Thursday, August 19, 2010

Kashmir. Let's Talk.

[EDIT : Waiting esp. for response to Point 4. Please contact. Thanks.]

So... The 'situation' in J&K has gone from bad to obscenely terrible in a period of two months. Death toll of unarmed protesters nearing 60 (or has it crossed already?), most victims of bullet shots from the CRPF and other 'security forces'- above the waist, below the damn waist, who cares. Not a single tangible action from the State/Indian Govt to admit the wrongness of what has occurred. No restraint orders, no pulling up of guilty personnel, no apology to the people even? Oh, hang on, sorry. We have to wait about 20 years for an apology or anything like it.

Anyway, am planning a big post on my take on Kashmir.

Off the top of my head, I'll get into the following: [EDIT: Below points are a way ahead. How the problem ought to be solved. The detailed post will make clearer where I'm coming from.]
1. Kashmir is a political problem, NOT a religious one.
2. Unfortunately, a lot of people (who make the most noise as well) WILL make it a religious issue.
3. Is this communalising of Kashmir its biggest tragedy? Yes. Thank you, Britain, for the Partition and the never-ending mess you unleashed. (Let's blame them!)
4. I am really, really interested in talking with with serious, level-headed, non-combative Kashmiri Pandits - about everything. Get in touch with me, please?
5. Kashmir cannot be compared to Indian states, because it is a completely unique issue.
6. Non-Kashmiris who have not lived here REALLY have no idea, as well-intentioned as you may be.
7. Elections: 60% voter turnout in recent elections does NOT indicate acceptance of  Indian statehood. Ugh. Ask me, I voted. And now my neighbourhood has good roads, yay. How about this: people need a local administration to run things well for a change - that's schools, colleges, hospitals, roads, electricity, water and what have you.
8. Plebiscite? Where is it? Oh, yes.
9. YOUTH: Get together. Sanely. Please. So far, everyone's made a mess of things. Let's get organised and talk.

Incidentally, here's one book I read years ago: Tavleen Singh's 'Kashmir: A Tragedy of Errors'. Can't comment on it intelligently, I was too young to critique. All I remember is it was interesting.
Here's Vinayak Razdan's take on the book. (His blog is much too interesting, I say. Recommended.)

Oh, one more thing about the Kashmir problem: Books won't help much.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Help Pakistan Relief Ops

"Sorry for the late," as Pakistai actor Nadeem said in some bad movie, but here's a compendium of links for helping with the Pakistan flood relief efforts.
Please assist in whichever way you can by visiting this page.

It's been an over-busy month (natural disaster-wise) with the Leh tragedy, the China landslides and now Pakistan's increasing grief. The worst bit is the very lackadaisical global aid response to #pkfloods. The scale of human tragedy notwithstanding, people just aren't moving fast enough to help in this case.
As per Lyse Doucet of BBC World News: Pakistan relief official puts it like this." '05 earthquake affected 3.2mn, 1mn tents distributed. #pkfloods 12+ mn, 100,000 tents." (sic)
Boston Big Picture gallery here (above pic from that gallery- as brilliant as it is horrifying).

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

GiveIndia - Leh Relief

People living anywhere in the world can reach out and help the victims of the Leh floods through GiveIndia - a secure online donation website. Here's the link.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Help in Leh

Pic and back story here.

For all those of you who have just chanced upon this site, and would like to help in the Leh relief operations, here are bank details you can use.
Beneficiary Name : Flood Relief Fund AMI Leh
Account Number : 0069040100027906
Account type : Savings
Bank Name : The Jammu & Kashmir Bank Ltd.
Branch : Leh – Main
The Rotary International is also assisting in relief operations. Leh's Rotary Club falls under District 3070. RI Distt 3070 can be contacted via their egroup on Yahoo.
The Rotary District 3070 eGroup is moderated by Rtn DGN Upkar Singh Sethi of Rotary Club Amritsar South and can be reached at

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Yeah, We Page 6 Types...

Meaning, BB, friends and I went to friend's awesome restaurant Olio (highly recommended by the way) in Koramangala, Bangalore, the other day and this is what happened...

Yusss. We got featured in one publication which probably no one reads, and we were on Page 6. The horror and cheap thrill of it all was too much. *fist pump*

Please note my awesome tee, custom made in Ladakh to signify that BB and I rode Enfields on our recent trip. BB has a similarly awesome one, but in a different colour.

Just so you know, BB saved a copy of the paper, and so did I. I specifically asked for it at BB's hotel lobby. We will now show it to everyone we know and STILL attempt nonchalance.