Tuesday 30 June 2020

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 182 of 2020


I could've quite easily missed today's entry. So scrappy has been the internet service of late.

Monday 29 June 2020

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 181 of 2020


The flu has subsided somewhat but a headache has taken its place. Pain builds endurance. 

Meanwhile, I thought the following programme went quite well:


Sunday 28 June 2020

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 180 of 2020


I have really been 'under the weather' since yesterday....a nasty flu has gripped me and isn't letting go just yet.

I couldn't forsake the weekly programme on JKTV though:


Earlier in the day we gave advance notice of an impending programme on Sharda tomorrow:


Saturday 27 June 2020

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 179 of 2020


File work is very lengthy, tedious and cannot be utilised or measured by others until it takes final shape. 

When it gets categorised according to subject and is made available online, search-able by category or keyword.

As it stands, my online work to date is not even 10% of the total work I have done.  

In an environment where the merit of research is almost non existent and where visible public activity on the ground gets far more attention; this makes my task subject to a form of double jeopardy of sorts.

Visible public activity can raise emotions or sentiments momentarily but organised/referenced/categorised research will eventually make the necessary difference at the negotiating table. It will also be increasingly useful for our future generations.

Thus, the equation is a tough one:

More public activity will mean less time for research. The former attracts public assistance despite its short-term utility whereas the more pain staking and time consuming work does not attract public assistance despite its long term value and necessity.


Friday 26 June 2020

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 178 of 2020


I have so much to write, especially about the neighbour to my immediate West.


Thursday 25 June 2020

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 177 of 2020


I don't think I have done justice to this medium yet. The Daily Diary is still not accurately reflecting my experience. Far from it at times.

This is worrying me.....


Wednesday 24 June 2020

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 176 of 2020


I lost the opportunity to post for Day 175 of 2020 by just over a minute. I had been trying to post the aforementioned entry since at least 2330hrs and if it weren't for the erratic net service today, I would have been successful.

The rain did provide some very welcome reprieve and relief from the rising heat in the evening though!


Monday 22 June 2020

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 174 of 2020


Back in Dadyaal. The heat is a challenge and I'm already thinking of Sharda.


Sunday 21 June 2020

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 173 of 2020


I even managed to conduct our weekly programme live from near the LOC today!

A lot of attention is needed for various aspects of public interest, beyond the traditional sloganeering that we've been accustomed to.

It could almost be described as a do or die situation.

I consider it my duty to make as many of my co-citizens as aware as possible, in terms of what lies ahead.


Saturday 20 June 2020

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 172 of 2020


While still enjoying the open expanses of the LOC. minus the un-needed presence of Indian and Pakistani soldiers whereby both seem to be synchronised with each other, in contrast to the enmity both teach us, depending on which side of the LOC we reside in.

This has given me the much needed time to refine and organise my filework and also catch up on some much welcome alternative reading about the Indian partition in 1947.

I can gather from my experience that we as a society or polity haven't evolved much since then. We still base our public or political activity on what we can achieve personally from any anticipated change.

This only makes my job harder......and more difficult for all those associated with me in any way. Not least because my approach revolves around empowering my people as a whole, not enriching a few.


Friday 19 June 2020

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 171 of 2020


We moved even closer to the LOC yesterday evening. Amongst other matters of concern, a forest fire erupted yesterday on a peak facing us when our backs are turned away from the LOC. It engulfed all the peaks as far as the eye could see.

Almost 24 hours later, smoke is still emerging from various parts of the forest.

I'm not a particular fan of autocracy but we had a line of kings pre 1947 who treated the whole territory of Jammu Kashmir & Allied as their own personal property. One distinct advantage of that compared to the below zero governance of today was that they took extreme care of the forests and other natural resources.

You care for what you own is a natural inclination. Hence, the advocacy of Ownership Building Measures (OBMs) for the past decade in AJK.

Thursday 18 June 2020

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 170 of 2020


I ventured out towards the LOC yesterday morning in search of fresh spring water and open green spaces....

