KU Hosts Three Day International Symposium on ‘Rishi-Sufi’ Traditions of Kashmir

Anjani Chaand updated on : 27 Oct 2015

The event is being organized by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), in collaboration with the University of Kashmir and the Jammu & Kashmir Academy of Art, Culture and Languages

Kashmir University

Following the unprecedented rise in communal incidents in India post right wing Bhartiya Janta Party’s (BJP) rise to power seat in New Delhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was reminded of “India’s unity in diversity” feature.

University of Kashmir is hosting a three days international symposium “Hami Ast: The Rishi-Sufi Traditions of Kashmir”.

This event is being organized by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), in collaboration with the University of Kashmir and the Jammu & Kashmir Academy of Art, Culture and Languages. Scholars from India, USA, Europe, Iran, Bangladesh and Afghanistan shall be reading their papers.

“This symposium is being held at a time when, in the name of religion, the world is being torn apart by radical and fundamental ideologies; conflicts are taking place in many parts of the world; terrorist violence has emerged as an international phenomenon; the values of tolerance, communal harmony and brotherhood have been severely eroded and the world at large appears disinclined to resolve disagreements through peaceful means, civilised debates and discussions,” Vohra said.

Of late, minorities have come under communal attacks with a Muslim being lynched to death in Dadri (UP) recently and a lawmaker from Jammu and Kashmir first attacked in Kashmir legislature and then attacked with black ink in Indian capital city of New Delhi for hosting a beef party.

Right wing Shiv Sena even attacked a journalist for hosting book launch ceremony of Pakistan’s former foreign minister, Khurshid Kasuri.

Leading the intellectual outcry against the growing intolerance across India, J&K Governor NN Vohra underlined inter religious and inter-community dialogues. “These are of utmost need this time to lay the foundations of harmony,” Vohra told the jam packed audience at Ghandhi Bhavan auditorium of University of Kashmir.

Vohra observed that this intellectual discourse takes us back to over six hundred years ago when scholars and philosophers from several parts of the world were travelling to Kashmir to engage in prolonged philosophical debates which led to the evolution of the syncretic belief systems and traditions.

“Kashmir witnessed intensive spiritual and philosophic debates among eminent religious scholars, historians, travellers and other important personages from Iran, Turkey, Central Asia, China and other countries making it a cradle which fostered the birth of invaluable spiritual philosophies and traditions which symbolise the rishi-sufi way of life,” Vohra said.

“The fact that the people of Kashmir are still devoted to the belief systems which emanate from the Rishi–Sufi traditions is evidenced by the admirable existence of a very large number of shrines in the valley and elsewhere in the State which attract devotees not only from among the Hindus and Muslims but from all other communities, and from all over the country. These shared traditions have proven to be crucial for promoting lasting connectivities and close understandings across the communities,” he added.

“The damage done to the heritage of coexistence and to the rishi-sufi traditions has severely fractured the fabric of our society and, today, we witness repeated incidents of terrorist violence in which dozens of innocent persons are getting killed,” the former bureaucrat said. “If peace and normalcy is to be restored and humanity is to remain civilized, radical ideologies shall have to be denounced and collective efforts shall need to be made to revive the centuries old traditions of tolerance and brotherhood which transcend the barriers of religion, language, caste, colour and creed.”

The Governor stressed strenuous efforts to revive the aesthetic orientation of the unique inter-religious debates and dialogues which laid the foundations of harmony and brotherhood in the times past and for resurrecting respect for the secular values encouraging plurality of faith and belief.

“It would be fruitful if our Universities were to take appropriate initiatives for the students to get acquainted with the fundamentals of the Rishi-Sufi thought, the mystic love poetry of Rumi and the great Persian poet Hafiz who propagated universal brotherhood, love and compassion and revive the great traditions of aesthetics, culture, literature, music, dance, calligraphy, architecture, costumes and languages for which Kashmir was known in the centuries past,” the governor suggested to the academicians.

Source: Riyaz Khaliq, HTCampus Specialist

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