Farooq Defines ‘Kashmiriyat’

23 March 2009
The Hindu

New Delhi: The former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Farooq Abdullah, on Monday defined “Kashmiriyat” as the principle of harmony; a principle that is the essence of the pluralistic culture of Jammu and Kashmir and one that should become the operating principle in the rest of the country. Dr. Abdullah was speaking at the launch of the book, “Kashmiriyat – The Pluralist Sufi-Bhakti-Rishi Culture,” published under the patronage of UNESCO (Paris, cultural sector) at the South Asia Foundation, India Chapter office. Union Minister for Panchayati Raj Mani Shankar Aiyar, who is also the chairman of the Foundation’s India chapter, presided over the function. The occasion brought together prominent Kashmiri personalities, besides others, like Karan Singh, the former governor, Gen. (retd.) S.K.Sinha, Union Minister Saif-ud-din Soz, Amitab Mattoo and Vijay Dhar. Dr. Abdullah spoke at length to underline the fact that there was “trouble” in Jammu and Kashmir whenever there were marked departures from the principles of harmony and balance. He argued that if India had to survive as a modern nation, it had to keep on reinventing the principle of harmony and balance between groups and regions. He said there was no possibility of any part of Jammu and Kashmir being handed over to Pakistan, just as there was no possibility of any part of the Pakistan-controlled Kashmir ever being merged with India. And, he thought that India and Pakistan too would have to discover the principle of harmony if the two countries wanted peace. Dr. Madanjeet Singh, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador and author of Kashmiriyat, noted that years ago, the legendary Sheikh Abdullah inaugurated the first exhibition of his photographs, and now it was the turn of his son, Farooq Abdulah, to do the honours for this book. N. Ram, a trustee of the South Asia Foundation and Editor-in-Chief of The Hindu, spoke briefly about the institutional collaboration between the Foundation and the Asian College of Journalism.