the resource kit. Ri Gyancha (Ri Gyancha translates as “jewels of the mountain”) is an outcome of a collaboration between SLCIT and KV to develop and implement a conservation education programme in Ladakh, focused on the conservation of wild biodiversity of the local transHimalayan region. The resource kit has been produced after four years of field-testing the education programme in schools in Leh and Kargil districts.

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Ri Gyancha provides useful resource material for educators who wish to implement a localised environment education programme. The kit contains a handbook with information on Ladakh's wild flora and fauna, threats that Ladakh's wildlife faces as well as conservation actions that are being undertaken by communities, government departments, NGOs, associations and individuals. The kit also contains detailed descriptions of 80 activities which can be conducted as part of the programme. The kit is illustrated with a large number of photographs and drawings and is in full colour to make it appealing to teachers and children. The kit includes ready-to-use educational material like posters, a board game, worksheets, puzzles and game cards. The Chief Minister of the State Mr Omar Abdullah and the His Holiness the Dalai Lama have both written forewords for Ri Gyancha.

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RS 7138.81 LAKHS OUTLAY FOR KARGIL

INTERVIEW WITH NEW DC

Akhoon, Kachoo ask officers to pace up development

Electricity to every house is my priority: Angchuk

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s 7138.81 lacs plan outlay was Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC), Kargil for the current fiscal in a General Council meeting held on July 21 under the chairmanship of Chief Executive Councilor, Kachoo Ahmad Ali Khan. Out of the total allocation, Rs. 5938.81 lacs have been earmarked as state share and Rs. 1200.00 lacs as loan component. Minister for Transport and CA&PD, Qamar Ali Akhon, MLA Zanskar Feroz Ahmad khan, MLC Kargil Syed Ahmad Rizvi, Executive Councilors Haji Ghulam Amir, Ghulam Rasool Nagvi, Syed Kazim Sabere, Punchok Tashi, Deputy commissioner and CEO LAHDC Kargil M Raju were present in the meeting. On last year's achievements, Deputy Commissioner M. Raju said that an amount of Rs.8111.52 lacs were allotted under the District plan,, of which an amount of Rs. 5561.06 lacs were spent on implementation of various developmental schemes and welfare programmes in the district. He said the main reason for low expenditure was due to early snow fall that cut short the working season. Highlighting the achievements registered during last year, Raju said 28.90 KMs road length were black topped, 88.64 KM length Mettled/Shingled and 112.36 KM made fair weather. He further said that Rs. 289.88 lacs were utilized on completion of Phosathang Canal besides boys hostel at Bemina Srinagar was also completed. He informed that 26 new irrigation schemes were taken in hand under district plan. He disclosed that under PHE sector 35 hand pumps were installed. He also highlighted the targets achieved under Health, Education, Power, Social welfare, Agriculture, and other allied sectors. Addressing the meeting Chief Executive Councilor Kacho Ahmad Ali Khan asked the executing agencies to strive for completion of target both on physical and financial with a fixed time frame without compromising with quality. He impressed upon the officers to personally monitor the development works and implement the programmes and policies of the Government as per set guidelines. In his address Transport and CA&PD Minister, Qamar Ali Akhoon asked the HODs to work with dedication and endeavour to come upto the expectations of people. He also complimented LAHDC, Kargil and district administration for their sincere efforts towards boosting development of the district and assured full support of the Government.

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After a gap of many years, a local officer has returned as District Development Commissioner cum Chief Executive Officer of Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council in Leh. Tsering Angchuk recently replaced Ajit Sahu as DC Leh. In an interview to Epilogue, Angchuk says being a local he sensitive to issues and is fixing up priorities accordingly. A Ladakhi officer taking over as the Deputy Commissioner cum the Chief Executive Officer Ladakh