This is the first time I've ventured out of Dadyaal since early March.

I did obtain what I desired but I also got intermittent gun fire in my midst (between Indian and Pakistani soldiers), the near absence of electricity - at low voltage when available - and the total absence of communication networks.

I did climb up to a particular hilltop to obtain an internet signal yesterday evening but it was not to be.

I missed my diary input for only the second time this year thus (Day 169 of 2020).

Today I've had to improvise and I did so successfully!

Tuesday 16 June 2020

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 168 of 2020


Work on the People's Assembly is intensifying and simultaneously dealing with my co-citizens throughout the 32 subdivisions is no simple affair. 


One of our co-citizens has taken the initiative to create a Youtube channel named 'Talk with Tanveer'. Here's the first video:


Monday 15 June 2020

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 167 of 2020


Communicating with each other is very delicate and can be time consuming. You want your co-citizens to understand things to the extent of adding their atoms to a synchronised and representative collective struggle.

Many of us are working hard to make it to that bridge, where we all meet.


This cross LOC discussion on Sharda took place yesterday. Over the past decade or so of working on this civilisational pursuit I have understood that people to people contact is far more powerful and effective than the edicts of governments, which are usually slow in responding to public sentiment and have much more than they can give attention to, sitting on their plate:


Sunday 14 June 2020

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 166 of 2020


One gets so incensed when they hear of Pakistan's bold claims about AJK and GB when in actual fact all they are doing is basking in the glory of human rights violations in Indian-controlled Jammu & Kashmir. The logic they've been relying on is: an Indian negative equals a Pakistani plus!

These supposed pluses of Pakistan have made governance in this region so hollow and hypocritical that it has become so unbearable for many here. Take the example of this yet to be constructed University campus in Rawalakot:  

So, all this material has been lying here for years without any prospect of the University campus being built. Much of the construction material is also being siphoned off with the passage of time:


We've continued our weekly Urdu programme without hiccup so far.....continuing this weekly feature till the day I die will be a test of my stamina:


Saturday 13 June 2020

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 165 of 2020


Despite conducting this exercise of a daily diary for almost 2 and a half years now, whereby I've even succeeded in almost achieving a 100% strike rate (that is, inputting an entry on a daily basis) I still get tongue tied or rather suffer from writer's block once in a while. 

Today has been such a day.


Friday 12 June 2020

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 164 of 2020


Friday is my day off and all the bones in my body are relieved.....


Good to see that our artists are achieving some prime global exposure. More power to your pencil Malik Sajad of the Valley of Kashmir!


Part of my duty here is to help and encourage my co-citizens to write and communicate effectively in English, the lingua franca of the modern age in many senses. This can be time consuming and it inevitably entails neglecting other matters that are pending in public interest, momentarily at least. Here is one such example which I have edited and I hope other co-citizens also adopt this path, as we will find it difficult to communicate our rights struggle to the rest of the world in Urdu:


Strategic significance (for India Pakistan & China) and Chinese interference in the region

To understand the strategic and geographical importance of Ladakh, we will begin by briefly providing an introduction to the territory:

1) Ladakh

Ladakh is the Land of Passes (La = Passes & Dakh = Land) and is the largest in area among the three main regions of the Jammu & Kashmir State viz. Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. It has an area of 96,390 square kilometres (37,216 square miles)*. Until 1979 it was a single district before it was divided into 3 districts viz. Leh, Zanskar and Kargil.

The entire range is traversed by the North-West and South-East into Ladakh and Zanskar ranges, flanked on the North by the Karakoram Range and on the South by the great Himalayan range. The Indus River and its major tributaries; the Shyok-Nurba, Chang-
Chenmo, Hanle, Zanskar and Suru-Dras rivers drain the region. Glacio-fluvial processes aided by freeze-thaw weathering form the high altitude landscape of Ladakh.

Ladakh gained geopolitical significance in the 1940's due to partitioning disputes with Pakistan to the North and since the 1960s with China to the East. Historically, Ladakh was an independent kingdom from about A.D. 950 until 1834 when Hindu Dogras from Jammu (which is South West of Ladakh) invaded it. After the Dogras gained control of Kashmir; Ladakh and neighbouring Baltistan fell under the rule of the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir. Following the Indo-Pakistan war of 1947, the Baltistan region fell on the Pakistan side of the cease-fire line and the rest of Ladakh became part of the Indian controlled state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Today, geopolitically contested borders with Pakistan and China bind Ladakh. In the early 1960's a substantial area of Eastern Ladakh was annexed by China. Amidst increasing tensions between India and Pakistan, the Chinese invasion of Tibet in the 1950's was followed by their occupation of the Aksai Chin region of Ladakh in 1962. Consequently, Ladakh has become one of India's most important strategic zones. Its geographic location and border disputes with Pakistan and China have assured a firm foothold for Indian army presence since.

2) Climate

Ladakh has an extremely harsh environment and is one of the highest and driest inhabited places on earth. Its climate is referred to as a 'cold desert' climate due to its combined features of arctic and desert climates. These include wide diurnal and seasonal fluctuations in temperature, from -40°C in winter to +35°C in summer and extremely low precipitation, annually to the measure of 10 cm to 30 cm primarily from snow. Due to high altitude and low humidity, the radiation level is amongst the highest in the world (up to 6-7Kwh/mm). The soil is thin, sandy and porous. These combined factors explain why the entire area is nearly devoid of vegetation, with the exception of valley floors and irrigated areas.

The people of Ladakh living close to the international border have to deal with special problems arising out of their distinct geo-physical situation and concomitant socio-economic conditions.

3) Land

Ladakh in its relatively small area encompasses an enormous variety of landscapes, their difference being based primarily on the great range of altitudes.

Altitude differences entail enormous ecological diversities and these in turn affect the way people adapt to their environment. The  land surface can be broadly divided into the upper zone above 4,500 metres and the lower zone between 4,500 and 2,700 metres. About 74 percent of the land surface is in the upper zone. The land below this altitude has vast stretches of barren, rugged and rocky terrain interspersed by pockets of cultivation and a few natural pastures. Most human settlement is situated at elevations of 2,800 metres to 4,100 metres above sea level.

The soil in this territory ranges from gravely and sandy loams on the alluvial fans to sandy and silt clay loams on the flood plains of the Indus river.

Ladakh's soil is described as skeletal and calcareous with alkaline reaction. By and large the soil is coarse and sandy having varying quantities of pebble. The soils are characterized by low organic matter content and poor water retention capacity. The pH (measure of acidity) of soil ranges from 7.4 to 9.5. There is a potential problem of salinisation especially on the flood plains of the Indus river. The variety of soils in association with elevation and moisture availability suggests the need for an agro-ecosystem based diversified approach to agricultural development in Ladakh.

4) Socio-economic set-up

The primary social unit is at the household level, while religion is seen to be equally important. Hindi, Urdu and English are taught from grade I, while most speak Ladakhi with local variants. The Changpa speak a Tibetan dialect of Ladakhi. Leh's population is majority Buddhist and historically associated with Tibet, while Kargil consists mostly of Balti and Muslim Dards.

Nearly all activity is agricultural, with the exception of the large number of monasteries and the major regional trading towns of Leh and Kargil.

This is changing with increasing (Indian) national and international influence.

5) Culture

For centuries the area of Ladakh was home to a rich and self-sustaining culture. Lying on the edge of the Tibetan plateau, this region was always open to influences other than Tibetan. Central Ladakh was the bastion of Buddhism while Western Ladakh accepted the relatively newer religion of Islam and much of the culture that came with it. At the level of popular culture, Ladakh evolved its own highly distinct style. It has a wealth of oral literature, some derived from the ancient pre-Buddhist past of Tibet such as that based on the national epic; the 'Kesar Saga' while some seems to spring from the native genius of the people. This includes a corpus of folk songs reflecting every aspect of everyday life and yet rich in symbolism and imagery.

