Whose heritage?

Preserve it for posterity


Heritage is variedly described by the scholars but simply taken to mean what present generation can preserve as legacy for future or what past generation has passed on to the present one . It includes both tangible aspects like buildings, monuments landscapes, books, work of art artifacts and intangible ones which include folklore, traditions, language and knowledge. More importantly natural heritage including biodiversity comes under its ambit. Nations have since known to preserve their heritage and reasonably different movements have been launched from time to time. Right from Athens charter of 1931 to Charter for preserving Islamic heritage of late 2008-all were aimed to preserve heritage. 
Our heritage includes language and literature, gardens and parks, monuments and forts, meadows and pastures, lakes and rivers, art and architecture, music, folklore and more importantly our biodiversity. Our rich poetry includes wakhs of Lala Arifa , Shurks of Sheikh ul Alam (RA), melodies of Habba khatoon, odes of  Mahmmod Gami, Rasul Mir, poems of Mehjoor and Azad. Similarly, Mystic poetry of Rahman Dar, Shams Faqir, Rahim Shaeb, Sauch Kral, Ahad Zagar are wroth mentioning. Additionally, our apt proverbs, brain teasing riddles which have been relegated need to reused and popularized in the masses more particularly among younger generations. Our ballads like famous Akanandun reminding for sacrifices for some better cause barely strike our ears now, loitering Ladisha with signaling songs are no more now, Gulraez of Maqbool Shah Kralwari is seldom sung in a remote corner of Kashmir.
Our Persian poetry from Baba Daud Khaki, Mazhari, Mulla Tahir, Famous Gani (Kashmiri), Fitrati, Furughi. Mullah Muhammad Taufiq Khaja Habibbualah Hubi is alien to all excepting a few. Our Mughal Gardens begin to be bereft of cold crystalline water flowing through canals since centuries. The famous Mughal architecture visible in these gardens need to be preserved with more elegance. The magnificent chinars ask for more care to see theses standing in future.
Our water resources which include world famous Dal Lake, Wular Lake, Anchar Lake, Manasbal Lake and bewitching mountainous lakes need more attention both from people and administration. River Jhelum (vihat) now shrinking needs much more attention to keep it flowing unlike Nallah Ma`ar which has gone. Kokernag Spring from which water to Afghan Governors was supplied needs extraordinary attention to preserve it for generations to come. Achabal Spring where was once country houses of Kings of Kashmir and some Mughals calls for extra care from government and people.
Can we revive our painting what was known Kashmiri Qalam? Similarly calligraphy is declining from the art of Kashmir. Production of our silk has shrunk when our carpets and shawls are seen now with suspicion in world market. Our wood and Khatam Band workers are still hit with penury and poverty. Our daggers and arms though preserved in museums are never preferred to be manufactured again. Let our Lidder river be lifted from pollution, our Sonamarg be spared, and Aharbal and Kungwaethon Duksum not to be smeared. Let Kolahoii Glacier and Gangbal be never withered.
  Kashmir with a real rich heritage presents dismal picture of preservation. This was aggravated due to unfortunate happenings over a period of time during which considerable part of it was plundered resulting in an irreparable loss. Concerted efforts are required to be taken from grassroots level to preserve our rich heritage rather than leaving it to the mercy of sermons and speeches. Contrarily, it should take the shape  of the movement bringing  consciousness amongst masses to take care of what has been passed on to us.  Moreover, we have to be really educated and informed what we can preserve for our posterity. We should not leave it to pedagogues and teachers only to talk about in the class rooms but every individual need to be educated through mass media, posters, notices, road shows besides Radio and Television programmes. Not only public meetings, but relevant conferences or congresses need to be organized independently and collaboratively with all emphasis on heritage preservation in one way or other. The messages of preserving heritage should be so appealing that it adheres and address to our hearts and souls prompting a listener to solemnly do something to preserve our heritage. Not only curricula but our researches need to be geared up to explore the ways and paths leading to conservation of our forests and like resources and preserving other things of heritage. Exhortations and messages passed on to the people of the valley on some celebrated occasions like World heritage Day may not be so effective. Instead increased effective measures involving common masses to conserve and preserve will surely work.

(M.Sidiq  Mattoo is Selection Grade Officer in Allama Iqbal Library University of Kashmir)  

Lastupdate on : Wed, 18 May 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 18 May 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 19 May 2011 00:00:00 IST

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