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Autonomous Hill Development Council Leh raises the expectations of everyone in Leh. What are your priorities and what do you want to achieve for the people of this unique region during your tenure as DC Leh? My first priority is to get the electricity situation improved all through the district in the coming few years because in today's time it is the electricity which enables us to compete with the rest of the world. I want to see all unelectrified villages electrified. The Nimo-Basgo Hydel project is going to be commissioned in the year 2011-2012 but this project alone will not meet the requirement of the electricity to many remote areas. One of the turbines of the Alchi project is going to be commissioned by the December this year. But this will be subject to whether BHEL will be able to design the turbine by then. One turbine alone is estimated to produce 10 megawatts of electricity. Recently the Government of India has sanctioned an amount of rupees 473 crore under Ladakh Renewable Energy Initiative for Ladakh region. Under this project in Nubra and Nyuma Sub Divisions, many Mini Hydel Projects will be installed which will produce enough electricity to those villages which will be not be covered by the Nimo-Basgo Hydel project. The project Ladakh Renewable Energy Initiative will be executed through the Ladakh Renewable Energy Development Agency (LREDA). LREDA is empowered to execute projects up to two megawatts. Besides the installation of MHPs, the project Ladakh Renewal

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Energy Initiative also has the provision of Solar Photo-Voltaic (SPV) power plants, solar water heating system, solar cooking system and green house facilities. We are going to install SPVs in Primary Health Centers, religious institutions, higher secondary schools and residential, hostels. Another priority sector for me would be to connect all the villages with road connectivity which have been left out. Villages like LingshedDipling, Largyap and Hunder are still not having road connectivity.

industry. There are acute shortage of parking space and public conveniences. We need to develop infrastructure in the areas which have been opened for tourism very recently. I am aware of the problems we have in Leh city. For the time being we have planned to develop old SSP residence area into a parking to minimize the load in the market. Traffic management is something we need to focus on because a systematic traffic management will considerably lessen this problem.

There are hundreds of educated unemployed youth in Leh. What will be strategies to tackle the growing unemployment problem of Leh? Employing the unemployed is something that needs to be tackled seriously before it is too late. In a recent interview for fours posts in the medical department, there were 110 candidates. This is alarming. There is very good potential and scope going for industrialization but it depends upon surplus of power. As the power scenario in the district improves, we need to encourage youth to become entrepreneurs by setting up industries of different kinds. Ladakh has a high potential of sea buckthorn produces. Experts say that Seabuckthorn can have over 200 products. This is a goldmine and such a avenue can drastically reduce the growing unemployment as youth, especially women, can be engaged. We have seen that Ladakh is becoming a famous destination for tourism. However, Leh city doesn't seem to be having the carrying capacity to meet this growing

Leh district has formulated a vision document called “Ladakh Vision 2025�. This ambitious document was launched by the Prime Minister in the year 2005. What your view on this? Leh is perhaps the first district in the State to come up with a prestigious and innovative document. Keeping in view Ladakh's limited resources, fragile ecosystem, and unique cultural and historical backgrounds, a vision, a roadmap was the need of the hour. Now we need to move ahead as per the concept, on what parameters we have to go.

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Any measures to check corruption if there is any? Anybody, having a complaint against any official, can simply file an application under Right to Information (RTI). In Leh where there is a Hill Council, every councilor is equally responsible to keep a vigil on the system and therefore they should act as watchdogs. - TSEWANG RIGZIN

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Angmo reviews MSDP activities

Lord Budha's rare statue discovered in Kargil village

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nder Rural Development Department, 40 nos of Model Anganwadi building at a cost of Rs.86 lacs was constructed during last financial year and 15 model Anganwandi Centre are under constructions during the current financial year. This was revealed in a meeting chaired by Spalzes Angmo, member National Commission for Minorities, to review the multi sectoral development programme. It was informed in the meeting that works on 32 hand pumps are in progress and eight numbers of hand pumps have been completed during the current year under MSDP, a centrally sponsored scheme. Spalzes Angmo assured that she would take up the matter regarding release of funds under MSDP with the Union Government and also recommend the State and Centre Government to redress the problems face by the executing agency and the administration. The Deputy Commissioner, Leh Tsering Angchok while giving the overall activities and expenditure under MSDP in the district directed the Executive Engineer, PHE to complete the design of Solar water pump for the residential schools of the district.

