The Eerie NGO Phenomenon in Kashmir

“Conflicts have always allowed very suitable ecosystems for Non Governmental Organisations or NGOs to flourish in. Embroiled with armed insurgency for about two decades now, Kashmir has attracted a plethora of organizations. But going by the numbers, the region seems to have become a heaven for NGO activity.”

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By Parvaiz Bukhari

(This article was first published by The Honour Magazine, April 2010, (pg. 16-20).)

Kashmir as an Integral Part of India.  Cartoon by Mir Suhail Qadiri
Kashmir as an Integral Part of India. Cartoon by Mir Suhail Qadiri

Conflicts have always allowed very suitable ecosystems for Non Governmental Organisations or NGOs to flourish in. Embroiled with armed insurgency for about two decades now, Kashmir has attracted a plethora of organizations. But going by the numbers, the region seems to have become a heaven for NGO activity.

There is no central register for the NGOs operating here, no guidelines or any overt accountability. Various estimates put the figure of existing NGOs up to 16,000. Apart from the office of the Registrar of Societies, NGOs are registered for various non-profit activities as trusts and voluntary groups in the district courts. Besides, many NGOs from across the country operating in Kashmir are not registered here.

All you need is five persons and a draft of bylaws along with a declaration of supposed objectives that is then registered in any district court where no count is maintained.

Just what is this huge mass of NGOs doing and who are the people who run them? What is the real intent and incentive for this NGO boom in a region that is still considered business ‘unfriendly’? Where is the funding coming from? A superficial enquiry reveals a dizzying range of unclear activity bordering on subterfuge.

Government employees, close relatives of bureaucrats, politicians, well-off families and people who have been a part of counter insurgency think tanks, run a number of NGOs in the Valley. Kashmir Foundation for Peace and Developmental Studies (KFPDS) run by a former militant commander, Firdous Sayeed Baba alias Babar Badr, has been on the scene for many years now. Babar and four other former militant commanders were the first to enter into dialogue with New Delhi in 1995. He is also known to be very close to the former Intelligence Bureau (IB) chief A S Dullat, who for many years earlier and during NDA regime served as New Delhi’s point man on Kashmir affairs. Continue reading “The Eerie NGO Phenomenon in Kashmir”

Declaration of Thingamajig

Animator Mark Fiore on Obama’s linguistic derring-do.  (via Rae Abileah)

Barack Obama holds forth on the legality of various conflicty thingamajigs. Take a closer look at Libya, Yemen and Pakistan after the president delivers his address on Afghanistan and Iraq. A Mark Fiore political animation.

Howl

Allen Ginsberg on Pacifica Radio radio reading his banned poem “Howl” followed by a discussion with publisher Lawrence Ferlinghetti.

An interview with graphic artist Eric Drooker who has produced a graphic novel based on his friend Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl”. The full text of the poem is over the fold.

Download program audio (mp3, 47.85 Mbytes)

Few poems have been as celebrated or reviled as Allen Ginsberg’s ‘Howl,’ which was penned in Berkeley at the height of the Cold War, andwas the subject of a famous obscenity trial against publisher Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Renowned painter and graphic novelist Eric Drooker speaks about his friend Allen Ginsberg, whose poem he has animated, and discusses why ‘Howl’ still can’t be read in full on the radio today.

Allen Ginsberg and Eric Drooker, Howl: A Graphic Novel Harper Perennial, 2010
Continue reading “Howl”