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, October 11, 2010

A City With Culture

Jammu city may be known for its temples, but Iqbal finds that it is also a city where painters found a welcome home

(Mr. Iqbal Ahmad, 48, was born in Parigam Chek, Kulgam. He is a graduate with Diploma in Numismatics, Archaeology and Heritage. He is an archaeologist, writer, and a cultural historian. He is employed by the Jammu and Kashmir State Government. Mr. Iqbal Ahmad has published 12 reference books on Kashmir archaeology and heritage.)

The City That Painted Wonderfully

Jammu city, the winter capital of the state, stands on the spur of a hill over looking the picturesque river Tawi.

It is about 1.030 ft. high from the sea level. The old city spreads over more than a mile, with a population of 15,71911 people.

According to a legend the city was founded by one Raja Jamboolochan, who is said to have lived in 9th century AD. No concrete record is available of its ancient and medieval history. Records are available of Raja Ranjit Deva, son of Raja Dhruv Deva who was a Dogra chief of a Rajput family. He proclaimed himself, the ruler of Jammu in 1730 AD. Maharaja Ranjit Singh of the Punjab came to power later, Nain Kishor Singh a descendent of Raja Dhruv Deva held an eminent position in his court. His son, Gulab Singh, rendered such distinguished service to Ranjit Singh that, in 1820 the principality of Jammu was conferred on him with the hereditary title of Raja. In 1846 Gulab Singh merged Jammu and Kashmir into one state under the Dogra rule.

Although Jammu has no such natural as well as human heritage as compared to Kashmir valley still there are few places in Jammu which has some historic and natural beauty. Jammu City it self is called the city of temples. There are number of temples scene in old city. The architecture of these temples is quite different from the temples of Kashmir valley. These temples are very much close to the temples what exist into the northern India. In addition to large number of temples there are number of Mosques, Gurdwaras and Churches, the Maharajas palace at its top in the north over looks the whole city. Other worth seeing buildings in the city are the old palaces (now known as the old secretariat), the New Secretariat across the parade ground with the Gandhi Bhawan and the Gulab Bhawan in close vicinity.

Jammu is the gateway to Kashmir valley. Visitors to Kashmir have to pass through the city on their way to or back from Kashmir. They usually spend a day or two here for the city has so much to offer. It is the city of Dogras that is why it is also called Dogra Desh besides Dogras there is a good population of Muslim. Gojares and Pahari people. In 1989 most of the Kashmiri Pandits who migrated from Kashmir valley settled in Jammu. There is a good population of Sikhs too. The city of jammu I rich repository of it distinctive cultural heritage, beide other heritage jammu and it adjoing area ha been famous for rich painting heritage. It ha produced glorious minature during it ancient period. The dogra art mueum and Amar Mahal Mueum houe a rich collection of thi heritage. Thee institution have got good collection of Baoli, Dogra and Kangra painting,

Basohli Paintings

Basohli paintings are among the great achievements of jammutie . The history says that Sangrampal 1635-73 son of Raja Bhupat Pal was a royal favourite in the court of Shah Jahan. During his stay at Delhi he came to known the Mughal artists and is stated to have encouraged some of them to move to Jammu. He is known as the founder of paintings Raja Amrit Pal (1757-76). The another Raja is reputed great lover of paintings.

The theme of love is prominent in the Basohli painting, besides the themes are taken from epics and Puranas, M S Randhawa, the expert gives the following description of Basohli painting, `they have vigour and the quality of frankness, vitality and vigour which is not seen elsewhere vibrant colours like yellow and red which the Basohli artists used so liberally seem to penetrate the eye and move the viewers deeply.

These paintings can be seen in the major collections of Dogra Art Gallery and Amar Mahal Museum at Jammu. These paintings are also Delhi and Srinagar Museums.
Dogra Paintings

The Dogra painting known also the Pahari school, produced the most charming and lyrical of the Rajput paintings. The style initially was founded in late 17th Century and it flourished in 18th Century and 19th Century under the patronage of Dogra Maharajas. This style was characterized by vigorous use of primary colours.

The principal subjects were seasonal `ragas’ or musical moods, epics and literature concerned primarily with Hindu methodologies. M. S Randhawa the expert says, `the Dogra school of paintings represented spiritual love by this carral love painted in most passionate colours and modes. Dogra paintings are seen at Dogra Art Museum, Amar Mahal Palace at Jammu and Pratap Singh Museum at Srinagar.

Wall Paintings

These are actually the Dogra paintings but have been done on walls of the Dogra palaces i.e. why these are called wall paintings. Their themes are same as that of Pahari miniatures. These wall paintings are seen are seen at Purmandal, Ramnagar Rangmahal Sui Simbli and some temples in Jammu city.

These all paintings need to be preserved on modern conservation lines so that the heritage is very well preserved for the future generations

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