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o the excitement of all followers, a rare stone statue of Lord Budha has been discovered in a village in Kargil. Incidentally, the beautifully carved statue based on Montek Padma (lotus flower) with the dimension of 3'-5” in Height 1'-7” in width and 7” in thickness, was discovered from the entrance gate portion of the house of Muslim resident in Tsangra-Gongma village of Kargil district. The house owner Mohammad Issaq son of Haji Mohammad Hussain Barcha-pa, was undertaking renovation of his house when he came across thus statue. As the news of this rare discovery spread, hundreds of people from neighboring areas started thronging Tsangra village to have glimpse of the statue. Mohammad Issaq meanwhile reported the matter to local authorities and the statue was handed over to safe custody of Police. A Sub Inspector of Police Chowki Sangkoo, Mohammad Nissar and head constable Ali Hussain have contributed in a big way for its proper preservation under Police protection. Their action has been widely appreciated by the locals. The matter was meanwhile brought to the notice of Archives and Archeology department in Srinagar and on instruction of Director Archives, the local Registering Officer in Leh visited Tsangra village for inspection of statue. He held a discussion with the house owner and now it is being worked out whether the statue is to be preserved in Kargil or shifted to Leh. The house owner, his relatives and other people in locality have suggested that the statue be taken to Leh as its preservation in Tsangra village may invite some mischief in future. As such, it shall be in the fitness of things to take the charge of the same in the Archives, Archaeological Department, Leh under the relevant Act and thereafter to transport it with due decorum to the Leh museum for fool proof and complete protection and also for public blessings and also they are demanding some compensation are financial assistant to the owner.

NOTICE The Registration Certificate of Ladakh Amchi Sabha, Leh has been lost/misplaced at Leh and is not traceable. The Society is applying for a duplicate copy of the Registration Certificate. Objections, if any, from any quarter may be brought into the notice of the Registrar of Societies, Department of Industries & Commerce, Srinagar or Ladakh Amchi Sabha, Leh within a week’s time from the date of this publication. Phone: 01982-250827

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ladakh in focus

Statistical Profile

Fishing

Literacy

There were 232 and 123 fishing licence holders, respectively in Leh and Kargil in 2006-07. This number declined to 20 and 50 in 2009. At present there are 13026 fishery licence holders in J&K.

ª Leh district accounts for an immpressive literacy rate at 75.42% - 69.97% for males and 72.77% for females. These figures are as per estimated literary rate by districts for year 2009. Estimated literacy rate in Kargil is 61.82% - 68.07% for males and 56.58% for females. Overall literacy rate in J&K is estimated at 67.89% - 74.96% for males and 59.71% for females.

Agriculture Leh Kargil J&K

Forests

O

nly 36 sq km of total 59146 sq km area of Ladakh region in under forest cover 29 sq km in Leh and 7 sq km in Kargil. This is only 0.6% of the total geographical area of the region and only 0.18% of the total forest area in J&K. J&K has 20230 sq km area under forest cover which is 19% of total geographical area of 101387 sq km (Data excludes area under illegal control of Pak, China)

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Net Area Irrigated

Net Area Sown

%age of NAI/NAS

Gross Area irrigated

Gross Area Sown

%age of GAI/GAS

10212 9751 308044

10212 9751 734003

100 100 41.94

10619 10614 463179

10619 10614 1133935

100 100 40.85

Holdings ª Leh accounts for 16909 (area 12791 ha and size 0.75) and Kargil 19470 (area 13392 ha, size 0.69) operational holdings. There are 1442894 operational holdings in J&K over an area of 962412 hectares and average holding size of 0.67 ha. ª There is no rice production at all reported from anywhere in Ladazkh region. No maize in produced in Leh 2634 ha in Leh and 1764 ha in Kargil is under what production during Rabi season producing 23300 and 15200 qtls, respectively of what. No wheat, however, produced during Kharief. ª A total of 5018 ha in Leh (301 Rabi, 4717 kharif and 4495 in Kargil (571 Rabi and 3924 Kharif) under cereals production producing 1793 and 3169 qtls, respectively of cereals during Kharief and 27104 qtls and 31434 qtls, respectively, during Rabi. ª There is 306 ha in Leh in 547 in Kargil under pulses cultivation during Rabi season accounting for production of 1392 and 4183 qtls, respectively.

Fruit Production 6650 hectare area in Leh and 5550 in Kargil is under fresh fruit production. In J&K 1474850 hect6are area is under fruit production. 110 hectare area in Leh and only 12 hectare area in Kargil is under dry fruit production. In J&K 158283 hectare area is under dry fruit production. There are no fruit grower cooperative societies in Leh while Kargil has 4 with total membership 59. In whatever little quantity, Ladakh mostly prodcues Apple ( ) pear (-) and appricot ( - )

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ladakh in focus Statistical Profile

Scheduled Castes

Scheduled Tribe

T

here are 188 persons in Leh and 89 persons in Kargil listed as Scheduled Castes which is 0.5% and 0.12% respectively, of total population of individual districts 7.59% of total population in J&K is listed in SC.

ª 82.09% population of Leh and 88.32% of Kargil in listed an Scheduled Tribes. 10.90% of total population in J&K is ST.

Deecadal Population Year

Leh

Kargil

J&K

1951 1961 1971 1981 1991 2001

40484 43587 51819 68380 90076 117232

41856 45064 53472 65992 89334 119307

3253852 3560976 4616632 5987389 7837051 10143700

Livestock

L

ª There are 113 villages in Leh and 129 in Kargil district. J&K has 6652 villages. 12 villages in Leh and 4 in Kargil are with population of less than 200 persons while 41 and 48 respectively have population between 200 to 500 each. 681 villages in J&K are with less than 200 population. ª Leh is reputed to have 38776 main workers and Kargil 38330. Thee are an estimated 19349 marginal workers in Leh and 17315 in Kargil.

eh accounts for 4.03% and Kargil 2.55% of total livestock in Jammu and Kashmir. There was total of 3.991 lakh in Leh and 2.520 lakh livestock population in Kargil in 2003 which is 57.93% up and -30.58% down, respectively, over the livestock population counted in 1997. Interestingly, overage household livestock population in per Ladakh 17 in Leh and 15 in Kargil is much higher than any other district. For overall J&K this is 6. Jammu and Kashmir had 98.993 lakh population in 2003 which was 7.89% up 1997 count.

Population by Sex Population Rural Leh Kargil J&K Total

Area 45110 14036 101387

Total 88593 108650 7627062

Connectivity ª Leh has a total of 54 small and big post offices while there are 52 in Kargil. Average area per post office in Leh is 835.37 sq kms and in Kargil it is 269.92 sq km. Average population catered by each postal office in Leh is 2541 persons which is 2685 in Kargil. There are a total of 1691 post offices in Jammu and Kashmir 227 in urban areas and 1464 in rural areas. At an average, each post office in state covers 60 sq kms of area and 7021 persons.

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Male 46534 58120 3977652

Population Urban Female 42059 50530 3649410

Total 28639 10657 2516638

Male 17772 6835 1383274

Female 10867 3822 113364

Cooperative There are 107 registered cooperative societies in Leh and 106 in Kargil. This number is impressive of seen in context of overall cooperative scenario in Jammu and Kashmir Leh accounts for 6.22% and Kargil 6.16% of all cooperative societies in state. Average membership of each coop society in Leh is 93 persona and in Kargil it is 670 which at state level it is 343. Functioning patterns are however, strange. While owned funds of all coop societies in Leh are Rs. 471.13 lakh in Kargil it is only Rs. 3.06 lakhs and their working capital is Rs. 621.30 lakh and Rs. 18.46 lakh respectively. Owned funds of all coop societies in J&K are 2909.74 lakhs and working capital Rs. 28515.70 lakhs.

