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J&K: Ministry of Culture Calls for Leads to Revive Cultural Heritage of Kashmir

Local artists warn that initiatives announced by the government in the form of workshops may not be sufficient to aid people in the region who are undergoing a crisis.
J&K: Ministry of Culture Calls for Leads to Revive Cultural Heritage of Kashmir

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Srinagar: The Ministry of Culture is calling for leads of old manuscripts, monuments, and art forms that need revival or preservation in Jammu and Kashmir, a senior ministry official said on Monday.

Director at the Ministry of Culture, Arvind Kumar, who spoke to the media at Srinagar's Tagore Hall, said that the government plans to revive arts and culture through the National School of Drama in Jammu and Kashmir.

"Our soft power is the cultural heritage, which we want to show to the world. I urge people to inform us if we need to preserve or protect any monument or manuscript or anything of cultural significance so that we can help them," Kumar said.

The official added that since the government of India's Ministry of Culture is committed to promoting, preserving and protecting India's heritage, including tangible heritages like monuments and intangible heritages like art forms, people should come forward to participate in the process of preservation.

"If there are any old manuscripts or documents that need promotion or preservation, whether there is any manuscript of old Quran or Ramayana, we have a program under National Manuscript Mission to preserve it. We will not take it from the owners, but we will only preserve it," he added.

Kumar said that any literature that gives an insight into the history of Jammu and Kashmir would be made available for scholars globally, adding that much of it can also be done with the involvement of local or national corporate players.

The official added that the National School of Drama is also holding a workshop from March 11, 2023, to introduce youth to special techniques and important basics of theatre and drama.

Gulzar Ahmad, Convenor of the National School of Drama, said the workshop for professionals and aspiring artists would be held for 12 days.

"Theatre is not a part-time job but a full-time job. We will be holding these workshops, and we are starting a two-year certificate course which will be affiliated with a university. We are taking steps to revive arts, language and culture," Ahmad said.

The move to revive theatre and performing arts, however, was not well received by many because of the ongoing hardships the artists are dealing with in the region.

Senior artist Javed Khan, who has performed in feature films, told NewsClick that there is no point in these workshops or creating certificate courses when there are no means for artists to survive economic challenges.

"The artists in Kashmir valley are dealing with a crisis, and not everyone can become Shahrukh Khan. Unless the government creates proper opportunities for the artists, such interventions will not help," Javed Khan told NewsClick.

Another official from the Jammu and Kashmir Academy of Art, Culture and Languages, however, said that the administration is framing a comprehensive cultural policy that will be introduced soon.

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