Mirwaiz Umar Farooq Thursday said fast depleting interest in skills of age-old Kashmiri handicrafts was alarming and a big concern.
"We have to understand that our economy is dependent on many things and arts and crafts are its vital part," the chief cleric of Kashmir and chairman of Hurriyat Conference (M) said, stressing on efforts for a revival of skilled labour among young Kashmiris.
"Our youth are going from pillar to post for government jobs while abandoning our most cherished industry of arts and crafts, and as a result you can see even our PhD scholars are applying for class fourth jobs."
The Mirwaiz was speaking at a Seerat seminar organised by Anjuman-e-Nusratul Islam (AeNI) in connection with the ongoing holy month of Rabi-ul Awal at Islamia Higher Secondary School Rajouri Kadal here.
The Hurriyat leader appreciated Kashmiri youth excelling in education at the same time, but reminded the people about various skills introduced in Kashmir by the great and renowned Sufi saints with the sole motive of ensuring the region remains economically stable and independent.
"We as a society have forgotten dignity of labor, every transparent way of earning is dignified as taught by all the prophets of Islam. We as a society cannot achieve economic stability if we look down upon particular jobs and abstain from doing those," Mirwaiz said.
He said AeNI was thinking of establishing a skill development institute in the state to vigorously revive interest in arts and crafts.
Addressing youth, Mirwaiz said: "Our economy will prosper if we understand and appreciate dignity of labour and associate with our crafts and skill oriented professions rather than only pursuing government jobs."
While praising the students who participated in Seerat seminar and choose Kashmiri as a medium to speak on Prophet's life, Mirwaiz also stressed on the promotion of the Kashmiri language.
"Parents and teachers have to put in their best to protect Kashmiri language and to teach their children our mother tongue so that it is preserved as every nation is known by its great traditions in their mother tongue," he said.
Mirwaiz stressed upon parents and teachers to play their role in safeguarding mother tongue, Kashmiri language, and speak and teach it to children in order to preserve it.
"Every nation is known its traditions and mother tongue," he said
Mirwaiz said it was scientifically proven that children proficient in their mother tongue develop better ability to learn and gain knowledge. "But unfortunately people in Kashmir instead of speaking in their own language prefer to speak to children in other languages," he said.
Mirwaiz said those in the education sector should be appreciated for introducing Kashmiri language in school as a compulsory subject. "It is a welcome move," he said.
Students from various schools of the valley participated in the seminar on Seerat and spoke on the life of prophet Mohammad (pbuh).
Later, prizes and certificates were distributed among the participating students and a special edition of AeNI magazine, Rabi-ul Awal was also released.