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Column

History

Historiography in Kashmir PROF JIGAR MOHAMMED

H

istoriography was one of the most effective and popular medium of intellectual exercises of the world during medieval period. The Arabs. Persians and Central Asians made the historiography a source of discovering themselves and others in terms of their achievements and failures from the 7th century onwards. But the science of historiography was absent in the Indian sub-continent before the 12th century. It was Kashmir which invented the science of historiography during the 12th century A.D. Kalhan was the first historian of Kashmir who produced first historical work entitled the Rajatarangini. It is important to mention that the historiography's first and foremost component is the source of information from which a historian derives information pertaining to the theme of his or her work. A writing which does not mention the source of its information is not a history writing. Kalhan was the first writer who established the method of using the sources of information pertaining to various historical event concerning with the past and present. Kalhan wrote his Rajatarangini in A.D.1148-49 in the Sanskrit. It is edited and translated by Sir M.A. Stein. It is known that Kalhan was the son Lord Campaka, a very capable minister of King Harsha (1089-1101) of Kashmir. Kalhan presents his work in form of the narrative poem. He covers the historical events of Kashmir from earliest times to

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the 12th century A.D. Kalhan collected information from the popular traditions, Nilmatapurana, Kshemendra's Nrpavali, Helaraja's Parthivavali, the Chavillakara, the Mahatmyas and inscriptions etc. He has used these sources very meticulously. According to Romila Thapar, one of the most expert modern historians, “Kalhan's use of inscriptions as source material is a strikingly original element in his historical writing. He refers to inscriptions found in temples, the prashastis (eulogies) on past kings, the inscriptions referring to grants, mainly of land of revenue, made by earlier rulers. The reference to inscriptions in itself is not what is so important as the fact that he uses the information they contain as a legitimate source of history.� (Romila Thapar, 'Historical Ideas of Kalhan as Expressed in the Rajatarangini' in Mohibul Hasan (ed.), Historians of Medieval India, Delhi, 1968, pp.1-2). The introduction of the historiography by Kalhan gave a concept of regional identity to the Kashmiris. The latter started dialogue between their past and present and assessed themselves in the light of the historical events in the past. Kalhan's historiography created the time consciousness in Kashmir. It provided information about the stages of social changes in Kashmir period-wise. It is important to mention that Kalhan mentions both the mythological and

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historical versions of the origin and growth of Kashmir in terms of historical geography, political developments and socio-economic life. For Kalhan, before human settlement in Kashmir it was a lake. It was drained by Kashyap Rishi and became fit for habitation. Similarly, Kalhan traces the emergence of kingship in Kashmir from the Mahabharat period. He mentions Gonada I as the first king of Kashmir, a contemporary of the Mahabharat period. Kalhan's historiography established a tradition of preservation and propagation of the people making the history of Kashmir in multidimensional forms. Kalhan records both the indigenous and outsiders who participated in the history of Kashmir in a given period. Kalhan makes Kashmir as part of the Mauryan empire under it emperor Ashoka (B.C. 273-232). Ashoka is credited with the foundation of the city of Srinagar and the founder of the Buddhism in Kashmir. Kalhan presents Ashoka as the promoter of the Buddhism in terms of the building Stupas. Kalhan,s depiction of the rule of Ashoka and his son Jaluka also made Kashmiris aware of the rule of others in Kashmir. Moreover, he presents Kashmir to be known to the world, since outsiders worked politically as well as socially. Kalhan also apprises the Kashmiris of the religious changes in Kashmir during the ancient and early medieval period which created multi-

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Column History

colours society in terms of the followers of the diverse religious trends. The Nagas, a popular cult of Kashmir, the Brahmanism and the Buddhism are presented in forms of religious changes in accordance with the people's inclinations. Similarly, he also shows the existence of the fatalism in Kashmir society. He ascribes the occurrence of famine to the will of the gods and prayer of the queen as the source of the removal of the miseries of people. His mention of the witch-craft in Kashmir shows people's superstitious believe. Through putting these beliefs in historical manner Kalhan contributes to spread a message of social changes as a continuous process of the history of Kashmir. He also establishes that Kashmir incorporated new religious trends either emerged at local level or came from outsides. His historiography conveys people that religious changes were inevitable in a given society from the ancient period onwards. More importantly, it speaks of Kashmir's tradition of accepting changes as the historical developments and welcoming the new trends. The introduction of historiography by Kalhan made it possible for the Kashmiris to estimate their political capacity and strength of their region in a given period. They also found the prime movers of the history of their own state. Kalhan ascribes the stability and strength of the state to those rulers who believed in huge territorial aggrandizement. He highlights the significance of the huge conquests of King Lalitaditya –Muktapida (A.D. 72553), belonging to the Karkota dynasty. He is not only described as a conqueror of many states of the north, south and east India, but also as a conqueror of Tibet and some parts of the Central Asia. Kalhan gives huge credit to Lalitaditya for appointing some