Ladakh's music has its own distinct flavour as does its dance, an essential part of Buddhist social life.

6) Agriculture

Historically, agriculture has been the mainstay of the Ladakhi economy. People have developed very specific agricultural adaptations in order to survive in this harsh terrain.
Through a complex network of irrigation canals and through ingenious methods of fertilising the soil, the people here historically produced more than enough food for their needs. Despite the increase in possible sources of income from other sources today - in the shape of government employment, military service and the growing tourism industry - the centrality of agriculture in Ladakh persists to this day.

The vast majority of Ladakhis are self-supporting farmers, living in small settlements scattered in the high desert. The average family holding is five acres though occasionally a household might have as many as ten. Optimum acreage is determined by the size of the family, roughly one acre per working member of the household. The principle crop in Ladakh is barley and about two thirds of the fields are planted with such while the remainder are planted with fast growing varieties of wheat.

7) Strategic significance in ancient times

Ladakh has great geostrategic importance since ancient times and the passes of this region connect some of the most politically and economically significant zones of the world like Central Asia, South Asia, China and the Middle East.

Ladakh is one of the most important regions of Jammu & Kashmir situated on the northern most point of the State. Historically Ladakh included Leh, Kargil, Gilgit, Hunza and Skardu. It was indeed a part of strategic Greater Central Asia since ancient times. For thousands of years the Russians, Chinese, Persian, Tibetan and Indian Empires fought over the passes of this region in order to dominate each other.

Geographically, at present Ladakh remains the second largest division in Jammu & Kashmir with an area of 59,146 square kilometres (22,836 square miles)** whereas Jammu has 26,293 square kilometres (10,152 square miles) while the Kashmir Valley has 15,948 square kilometres (6,158 square miles) of territory. The area under Pakistani administration consists of Gilgit Baltistan with 72,971 square kilometres (28,174 square miles) and Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK) with 13,297 square kilometres (5,134 square miles). Meanwhile, China controls the Aksai Chin part of Ladakh which it wrestled off India in 1962, an area comprising of 37,244 square kilometres (14,380 square miles) and it also entered into an agreement with Pakistan to obtain the Trans Karakorum Tract (Shaksgam Valley) of Gilgit Baltistan in 1963. This territory comprises of 6,993 square kilometres (2,700 square miles)***.  

8) Ladakh as a buffer zone

In mid-April (2020) a Chinese army unit of 30-odd troops crossed the Line of Actual Control (LoAC) into Ladakh (on the Indian controlled side) and put up their tents for the night.

This event - which was not an isolated incident - caused much consternation in the
Indian media and symbolises the mutual suspicion that both countries have towards each other. These sentiments of mistrust are expressed in the fact that both sides have been building up their military presence along the LoAC in recent years. Considering both countries are rising nations which share a 3,800 kilometre long border of which large parts remain disputed, there is concern that increased cross-LoAC tensions could become a source of potential instability.

Like India's struggle with Pakistan over Kashmir, the dispute over Aksai Chin is almost as old as India itself. The origins of this contention date back to the British Raj which failed to demarcate the border between its colony and China definitively. By and large, today's border issue revolves around two main boundary designs that had been put forward by the British. One of them, the Johnson-line places Aksai Chin under Indian control whereas the other, the MacDonald-line includes it in Chinese territory. However, none of these boundaries had ever been anchored in a binding bilateral treaty.

Hence, the status of the Indo (rather J & K) - Chinese border in the Western section at the time of Indian independence remained unsolved. With New Delhi using the Johnson-line as its national border and Beijing adhering to the MacDonald-line, Aksai Chin became a breeding ground for conflict. In the 1950's, after the People's Liberation Army (PLA) had annexed Xinjiang and Tibet, Beijing ordered the construction of a road to connect both regions. This road known as Highway-219, runs through Aksai Chin and it means that China had already started to take effective control of that area.

