Politicization of Literature in Kashmir
It certainly does not augur well for the welfare of literature in the valley, writes Prof. Ismail Aashna.
Kashmir, since centuries, has rightly been famous in the world for its beauty, culture, art, literature and architecture but perhaps nowhere in the world have the beauty, culture, art, literature and architecture been subjected to devastation as in Kashmir. Kashmiri writers who have been creating literature with classic grandeur and grace have suffered more on account of negligence and discrimination than their counter parts in other parts of the globe. It is a fact that literature, art and culture grow form the depths of the human souls and have an inseparable relationship with beauty and truth but it is also true that literature, art, culture and architecture cannot flourish unless equipped with opportunities.
Writers and artists are identified more with the poor than with the rich. True, that most of the writers in the first instance do not write or create for money but it is also a cruel fact that money has to do much so far as flourishing and promotion of art and literature is concerned. Most of the writers in Jammu and Kashmir have been weaving golden patterns on the looms of poverty with helplessness in eyes, and pain in their hands. The tragic part of the story is that literature and art, howsoever rich in quality, remain undiscovered like the hidden treasures if the writer or the artist does not have the means to publish and promote his work of art. The word in the forgotten manuscript is destined to remain invisible in the darkness of negligence whereas the published word enlightens the world. The same creative urge that becomes the first cause of a work of art causes restlessness in the soul of the creator to share it with the world but inspite of the urge most of the genuine writers fail to publish their works due to financial inability.
Even if some of them managed to publish their works they do not succeed in circulating them because in our State there is no tradition among readers to read a purchased book. In our world the published book howsoever cheap in quality is more valuable than an undiscovered manuscript howsoever rich in content. The anthologies of poetry and prose that are taught in the colleges or in the universities contain more the writings taken from the published works than from the unpublished manuscripts. The writer or the artist therefore has no other alternative but to publish his book or exhibit his work of art which he cannot do unless he affords to spend money, time and energy. Gone are the times when research scholars and thirsty readers used to wander from place to place in search of manuscripts. Gone are the days when people like the great poet and scholar of Kashmiri language and literature Abdul Ahad Azad would go, in absence of all modern facilities, from village to village in search of the content for the history of Kashmiri literature.
Nowadays editors, composers and producers use one or the other excuse for not coming out of their comfortable offices or houses where from they produce anthologies, collections and other kinds of books on behalf of their organizations, institutions and publishing houses. Importance is given to the published books, not to what is published in it. Our guardian institutions of art, literature and culture with glorious history at their back, have ceased to be as creative as they used to be in the past. More and more politicization of these institutions is causing more deterioration in their functioning. These institutions have now become more like trade unions serving the vested interests or strengthening one another’s commercial strength in nexus with politicians and bureaucrats. Some writers who are seen sometimes in the functions arranged by these institutions more for political mileage than for literary interests have no alternative but to play a subservient role.
One of the basic causes of this problem is the fact that various literary organizations functioning in Jammu and Kashmir State work on the principle of competition than co-operation. They remain engaged in designs in connivance with politicians and bureaucrats to outwit and outshine each other. Commercialization of literature and languages has added fuel to the fire. The writes and artists endowed with sense of self esteem prefer to suffer in silence than to raise the voice of protest against this intolerable injustice and exploitation for the known and unknown reasons. During the past two decades genuine writers in Jammu and Kashmir State have been eclipsed by the sycophants who have succeeded in making inroads into the radio, Doordarshan, Cultural Academy and other guardian institutions of literature, languages and art. Most of the writes and artists are ignored by these institutions on the pretext that due to disturbed conditions in the State information to these ignored writers cannot be sent. It is a big lie to intensify cruelty the ignored writers and artists have been subjected to. Even in the absence of modern facilities, Late Lasa Kaul as Director Radio Kashmir Srinagar and Late Ashraf Sahil as Director Doordarshan Srinagar, and Muhammad Yousuf Teng as secretary Cultural Academy would ensure that writers in the far flung areas received invitation letters from Radio Kashmir Srinagar, Cultural Academy and Doordarshan to participate in their literary programmes.
Whatever little is happening now in the name of literature, art and languages is happening only either in Jammu or in Srinagar or in Delhi. The functions host the guests who are more interested in other concerns than in literature or art. Politicians and political workers are more visible in these functions than the people who are genuinely interested in literature and other civilizational activities. It is so because the people at the helm of affairs are more interested that functions in the name of literature and art are somehow organized than in the fact who participate or whether the purpose of these functions is fulfilled or not. The Cameras click, Doordarshans telecast and the Radios broadcast with special focus on the chief guests.
Lastupdate on : Sun, 22 Nov 2009 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 22 Nov 2009 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 23 Nov 2009 00:00:00 IST
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