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intelligent persons in his court. Lalitaditya is shown to be provider of opportunity to the persons of multiple background, virtually making Kashmir as a region of multi-culturism. Kalhan mentions that one of the most intelligent courtiers of Lalitaditya belonged to the Central Asia (Tukhara), known as Cankuna. The description of the conquests of Lalitaditya shows the assertion of the armed power of Kashmir and its participation in the world trend of the warfare. More importantly, it also presents the Kashmiris' vision of world, according to which, though whole world was inhabited by the persons of different

He raised the stone-house of Jeshtarudra and bestowed many villages and lands to it. He also planted a series of machines at Chakradhara to draw water from the Vitsta. Also he raised a strong wall of stone round the temple of the sun. ethnic backgrounds, all could be brought together by a statesman and strategist like Lalitaditya. Thus the historiography introduced a concept of the empire building with the inclusion of multi-identities. Kalhan's historiography associated a warrior with construction and justice. According to Kalhan, “There was not a town or village, or island, or river, or seas, where he (Lalitaditya) did not raise triumphal monuments. These monuments he named according to the event or the time. When he set out on his expedition, he felt certain of conquest and built a town named Sunishchitpur, or the “City of Certainty”. When in his pride of conquest, he built another named

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Darpitipura, or the “City of Pride,” in which he set up an image of Keshva. And when his conquest were over, and he was enjoying the fruits of his victories, he raised another city which he named Phalapura (Phala signifies fruit or effect). He completed Parnotsa and built a house for amusement named Krirarama, the name indicating the purpose of the building. In the kingdom of the females he set up an image of Nrisingha-unsupported by any thing but placed in the air between two loadstones, one above and one below. When he was out in conquest, is viceroy built a town after the king's name, but he incurred the king's anger. In the town of Lalitpura, there was an image of the sun, to which he bestowed the city of Kanyakubja with the adjoining lands and villages. At Hushkapura he built an image of the god Muktasvami and built a large monastery with a stupa for the Buddhists. He set out on his conquest with one koti (ten millions) of cirremt cois. On his return he bestowed eleven kotis to Bhutesha for his purification. He raised the stone-house of Jeshtarudra and bestowed many villages and lands to it. He also planted a series of machines at Chakradhara to draw water from the Vitsta. Also he raised a strong wall of stone round the temple of the sun. He erected a town adorned with vines, and for the spiritual benefit of the people, and bestowed it with many villages to god Vishnu.” (Kalhan, Rajatarangini,I Eng. Tr. by Jogesh Chunder Dutt in Kings of Kashmira, pp. 70-71). Kalhana conceives a ruler to be visionary. His historiography establishes that though both the liberal and bigot rulers were the parts of history, it was the liberal and visionary ruler who made not only the history of his own, but also made parts of the history of his own kingdom. For him, Lalitaditya was very

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much respectful to both the Brahmanism and Buddhism. Kalhan narrates the contributions of Lalitaditya to the building of both the Hindu temples and Buddhist monasteries in a very lucid manner. According to Kalhan, “He built a beautiful town named Parihaspura. Here he set up a silver image of Vishnu, named Shiparihasakeshva, and another gold named, Shrimuktakeshva, also an image of Mahavarsha, the mail of this last image being made of gold. He also set up a silver image of Govardhanadhara. He planted a single piece of stone fifty-four cubits high, on which was planted a banner, on the top which he set up an image of Garura. He likewise built a temple of Buddha, which had a square court-yard, also a chaitya, and a monastery. The image of Muktakeshva was built of eighty-four thousand tolas of gold, that Shriparihasakeshava was built of eighty four thousand palas of silver. The image of Buddha which he set up was built of eighty four thousand prasthas of brass. The monastery which had a squire court-yard and the chaitya, were built for eighty-four thousand pieces of the current coin. The rich king built gods of gold and silver by the side of the great gods of the country.� Kalhana's historiography set a trend of publicizing the constructive activities of the rulers so that society was to be mobilized in the same direction. Along with the ruler's constructive activities Kalhan also highlighted the constructive activities of other persons hold some political power. Kamlawati , the queen of Lalitaditya , is also shown as a rich person and the builder of a silver of image of Lord Vishnu. Chakramardika, another queen of Lalitaditya has been shown as a founder of a town named Chakrapura with seven thousand houses. Thus through historiography

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Kalhan presents women of Kashmir as the participants in socio-economic developments of the region. The political powers of the queens of Kashmir such as Sugandha and Didda are narrated by Kalhan in such a way as they made history for themselves. The Sanskrit historiography of Kashmir not only produced a biography of the region of Kashmir, but also the adjoining states and other contemporary regions of India and foreign countries find some space. Some of the important areas of Jammu hills such as Rajouri, Punch and Kishtwar etc. are presented by Kalhan with their historical events. Kalhan mentions Rajouri as Rajapuri and Kishtwar as Kashtwata. Through his history writing Kalhan established that a region was not surviving in exclusive term. But it was very much associated with the others. He established that the history moved around the multiidentities of a region. His narratives show that the political, religious changes in Kashmir were usual phenomena. He has shown that the historical changes took place in Kashmir in a very usual manner. The Nagas, Shaivites, Vaishnavites, Buddhist and some others emerged and grew in different phases. All these cults found their own followers in the region. Similarly, Kalhan shows that dynastic changes in terms of political power were also took place in continuous processes. No dynasty was everlasting in terms of retention of its rule in Kashmir. The Karkota, Utpala, Gupta and Lohara dynasties of Kashmir contributed to the political, social and economic developments in Kashmir. But common people of Kashmir did not identify themselves to any particular ruling dynasty. The dynastic changes did not influence the work culture in Kashmir. For the common people, dynastic changes were just transfer of

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power from one dynasty to another. They identified themselves more with their socio-economic problems than the ruling dynasties. However, Kalhan established that historiography created a mingling of diverse thoughts, religious and lingual identities. He has shown that both the centripetal and centrifugal tendencies were parts of history of a region. Similarly, both the constructive and destructive elements were parts of the history of a region. But a region flourished in a popular manner when the constructive elements outnumbered the destructive elements. And these constructive elements belonged to multiple backgrounds. Uniformity was not the popular and dominant historical trends of Kashmir. Kalhan shows that both the king Lalitaditya and Awantivarman (855-83) belonged to two different dynasties of Kashmir, former from the Karkota dynasty and later from the Utpala; but both of them brought huge dividends for Kashmir in terms of economic developments, promotion of the art and architectures and social justice. The emergence of historiography in Kashmir made people conscious of their regional identities. They not only realized the significance of historical sources in knowing the phases of the social changes at regional level, more importantly, they made history writing one of the most effective means of preservation and promotion of the heritage of the region. It is important to mention that Kashmir is one of the few hill states of India which historical heritage are well documented in historical terms. The local crafts and craftsmen represent their regional identity in various parts of world with a sense of historical pride. Thus the historiography has been instrumental in making dialogue between past and present in a continuous process.

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Ladakh Festival SEPTEMBER 1 - 15, 2010

EVENTS:

Polo matches -----Thanka Exhibition -----Archery festivals -----Chams (mask dance) -----Music Concerts -----Road Show -----River Rafting

BY AIR: Major Airlines offer daily flights from Delhi. BY ROAD: 473 kms from Manali via Rohtang Pass and 434 kms from Srinagar via Zojila Pass. INTERNAL TRAVEL: Variety of comfortable vehicles available on fixed hire charges apart from public transport by bus/minibuses. Department of Tourism Leh 01982-252297. website: www.jktourism.orgf


AUGUST 2010