New Delhi, Feb 5 (UNI) Union Water Resources Minister Prof Saifuddin Soz said the two-decade-old militancy in Jammu and Kashmir had caused irreparable damage to ''cultural values'' in the state and exhorted scholars and litterateurs to work for reviving cultural bonds.
''We see light at the end of the tunnel,'' Prof Soz, who is also a Congress Working Committee member, said at a function of the Kasheer Foundation while releasing the first edition of literary magazine ''Mirass'' at the India Habitat Centre here last evening.
Dwelling on strong Rishi-Sufi bonds of the Valley, he said Kashmir has rich cultural heritage, which propagates the message of peace, love and brotherhood.
''There is an urgent need to take cultural achievement of people in Jammu and Kashmir outside the periphery of the state across the country.'' The function was attended by Kashmir University Vice-Chancellor Prof Riyaz Punjabi, Prof Pankaj Bhan-- Editor of Mirass and one of the founders of the Kasheer Foundation-- and several prominent scholars, artistes and intellectuals.
Prof Punjabi, in his speech, said intermingling of trika Shaivism with Islam resulted in the emergence of a new cult called Rishi cult, a synonym of Bhakti.
It was through Rishis that Islam became a popular faith in the Kashmir Valley, he added.
Prof Bhan referred to the role being played by the Kasheer Foundation in promoting the rich cultural values of the state.
He said the foundation has brought out Mirass magazine as a vehicle of cultural expression. The purpose was to get over the perception of marginalisation and work towards mainstreaming the Kashmiri literature and culture.
He also referred to conferring of Jnanpith Award on veteran Kashmiri poet Prof Rehman Rahi. ''This (the award) was the recognition of rich cultural and literary treasure in Kashmir, he added.
Later, veteran singer Dhananjay Kaul and Deepavali Wattal rendered several Kashmiri songs on the occasion.
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