However, it was not until 1957 that the Indians learnt about the road. A proposal by Zhou En Lai to settle the border issue by recognising Indian control over Arunachal Pradesh and Chinese control over Aksai Chin was rejected by Jawaharlal Nehru. India's move for a forward policy to keep the Chinese forces in check and eventually push them out of Aksai Chin (which the Indians perceive as an integral part of Ladakh) was met with a Chinese military campaign that plunged both countries in a brief but bloody war in 1962, which ended in humiliation for India. Since then the MacDonald-line has been the de facto border in the Western sector.

9) Ladakh is Rich In Natural Resources

Ladakh is situated within the upper reaches of the Indus watershed, which in total supports about 120 million people in India (in the states of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan and including Jammu & Kashmir) and about 93 million in the Pakistani province of the Punjab (literally meaning 'The Land of the Five Rivers'). Careful management of water resources within Ladakh is therefore vitally important, not only for the livelihood of Ladakhis and the ecosystems of Ladakh but for the health of the whole river system itself.

Solar radiation also happens to be one of the most abundant natural resources in Ladakh, with annual solar radiation exceeding the averages for many areas of India with high insulation.

Another promising natural resource which marks Ladakh out in the Indian subcontinent is its geothermal potential. Surveys have identified geothermal resources at depths suitable for exploration and development. Some estimates suggest a potential of as much as 40
megawatts in Puga Valley (South East Ladakh). This resource could also be developed to provide grid-connected power to smaller settlements.

The presence of resources is what makes China, India and (possibly) Pakistan to struggle over Ladakh. Meanwhile, India and Pakistan remain in conflict with each other over Siachen while China and India battle over Aksai Chin in this region. Ladakh's geostrategic importance has increased in the backdrop of these conflicts.

10) Tourism in Ladakh

From trekking and mountaineering to Buddhist tours of various monasteries, Ladakh has it all. Popularly known as the 'Lama Land' or 'Little Tibet', Ladakh lies at altitudes ranging between about 2,743 metres and 7,672 metres. Interestingly, the thin air makes the heat of the sun even more intense than at lower altitudes. Thus, it is said that only in Ladakh can a man sitting in the sun with his feet in the shade suffer from sunstroke and frostbite at the same time!

11) Ladakh's geopolitical significance

In modern times, Ladakh assumed strategic significance with the rise of the British Empire in India during the 19th century. Maharaja Ranjit Singh of the Punjab helped establish Dogra rule in Jammu and Kashmir by recognising the strategic importance of this region. Gulab Singh emerged as the leader of the Dogras while being subordinate to Ranjit Singh. It was the former who further recognised the strategic importance of Ladakh and with the aid of his soldiers under the leadership of Zorawar Singh, embarked on a military campaign to Ladakh and after much trial and error (between 1834 and 1842) was able to conquer it.

After the fall of Ranjit Singh's empire in the Punjab in the 1840's, the British appeared to continue his policies in respect of these regions. Gulab Singh further expanded and consolidated his kingdom of Jammu & Kashmir by offering to pay 75 lakh rupees for reparations in the first Anglo-Sikh War that the Sikhs couldn't pay to the British.  

Later, many in the British Empire criticised themselves (or each other) for what they saw as a blunder when they began re-examining the great strategic importance of Jammu & Kashmir in general and Ladakh in particular. Moreover, the extension of Russian power into Central Asia during the 19th century ushered in the beginning of the 'Great Game'. The geostrategic importance of this region intensified for the British Government of India in the context of a European power reaching the North Western borders of their empire in India. The British in response increased their power in this region by establishing an agency at Gilgit and a commission at Leh.

Post 1947 on imminent British departure, geopolitical change happened once more in Ladakh when in due course large parts of the territory were occupied by China, India and Pakistan.

Post 1991 has seen the onset of yet another 'Great Game' and thus added geostrategic significance has emerged whereby Central Asia now has a relatively easier geographic access with and to this disputed region. It has almost become common knowledge that the interests of many different nations such as the USA, China, Iran, Turkey, Russia, India and Pakistan are to increase their access to the abundant natural resources of these Central Asian countries.  

