SRINAGAR: A DYING CITY

Streets of Srinagar have become dangerous – broken footpaths, missing signage, potholes. The road infrastructure is weak across the city. Not to talk of smart city, Srinagar is becoming an ugly city with mounds of garbage everywhere. River Jhelum is like a sewage drain of all the towns, cities and villages on its banks. The famous Dal lake is virtually in last throes of death. In its analysis Kashmir Monitor writes that the city known for its spaciousness and cleanliness has become a congested place, not fit for habitation.

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RESTORING THE GLORY OF DAL LAKE?

Governor (now retired) has sought fresh suggestions for restoring Dal lake. Inspite of spending crores of rupees on new machinery and plants, there has been no improvement. Lakes and Waterways Development Authority (Lawda) is responsible for this failure. But people living in the lake (in boats etc) and in settlements on the bank of the lake also contribute to its destruction, because all the sewage and drainage from these settlements go into the Dal Lake. The political parties played vote-bank politics, and allowed all the damage to be caused. Neither were High Court orders followed nor were people shifted to plots allotted to them. The result is that population of Dal is increasing and lake is shrinking and dying. The Daily Nida-i-Mashriq provides a detailed analysis of this phenomenon.

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PRESERVE THIS TREASURE

 The daily Greater Kashmir has drawn attention to the fact that Kashmir has lost 22 hectares of saffron land in two decades. Lack of irrigation at proper time has adversely affected the production. It is a sorry state of affairs and concerned government departments have to take measures to improve production. There is a need to come out with a comprehensive project to sustain the cultivation of saffron on the part of government.

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Skilled women: A distant dream in Kashmir

Bilal Dar

Kashmir is known for its unique handicraft production and has been a part of Kashmiri culture. This sector plays a vital role in income and employment generation. But it has been facing the challenge of industrialization and globalization. Handicrafts work is common in Kashmir and mostly females have learnt the handicraft skills. It can play an important role in women’s empowerment. But they need opportunity, with an environment to develop their talents. Moreover, education and training facilities are must.

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The less known Persian manuscripts

Iqbal Ahmad

Like Sanskrit records, many Persian MSS and documents have not been translated or maintained properly, writes Iqbal Ahmad. According to him after the decline of Sanskrit, it was Persian that was the official language. The people learnt it and was essentially useful for Muslims, to understand religious teaching. Many Kashmiri Pandits like Bhawanidas Kachru, Taban Ram Turki, Satram Baqaya, Aftab Bhan, Gobind Koul have made valuable contributions to Persian literature. But Persian has been neglected and it is not a healthy state of affairs. To understand philosophy and history in these Persian manuscripts translations should have been encouraged. All Sufi philosophy and rituals are preserved in this language which is a glory of Kashmir Culture.

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SELLING HERITAGE!

World Monument Fund (WMF), an organization dedicated to preservation of endangered architectural and cultural sites around world, had shown interest in Srinagar and Leh, writes daily Kashmir Images. It had shown its concern about preservation of Jammu and Kashmir heritage, saying that traditional structures built to survive earthquakes were suffering as a result of instability and conflict. But people here don’t seem to have any interest in their heritage, and WMP could not enthuse them. Tourism department had said that it would go for cultural mapping of Srinagar, so as to use WMF initiative in preservation of the cultural ethos of the old city. In practice nothing happened except massive loot in truck with some NGOs in the name of preserving city’s heritage.

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KASHMIR IN A HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE

Ashraf

 In a historical account, M. Ashraf writes that Kashmir has existed as an independent country since earlier times. According to him Kalhan’s Rajatarangini goes about 5000 years back to describe the kingdom of Kashmir. Greek Scholar Ptolemy, has included Kashmir in his geography. Hiuen Tsang, who travelled to Kashmir and wrote about it. Alberuni, who travelled with Mahmud of Ghazni, also wrote about Kashmir. Kashmir lost its sovereignty to Mughals in sixteenth century, and since then different conquerors ruled it. Now, the question is –  under the present circumstances will Kashmir be able to reclaim its nationality?  It could be a good solution if Kashmir is maintained as Free Economic Zone, with a political neutrality.

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THE CASE FOR KASHMIRI LANGUAGE

Shujaat Bukhari

 Kashmiri language has suffered because of state apathy, writes Shujaat Bukhari. According to him, it was introduced at the top level, i.e.; at the University without having a strong base. But now it has been introduced at elementary stage. The real challenge is from Kashmir society itself. It is an irony that the people appear to be reluctant to embrace their own language. We must have to ensure that Kashmiri embraces the language as a bond of their identity.

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SAVING SHARDA: A SHARED DEMAND

Shujaat Bukhari

 Supreme Court of Pakistan administered Kashmir has  directed the government to protect the revered Hindu Sharda Temple near LoC in Neelum Valley. The senior Kashmiri Journalist Shujaat Bukhari writes that the temple was known as highest seat of learning in the region. The present petition has been filed by Delhi- based ‘Save Sharda Committee’, but two previous petitioners had been Rehmantallah Khan and Ghulam Nabi Shah. It  is located on the confluence of river Madhumati, River Neealm (Kishenganga) and Sargun. Its construction features are similar to that of Martand Temple (8th century) of Kashmir. Sharda temple is also known as Sharda Peeth, a centre of learning and Sharda Script is associated with this place. Sharda script originated  in Kashmir between 7th and 8th centuries and was extensively used in upper South Asia.

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REVIVING PILGRIMAGE TO SHARDA TEMPLE IN PAK

Kashmiri Culture

(Image Courtesy Shehjar.com)

Kashmir, in the local folklore was called Sharapeetha – seat of learning. The most revered Sharda Temple fell on the other side of line of control in Pakistan administered Kashmir depriving Kashmiri Pandit Community from visiting the temple. Recently the Save Sharda Committee (SSC) Kashmir has urged New Delhi to start a dialogue with government of Pakistan for restarting pilgrimage to Sharda temple in Pakistan administered Kashmir, reports daily Greater Kashmir.

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