UNESCO to step in for promoting Kashmir art, literature: Governor

By News Agency Of Kashmir

Jammu : The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is stepping in to assist Institute of Kashmir Studies towards the development and promotion of art, culture, literature and philosophy of Kashmir.

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Governor, Lt. General (Retd) S K Sinha said this while inaugurating a 2-day preliminary workshop on the Project of Writings and History of Kashmir Philosophy and Culture, jointly organized by the Department of Sanskrit, University of Jammu and Centre for Kashmir Studies, University of Kashmir at Jammu University campus here this morning.

He commenced his speech with a Sanskrit quotation from Hitoplest saying that just as glass in company of gold reflects gold and looks like that, the ignorant in the company of scholars become learned.

General Sinha, who is also the Chancellor of the two universities, elaborately dwelt on the glorious ethos and pluralistic way of life in Kashmir, commonly known as Kashmiriyat, and said this embodies the philosophy of amity, love, inclusiveness and tolerance among various communities. ‘This I saw personally when whole of the sub-continent was engulfed in communal holocaust in the wake of partition in 1947 and the Valley was free from any communal tension or communal violence’, he said, adding that he landed with Indian troops in Srinagar and was overwhelmed to see the mutual love and brotherhood. He had more to say on Kashmir’s ethos, “It is the most diverse State which has been a symbol of unity in diversty through the centuries”.

The Governor described India as a wider replica of pluralism and tolerance and said the great Indian civilization has survived and flourished at the strength of this ethos while all other ancient civilizations perished with the passage of time. In the words of Allama Iqbal, Unaan Miser-o-Roma Sab Mit Gaye Jehan Se, Baki Raha Hai Aab Tak Naam-oNishan Hamara’, he said while emphasizing that India has been a civilization State from ancient times. He, however, regretted the misinformation being spread about separate nation-hood of Kashmir, saying that some people display ignorance when they talk of Kashmir as a separate nation. Such misconception is against the facts’ of history, he said and elaborated that the City of Srinagar was founded by Ashoka the Great in 3 rd Century BC. Kashmir has always been a part of the Indian civilization and ‘historically, our moorings go back to the ancient times’. He maintained and maintained that Hinduism, Islam and Buddhism flourished in Kashmir with their Kashmiri flavour with variations from the rest of the world. He said the spirit of amity and brotherhood came about from the concerted preaching of Rishis and Sufis of the Valley. He also made a mention of the 3 rd Buddhist Conference that took place in Srinagar.

General Sinha expressed happiness over the joint venture of the Universities of Kashmir and Jammu in organizing the workshop, saying that this will further strengthen the integration of different regions within the State. Integration within the State is as important as integration within the Nation. Neither the integrity of the State nor that of the Nation should be allowed to break. He hoped that the Centre for Kashmir Studies will play a great role in maintaining integration and promoting knowledge besides dispelling darkness of ignorance.

Vice Chancellor, Prof Amitabh Mattoo, in his presidential address, emphasized the need for reviving multiple cultures saying that during the 20 years of conflict, violence and troubles, the understanding of multiplicity of cultures of over a century has been widely lost.

Professor Mattoo spelled three-pronged strategy for recovering these values by reviving ancient philosophical and non-violent traditions advocated, inter-alia, by Lala Ded and Nund Reshi, spirit of accommodation and tolerance besides the traditions of pluralism and inclusiveness. In this regard, he suggested compilation of the great works of philosophers and scholars for posterity to emulate.

The Vice Chancellor described that Kashmir was the only place which had indigenous Sufi traditions and hoped concerted efforts would be made to strengthen the rich bonds of amity and brotherhood. He said the partnership and collaboration between Kashmir and Jammu universities will be strengthened.

During the inaugural session, eminent scholar Prof Navjivan Rastogi from Lucknow University presented the key note address while Prof Mark from Italy and Prof Batina Baumer for Austria were the guest speakers. Prof M H Zaffar, Director, Centre for Kashmir Studies and Prof Ramnika Jalali of Department of Sanskrit, University of Jammu gave an overview about the seminar. Prof Kedar Nath presented vote of thanks.

The programme started with the lighting of the lamp by the Governor and the Vice Chancellor followed by Saraswati Vandna by the students of Army School, Domana. The scholars from India and abroad are participating in the 2-day workshop.