Introduction to Blog

I launched the website and the Blog after having spoken to government officials, political analysts and security experts specializing in South Asian affairs from three continents. The feedback was uniformly consistent. The bottom line is that when Kashmiris are suffering and the world has its own set of priorities, we need to find ways to help each other. We must be realistic, go beyond polemics and demagoguery, and propose innovative ideas that will bring peace, justice and prosperity in all of Jammu and Kashmir.

The author had two reasons to create this blog. First, it was to address the question that was being asked repeatedly, especially, by journalists and other observers in the U.S., U.K., and Canada, inquiring whether the Kashmiri society was concerned about social, cultural and environmental challenges in the valley given that only political upheaval and violence were reported or highlighted by media.

Second, the author has covered the entire spectrum of societal issues and challenges facing Kashmiri people over an 8-year period with the exception of politics given that politics gets all the exposure at the expense of REAL CHALLENGES that will likely result in irreversible degradation in the quality of life and the standard of living for future generations of Kashmiris to come.

The author stopped adding additional material to the Blog once it was felt that most, if not all, concerns, challenges and issues facing the Kashmiri society are cataloged in the Blog. There are over 1900 entries in the Blog and most commentaries include short biographical sketches of authors to bring readers close to the essence of Kashmir. Unfortunately, the 8-year assessment also indicates that neither Kashmiri civil society, nor intellectuals or political leadership have any inclination or enthusiasm in pursuing issues that do not coincide with their vested political agendas. What it means for the future of Kashmiri children and their children is unfathomable. But the evidence is all laid out.

This Blog is a reality check on Kashmir. It is a historical record of how Kashmir lost its way.

Vijay Sazawal, Ph.D.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Saving Manuscripts - Government Wakes Up!

The J&K Academy of Art, Culture and Languages (JKAACL) takes the charge

J&K govt launches Mission Manuscripts

Jammu: The Jammu and Kashmir Academy of Art Culture and Languages has launched a "Mission for Manuscripts", to help catalogue and preserve rare manuscripts from all parts of the state in Jammu, with an objective to save the valuable cultural inheritance of Jammu and Kashmir ~ an area threatened by prolonged armed conflict.

The pilot mission by the premier body in J&K for promoting art and culture in the state, will collect data on manuscripts housed in a variety of places, including shrines, temples, matthas, madrasas, monasteries and private collections.

Mr Zaffar Iqbal Manhas, secretary, state, J&K Academy of Art Culture and Languages, stated that the “Mission for Manuscripts” project will catalog the state’s ancient documentary wealth and ensure that basic conservation practices are followed to halt their rapid decay.

Mr Manhas said the main objective of the project is digitalisation, microfilming and cataloguing of J&K’s manuscripts, using the latest available technology to hit the global scene. He added that the academy has the largest repository of manuscripts in Northern India, with an estimated 20,000 texts in dozens of languages. The academy will involve writers and religious scholars in this adventurous hunt for ancient volumes, in the hope that the "Mission for Manuscripts" will not only increase expertise on the manuscripts, but also generate cultural sensitivity.

“Our researchers have found rare ancient Sanskrit, Tibetan, Arabic and Persian treatises on such subjects as diabetes, astrophysics, interpretation of dreams, surgical instruments, concepts of time, and the art of war. We want to catalogue and preserve these documents for all generations to come. After the hunt, the academy will promote and facilitate research and scholarship based on the manuscripts and the wealth of knowledge that lies therein," Mr Manhas continued.

Under this mission, JKAACL is looking to improve access to the manuscripts, generate awareness on cultural inheritance, and encourage the use of manuscripts for educational and research purpose and lifelong learning.

(The Statesman)

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