Building a future of hope for J&K a collective endeavour: President

26 May 2008
The Hindu

Srinagar: Inaugurating the Institute of Kashmir Studies at the University of Kashmir here, Ms. Patil stressed the need for involving the youth in building a new Jammu and Kashmir. For achieving this goal, “the Institute of Kashmir Studies will provide a platform for scholars regarding ideas on pluralistic cultures and tolerant societies,” the President said. Lauding the people for managing to steer clear of the violence, she said it was now time to go in a new direction. Ms. Patil said Kashmir had a rich and vibrant cultural history and a tradition of learning and scholarly pursuit. “Its enchanting beauty has attracted thinkers and philosophers, seers and sages, kings and noblemen, travellers and traders, from far and wide. Through the ages, it has been a melting pot of ideas, which have been distilled into the finest traditions of learning, tolerance and cultural cohesion, whether it is Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism or Buddhism.” “The State has tremendous potential in horticulture, floriculture, handicrafts, tourism and IT, among others. Equally important is our determination to create a secure environment and to defeat the divisive designs of terrorists,” the President said. Governor S.K. Sinha, who is the brain behind the IKS concept, said the institute would promote the spirit of Kashmiriyat and strive to disseminate this message not only in South Asia but the world over. “The aim is to study Kashmiriyat in all its aspects of culture, literature, history and philosophy.” Mr. Sinha, while remembering his first arrival in Kashmir as an Army Major on October 26, 1947, said: “I witnessed the Kashmiriyat in action in Srinagar when I found National Conference volunteers maintaining order in the city. There was no communal tension and no communal violence.” Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said: “The cultural heritage of Kashmir beckons students and research scholars to unravel its richness and present it to the world. The setting up of the IKS is a right step in this direction.” In his message, UNESCO Director-General Koichiro Matsuura said the institute would undoubtedly make a unique contribution to the promotion of research and education in the region. Vice-Chancellor of Kashmir University Riyaz Punjabi said: “The Institute of Kashmir Studies has to undertake a focussed study on varied aspects of Kashmir, including its history, culture, sociology, and its great contribution to strengthening the Sufi-Bhakti-Rishi tradition of the sub-continent.” UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Madanjeet Singh, the former Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga, Afghan Minister for Women Affairs H.B. Gazanfar, Union Ministers Mani Shankar Aiyar and Saifuddin Soz, the former Chief Minister, Farooq Abdullah and Editor-in-Chief of The Hindu N. Ram were among the dignitaries present.