Indeed, a country such as India would have geographical proximity to Central Asia only through this region as Tajikistan is a mere 20 kilometres from Gilgit Baltistan, which could also be considered as Greater Ladakh in some senses.

In addition to this immense resource potential and the growing tourism sector since 1976, Ladakh remains contested by the growing nations of China, India and (possibly) Pakistan. However, the various territorial disputes involving these 3 aforementioned countries have arguably hampered the infrastructural development of this region. Accessibility to and from the outside world is also troublesome.

The Chinese though have succeeded in accessing this region for themselves by constructing the Karakoram Highway through Gilgit Baltistan. Consequently, the distance between China and the Arab World which used to take months of travel, is now being covered in days.

It is also generally believed that the presence of NATO and a war like situation in Afghanistan has increased the importance of Ladakh (including Gilgit Baltistan) for China and this importance will continue to rise. The Pakistani incursion into Kargil in 1999, the Chinese presence in Gilgit Baltistan and the recent Chinese incursion into the Indian (claimed) part of Ladakh is testimony to this fact.

It should be pointed out though that the people of Ladakh do not want to see their land as a place of confrontation. Rather, they wish to see their undoubtedly geo-strategic land as a trade hub whereby cooperation rather than competition between various neighbours would lead to an anticipated rise in peace and prosperity.

The land of Ladakh should be envisaged as the land of connectivity, like it was in ancient times. It wants to enjoy the significance of being located along one of the many ancient silk routes that pass through this region. This would enhance the development of human civilisation as a whole as trade would develop culture, religion, philosophy and all other modes of creative thinking.

The passes of the Ladakh region connect some of the most politically and economically significant zones of the world including Central Asia, South Asia, China (East Asia) and the Middle East. Neighbours of the Ladakh region include China in the North, Tajikistan and Afghanistan in the West and Pakistan in the South.

It can be reiterated that the South Asian countries can reach Central Asian markets through this region. Countries like Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan are rich in uranium, cotton, oil and gas resources. In future, an oil and gas pipeline from Iran to China can pass through this mountainous corridor. India's energy needs can also be met by constructing a pipeline from Central Asia via this region as can the already proposed pipeline project of Tajikistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India pass through this region.

Meanwhile, China and India can also use this territory for energy connectivity. However, neither China nor India nor Pakistan show any such interest of cooperation in this region for what are perceived to be security reasons. However, it cannot be emphasised enough how the benefit of cooperation is highly greater than the cost of confrontation. In the age of globalization and interdependence, no country can survive alone. Every nation is dependent on each other and therefore one should look for means of cooperation and integration despite whatever political difficulties may be involved.

Positive development in this region will further lead to the positive development in relations between China, India and Pakistan. Ladakh could once again become the gateway to Central Asia.

Thus, the entire Ladakh region including Gilgit Baltistan needs to be perceived as a land of contact with three regions: Tibet in the East, Xinjiang in the North, Pakistan in the West, Afghanistan and Central Asia in the North West.

Let Ladakh the roof of the world be the roof for the meeting of different nations..

This article was initially researched, compiled and written by Khan Umair Khan
It was edited by Tanveer Ahmed @

*This figure includes the region of Aksai Chin, with China since 1962 and originally considered a part of Ladakh
**This figure does not include Aksai Chin
***The figures quoted for these 7 distinct regions make up the erstwhile Dogra State of Jammu Kashmir & Allied. They have all been taken from Wikipedia and do not correlate exactly to the figure of 222,236 square kilometres (85,806 square miles) often quoted by Indian sources. The disparity is likely because the 2 areas controlled by China have an element of being counted twice.



Thursday 11 June 2020

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 163 of 2020


This has been the most physically enduring week in living memory for me. 

I hope it gets easier here on but that can never be taken for granted....


I think this gesture will go a long way in repairing the mistrust that has emerged over the past 73 years between our 2 most prominent communities in Jammu Kashmir & Allied:


Wednesday 10 June 2020

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 162 of 2020


3 different exercises requiring an hour each per day every day for 6 days a week.

I've just about reached that milestone today.

Will the body build or break is almost similar to the question of Jammu Kashmir & Allied.

With Beijing, Delhi and Islamabad engaged, we need to return from New York to London.


Tuesday 9 June 2020

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 161 of 2020


Managing everything is a rough such a society...


Another statue of a British slave trader bites the dust:


Returning closer to home, here's a short video of women and children of our territory in (Dathote) Paachot, Rawalakot marching for a long standing demand in public interest. All they want is a metalled road but the local authorities have proved powerless in fulfilling such a basic demand:


Monday 8 June 2020

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 160 of 2020


Leaving it late once again. The heat is rising and life is no less hectic.


It took a long time for this to happen but the #BlackLivesMatter movement has certainly come home to what could arguably be described as its original source:

For those of you who can't read the FB caption:

The moment a statue of slave trader Edward Colston is pulled down in Bristol city centre during #BLMbristol

Also rolled down the street & dumped in the harbour...

Little History...

Edward Colston ran a company that shipped 84,000 kidnapped African men, women & children to the Americas - 19,000 of these are estimated to have died during the crossing.

Also it was dropped into the water under Pero’s Bridge - Named after an African slave brought to Bristol.

If that’s not symbolic I don’t know what is.


The following piece of news is very disturbing and signifies the first Kashmiri Pandit casualty in this needless conflict since 2003. Ajay Pandita was popular amongst his Muslim voters, many of whom travelled many kilometres and defied many of their co-religionists to vote for him as their sarpanch (local community level political representative). He had also returned from exile some years ago and put trust in his fellow citizens to keep him safe. Alas, he appears to have been murdered by some frustrated teenagers. 

This is the reverse of what we need. May the Almighty give his family patience and give us the sense to realise the damage we are doing to ourselves by committing these insane acts. We have a lot of hard work to do ahead:


One feels humbled to read about such events, even if one is relying on a colonial traveller to tell the tale. I also wonder if others have written on this event from 1863:


Sunday 7 June 2020

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 159 of 2020


I think Sunday will always be a busy day, for the rest of my life.


First of all, let's be aware of censorship in our midst. It does appear that the Indian government has blocked JKTV's Facebook page in most parts of India:

For those of you who cannot read the caption in the FB post above:

JKTV Facebook Page Blocked in India by Facebook.

Worldwide Protest against Facebook's censorship in Kashmir and JKTV page blocking on the request of Indian govt to kill independent Kashmiri Voices.

#JKTV the Voice of The Voiceless


From Indian repression in Jammu & Kashmir to Pakistani repression in the same:


This was also on the JKTV menu today and it couldn't be missed. Two legal stalwarts - both originating from Jammu Kashmir & Allied - one a 74 year old Kashmiri Pandit who retired as Chief Justice of the Indian Supreme Court while the other was a 87 year old former Chief Justice of the High Court in AJK.

Welcome to the thoughts of Markandey Katju and Abdul Majeed Maiik respectively:

Two observations:

In general, I agreed with most of what Justice Abdul Majeed Malik had to say as opposed to what Justice Markandey Katju had to say, except on 2 points.

1) The British were foremost responsible for the partition of India based on religious identity. Both the Muslim League and Congress were complicit in their own ways.

2) Azaadi or freedom cannot and should not be merely parroted for attention. There must a method, a narrative and a practical plan for governance that will provide our detractors a rationale for accepting our stance. 


Finally, it may be worthwhile to note that we have already reached our eighth week of a regular weekly programme (Every Sunday at 9pm AJK time) in pursuit of defining our internal narrative in AJK:


Saturday 6 June 2020

Friday 5 June 2020

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 157 of 2020


Friday is designated as a rest day but I have been summoned for yet another outing towards the peripheries of Dadyaal. 

