Degraded Kashmir

Degraded Kashmir

The captivating, pristine and mesmerizing beauty of the Kashmir is legendary. It has inspired poetry and captured the attention of all and the imagination of many. So much so the Mughal emperor Jahangir emphatically and eloquently stated that “If there is paradise on earth, here(Kashmir) it is, here it is”. But this stuff of legend and Kashmir’s beauty is waning by the day. Kashmir and the mystique that it evokes is gradually whittling down to a mere brand. This is as dangerous and alarming as can be. Brands work through brand association. That is, brands and branding do not usually take place in a vacuum. There is almost invariably some undergirding factor(s) that define brands. In the case of Kashmir, it is or, perhaps more accurately, was its resplendent natural and pristine beauty- majestic mountains and lush forests, streaming rivers and rivulets, gushing streams , lakes, ponds and so on. But , alas, these natural aspects and components of Kashmir’s beauty and nature and dwindling at a fast pace. The reasons pertain to bad, flawed and warped urbanization, bad public policy- conception, design, implementation and execution- politics of patronage, official malfeasance , apathy and corruption and various scams that have led to Kashmir’s overall deforestation and degradation. All this has impinged and affected negatively the natural ecosystems of Kashmir, creating almost a catastrophic set of conditions for these and broadly speaking , for Kashmir. This can only be ominous. Climate change coupled with the marauding of Kashmir’s environment, natural habitats , ecosystems, deforestation and other allied factors can dramatically alter Kashmir’s natural landscape. The brand that Kashmir is will become hollow and it will another run of the place or a “ wannabe” destination , in terms of tourism and tourist potential. Other places which have or do not have natural blessings of the kind Kashmir has, do their utmost to maintain, develop to a point where the natural landscape is either altered or developed aesthetically and in other related domains. But, alas, in Kashmir, all we have done is despoil and damage its natural beauty. The sad point is that despoliation of Kashmir is witnessed and observed on an everyday basis but nothing is being done to reverse the damage and , in the least, maintain our existing assets(natural). It is about time that alarm bells are sounded over the degradation of Kashmir and holistic, comprehensive, whole of system efforts are directed towards preserving and enhancing Kashmir’s nature and environment. Tomorrow might be too late!

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