The award acknowledges his efforts to restore peace and harmony in Kashmir.
For converting any effort into an achievement, it is essential to have commitment, sincerity, discipline, belief in oneself and the zeal to stand up to adversaries. The struggle gets all the more challenging when the effort is aimed at creating an atmosphere of goodwill, bridging deep wedges and creating pockets for peace. When the mission is Kashmir, the challenges may seem to be manifold.
Terror-striken valley has witnessed brutal bloodshed and a complete breakdown in Kashmiriyat with the forced exodus of the minority Hindus. In the three-decade old terrorism, minorities Kashmiri Pandits, Sikhs and others have been the worst sufferers and equal catastrapohic has been for the thousands of Muslim families who have lost their near and dear ones in senseless violence.
Working for Reconciliation
Satish Mahaldar was forced to leave his well settled home in Srinagar in 1990, struggled and reached a certain level in his professional life. He might as well have continued to remain contended with the settled life that he has been leading. But, the inner longing for his homeland Kashmir has made him take the plunge for peace.
Within no time he was able to connect to the people in the valley. Being a Kashmiri himself, it was very easy to strike the chord and more and more people started responding to his peace initiatives. He reached to all sections of the societies, like traders, professionals, civil society, religious leaders and politicians.
Reaching out was not difficult because all were speaking the same language of peace, all wanted to go back in time and live just the way Kashmiris used to live — with harmony, respect and discipline. It was this feeling that Satish Mahaldar was able to tap. And, in return he was showered with the same affection that Kashmiris are well-known for.
For Peace and Harmony
The valley is in dire need of balming and healing. It is usually seen that the healing always begins from within. And, when people like Satish Mahaldar initiate steps, the process for inner healing may as well have begun.
The Kashmiri society which has been torn apart because of the terrorism, is in dire need for peace and harmony initiaives between the majority and the minorities. Satish’s outreach has provided the much needed space for this.
The good response has resulted in the formation of the JK Peace Forum, which has members from the Muslim, Sikhs and Christians apart from Kashmiri Pandits.
This year on the occasion of Navreh celebrations, a successful event, Navreh Milan was hosted in the Sher-i-Kashmir Park Srinagar, which was the direct result of the efforts of Satish Mahaldar and his associates in the JK Peace Forum.
Taking up causes
For three decades, Kashmir has only been about terrorism, death and tears. Several issues were not being taken up and people were suffering.
*Revival of Sick PSUs
JKSRTC had become non-functional and its employees were also not being paid. Satish took up their cause and the corporation is now functional with buses once again rolling on the roads and the employees getting their due.
JK Cement — once the pride of the J&K, this PSU had become a total loss making venture and when it seemed that certain quarters in the government were trying to rally for privatisation, Satish Mahaldar raised the voice for the employees.
* Satish Mahaldar has also consistently raised the demand for having — Consumer Courts
— Information Commission (CIC)
— Accountability Commission.
*He has been advocating of the promotion of state art and culture, which due to terrorism is on the verge of extinction.
*For Kashmiri women — In conflict areas, it is the women and children who get affected the most. Kashmir, having been a witness to lot of terror violence has seen women suffer a lot. Satish Mahaldar has been seeking better educational facilities for the girls, separate toilets for girls in schools and colleges, especially in the remote and rural areas.
*For the Youth, Satish Mahaldar has taken up the cause of providing self-employment schemes. The most important is to focus on the young generation which forms a very large part of demography.
* Advocating religious pilgrimage and culture
Satish Mahaldar has been extensively working to promote religious tourism in the valley which abounds in ancient temples and shrines. He began the efforts in June 2016 onwards . when he organised a Yatra to Mata Kheer Bhawani Temple in Ganderbal. He convinced the then J&K government on this which extended full support. The government provided buses from Delhi and Jammu to Kashmir.
This year, a big event was planned for ‘Navreh’ and the Muslim majority aslo participated in the event.
Working for the displaced Kashmiris
Mahaldar has also been fighting for the rights of the displaced Kashmiri Pandits. He formed the Reconciliation, Return and Rehabilitation of Kashmiri Migrants, which has been taking up the cause with the Central government, UT government and all the political fora.
He has been consistently interacting with the government and has also submitted a plan to the Central and UT government to rehabilitate the displaced KashmiriPandits in the valley.
He also has submitted a proposal demanding allocation in the Union Budget for the return and rehabilitation of the migrants.
He spoke about the condition of the displaced Kashmiri Pandits at a convention of the United Nation human Rights council last year., where he stressed — why the persecution of Kashmiri Pandits is a fit case to be declared as Genocide.
Mahaldar has been fighting against the illegal sale of minority properties. In fact, it is Satish, who acted as a whistleblower and exposed the sinister nexus of government officials and non resident and local Kashmiris usurping the minority properties, Temple properties and earning huge profits.
Not just the Kashmiri Pandits, he has also taken up the cause of Sikhs , christens & other communities in Kashmir.
Stirring the Conscience
Within a period of 6 years, Mahaldar has been able to stir the conscience of people. His objectives include —
— help rebuild the composite Society that Kashmir was always, mobilise well-meaning and dedicated people to support the cause, create a professional organisation to take this cause forward, mobilise resources to fund the activities, and work on an actionable process to achieve the goal of ushering peace in homeland.
A dedication to build bridges and fill gaps to rebuild the punctured Kashniriyat is what Satish Mahaldar aspires for. For him, the belief is that the efforts done today can help shape the future tomorrow.
His initiatives are seeing a definite movement, though a small one at the moment. But the essential beginning has been made.