I won't go though. Friday is my rest day from physical exertion as I am increasingly exerting myself for the other 6 days of the week.

I also need to develop on this thread as we gradually transition from public opinion research to economic research:

The above proposition is geared towards addressing the welfare of Pakistani society, which has suffered needlessly for the sake of Pakistan's doomed expansionist strategy in Jammu Kashmir & Allied areas. We have always held good intentions for our neighbours and want an end to this mutual destruction of the region. A seemingly intractable lose-lose situation for all concerned. 

For that, we need to transform this conflict economy environment to a peace economy environment. As the tweet above clearly suggests, we are willing to pay for this transformation.

One must bear in mind that this proposition is a form of income support for working people or those that are in a position to work but can't practically find employment. It would subsidise the earnings of those whose income falls below the threshold mentioned and those who are actively seeking work. Unfortunately, unlike some trolls and ill-intentioned propagandists (which Pakistan has too many of), this is not a blanket offer for every citizen of their country. 

It excludes the vast majority of people. 

For example:

1) Those under the age of 16.

2) Elderly/retired people.

3) Those whose income or assets exceed the threshold.

4) Women who are not active in the workplace.

5) Students and those engaged in other pursuits distinct from full time work.

Finally, it should be reiterated that this proposition is a goodwill gesture to transform the region into a healthy array of peace economies and encourage people to work and conduct business - increase economic activity essentially - and it is not designed as a free for all handout to make people even lazier then they may already be.

It should also be noted that the funds for this 'regional economic package' will come from the public treasury of the whole State of Jammu Kashmir & Allied and not just from AJK. It will be designed, monitored and executed by our own government and not simply handed over to the Pakistani State. We will - needless to say - afford these associated costs too. 

The package is clearly designed as a genuine incentive for demilitarisation. The Pakistani retreat will be in calculated phases while an alternative indigenously led security framework is put in place. This initiative will then open avenues for an Indian military retreat in a likewise manner. Consequent to which, discussions can begin to negotiate a Chinese military withdrawal.

This financial package is not intended for India or China as the context of their presence does not warrant such an initiative. The Indians entered when the Pakistani invasion provided that pretext to them, thus a Pakistani military withdrawal will cancel India's reasoning for its military presence here. Even if you study the UN template on this region, the emphasis on initial Pakistani withdrawal is a conditional feature of that mechanism. 

In short; given geopolitical, diplomatic and economic realities it is 'relatively' easier to make Pakistan withdraw from our territory compared to India and China. Given that they are our Muslim neighbours they should understand our point of view better than others and also understand that this is for their benefit. We deferred to them for 73 years and suffered even more than them for our blind allegiance, now it is their turn to listen to us, not blindly as we did but with very open eyes and ears. Likewise, it is relatively easier to make India withdraw from our territory compared to China.

Overall, we do need a global agreement to protect our neutrality and ensure that our territory is not used by any country to the detriment of any other country. We want to close the doors of conflict in our region and pre-empt looming water wars.

This applies to India and Pakistan as much as it does to China and America.


Meanwhile, the above Twitter post generated a far more energetic conversation on Facebook, where it was initially posted yesterday:


Thursday 4 June 2020

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 156 of 2020


I resumed football a few days ago after a lay off for over 3 weeks. When injuries occur at my age (48) they take a lot more time to recover than if I were a couple of decades younger. I notice that whenever I put my foot down and exert myself over a certain level, some ligament or muscle will give way. This means that I need to build my strength to a certain level before I could do all those things I would do on a daily basis over 3 decades ago.

In short, I've spent a lot of years away from football and am paying for it now.


Serendipity gives us the following portrait:


As activists in AJK, we must intensify our campaign to identify lame or destructive elements in our bureaucracy/admin part of the 'executive', which remains constant and unscrutinised unlike the politicians who campaign from one election to the next:


Daily Diary (DD) - Day 140 of 2024

2320hrs: Our 7 political prisoners in Mangla are on my mind foremost. It could be criminal if I return to Sehnsa without securing their rele...