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.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Basharat describes Cultural Academy's efforts to keep Kashmiri folk theater alive

(Mr. Syed Basharat, 29, was born in Kreeri, Baramulla, and did his schooling in Kreeri, and later in Uri and Sopore. He graduated from the Degree College in Baramulla and completed his Master's degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from the Kashmir University in 2005. He has been a reporter for Kashmir Images, a Srinagar based daily, London based website Gaashonline.Com, and a Srinagar based journal, Globe. Currently, he is working as a special correspondent with Jammu based daily newspaper, The Kashmir Times.)

Academy keeps cultural panorama alive in Valley

The cultural activities particularly in Kashmir valley came to a standstill ever since the conflict commenced in this state. At a time, when the government departments had become defunct and government officials inaccessible, it was the state academy for art, culture and languages (AACL or cultural academy in short), which played a pivotal role, keeping cultural panorama in a trouble torn valley, alive.

Distinct from the rest of the country, Jammu andKashmirsports a multifaceted, multicolored and unique culturalblend. Kashmirregion of the state has its own musical performances that have won the hearts and minds of most of its visitors. Bhand Pather, a traditional folktheatrestyle exhibiting combination of play and dance assumed tremendous significance. It is a satirical style where social traditions and evils are depicted and performed in various social andculturalfunctions.

Band Pather was the worst hit by turmoil among traditional entertainment formats of Kashmir. And here came in the cultural academy, which played a significant role in boosting and keeping this traditional style of depicting ground realities alive. Performed by a group of 10 to 15 artists in their traditional style accompanied by light music for the entertainment of people, the brains behind this format have been successfully able to penetrate deep into the minds and souls of Kashmiris.

It is very popular with the common masses, because they have remained its sole patrons to date. Pather, in Kashmiri language means a drama, while Bhand is the performer or actor. The Bhands normally dont have any ready made or pre-decided theme. The performer shows his ingenuity by improvising according to the situation and the material available. No stage property or green rooms are required. The music instruments used in Jashan comprise Surnai-a Kashmiri version of the Indian Shehnai, big Dhol and Nagara, Peshrao.

Secretary cultural academy, Zaffar Iqbal Manhas, while talking to Kashmir Times said, We are starting a series of Bhand Pather and it will commence from district Kupwara in coming week. We are particular about enriching and preservation of this traditional format.

No comments: