‘Sarhad’ writes to LG Sinha; seeks to develop ‘health village’ in Lolab

Aarogya Gram to promote health, tourism in Kashmir | Visionary approach to contribute to socio-economic development; promote ethos of Kashmiriyat
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Jammu, July 31: With a vision to “promote health, well-being and tourism in Kashmir”, Sarhad, a Pune based organisation, has requested the Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha to allow it to develop a “Health village (Aarogya Gram)” in Lolab Valley, under its ongoing “Valley of Knowledge” initiative there.

The request has been made in a letter, written to the Lieutenant Governor, jointly by Sarhad founder president Sanjay Nahar and trustee Anuj Nahar.

The letter is appended with a well-drafted concept note about “Aarogya Gram”, explaining its rationale and also action plan, prepared by Dr Amol Deolekar MD Founder Hope Hospital, Pune.

Nahars in the letter, written on June 8, 2023, have sought the permission to build the “world's first health village in Lolab Valley of Kupwara district, either at village Sogam or village Chandigam or wherever the administration deems fit.” 

While moving the proposal, they maintained that this project would “boost health and apple tourism in North Kashmir.”

“In this regard, we request your office to hold a meeting with Collector Kupwara and Collector Bandipora and all concerned departments. We wish to inform you that Sarhad has a good team to work on this project and it shall consist of local youth. If implemented, the project will make history in your tenure,” they wrote to the Lieutenant Governor.

Notably, the organisation is already engaged in developing Aragam village in Bandipora district as the “world's largest book village” and Lolab valley in Kupwara district as “Valley of Knowledge.” The initiatives do find reference in the letter, in fact, at its very outset. Nahars also apprised the Lieutenant Governor that Sarhad Pune had already “signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with both the district collectors regarding the ‘Valley of Knowledge’ and the ‘Village of Books’.”

“In all these works, the Sarhad organization has the good support of the local people,” they mentioned.

The concept note of “Health Village” affixed with letter for LG Sinha’s perusal describes “Aarogyagram” as a "village to promote health and wellbeing in Kashmir under the Valley of Knowledge initiative."

Tracing Kashmir’s rich cultural heritage and natural beauty and long history of promoting health and wellbeing, it underscored that it was in the glorious era of Lalitaditya Muktapida, when it (Kashmir) saw advancements in art, architecture, philosophy, and the science of health.

“The concept of Aarogya Gram aims to revive and promote the health traditions of Kashmir. Aarogya Gram, as part of the Valley of Knowledge Initiative, will create a unique village that combines the principles of Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha, Tibb, and modern allopathy, embracing the philosophy of ‘Kashmiriyat’,” the concept note mentioned.

Emphasising upon the natural healthy ecosystem of Kashmir, they referred to the “Purush Loktulya Siddhant in Ayurveda” and stated with its abundance of valleys and pure natural elements, Kashmir offered “one of the healthiest habitats in the world.” “The concept of "Panch Bhautik Siddhant" emphasizes the balance between the five elements of nature - earth, fire, water, air, and space, which are found in their purest forms in Kashmir,” it added.

Referring to the importance of health in a post-COVID-19 world, the concept note stresses that “Aarogya Gram” aims to develop Kashmir as a “land of health heritage, promoting not only regular tourism but also health tourism.”

Their action plan is based on three-pronged modules i.e., to establish a “Valley of Knowledge” in Lolab valley as a hub for promoting health and knowledge exchange; create a “Book village” in Aragam village in Bandipora district as a centre for intellectual and cultural activities and develop “Aarogya Gram”, a health heritage village, focusing on holistic wellness, located in a suitable valley.

“Establish various residential treatment centres within Aarogya Gram, utilizing a multi-science approach that incorporates traditional and modern healing practices; train and empower local residents as skilled medical and paramedical professionals to support the health tourism sector; utilize extra guest rooms in local houses to provide extended living facilities for health tourists and encourage locals to offer household treatments and traditional cuisine to enhance the overall experience of health tourists,” they proposed in their action plan.

This would foster a “symbiotic model of a health rejuvenation town, where locals and professionals collaborate to create a unique and inclusive wellness ecosystem,” they said.

Action plan suggests that the government will support the development of health facilities and associated infrastructure in Aarogya Gram, whose success will serve as a role model for future initiatives in other valleys, encouraging the growth of decentralized health rejuvenation towns.

Nahars, in their proposal (concept) note, have asserted that “Aarogya Gram” seeks to revive and promote the health traditions of Kashmir, leveraging its rich cultural heritage, natural resources, and the collective effort of locals and professionals.

“By establishing a village dedicated to health and wellbeing, Aarogya Gram will become a beacon of holistic wellness, attracting both domestic and international visitors seeking rejuvenation and a deeper understanding of the true essence of Kashmiriyat. With its unique combination of traditional healing practices, modern medical facilities, and the serene beauty of the valleys, it will provide a transformative experience for individuals seeking to enhance their physical, mental, and spiritual wellbeing,” they added.

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