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SRINAGAR: Our elders say when they were young, they saw people living in close integration with each other irrespective of their religion, sharing food, speaking the same language, listening to same music, playing the same instruments, and participating in one another’s joy and sorrow. Above all, they had love for what they did and wanted to pass it on to the next generation. But now, that is all history!

Language is the first victim of cultural degradation. Given the rapidly growing exposure to the new world, the learning of new languages is coming at a cost: forgetting the mother tongue, which is now struggling to find acceptability in our daily life. People feel ashamed and inferior if they talk in Kashmiri. The worst case scenario is, most of us can’t write in Kashmiri.

It is estimated that in around 80 percent of the households in Kashmir, the Kashmiri language has been replaced by others, with the result when the children grow they know very little or nothing about the language. Homes apart, even in offices and educational institutes, the foreign languages seem to have taken over, forgetting that our identity is directly related to the language we speak. 

But sometimes, you come across some inspiring examples. I remember it was June 26, 2015. I and my female friend were at Kheer Bhawani in Tulmulla Ganderbal covering the annual festival. We were part of the social service camp organised by our university (CUK), serving refreshment to hundreds of devotees. Armed with two Digital SLR cameras and having been already issued cards with our names and the university we were from printed on them, we thought it the opportune time to meet, talk and listen to the people who once lived among us and shared their joy and sorrow with us.

In all our conversations we had, the one thing common we heard was, “We lived happily and peacefully together with our Kashmir brethren and we did not want to leave”. I had ambivalent feelings afterwards. On one hand, I felt sad for them having left their homeland and with no hope in sight to return. On the other, I was pleased to hear them speak in Kashmiri. 

Language apart, the overall culture of Kashmir is said to be facing serious challenges, mostly form what is termed as ‘Net Culture’. Internet, also called information superhighway, offers a limitless access to diverse cultures of the world, which though is not harmful, but somewhere it is responsible for our younger generation abandoning their own. Also, ‘cultural unconsciousness’ in Kashmir is said to be playing its role in making people go away from their culture. 

Educational institutes are also said to be not doing enough, which otherwise can be the best places to impart and practice culture. As much as important it is to learn the culture, it is equally important to teach. It has to be passed on from elders to the new generation, and we to prepare our new generation for that. 

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BUDGAM: Additional District Development Commissioner (ADDC) Budgam Khurshid Ahmad Sanai today visited Khag to have a firsthand appraisal of the ongoing ‘Jashan-e-Tosamaidan’ festival there.

The six-day festival of ‘Jashan-e-Tosamaidan’ commenced here on Wednesday with people thronging the meadows in large numbers.Various public-spirited organizations in association with locals from villages like Sutharan, Drang, Shunglipora and Khag have been celebrating Jashan-e-Tosamaidan since August 2014 with thousands from all over Kashmir attending the festival. People from different routes were seen marching towards the virgin meadows of Tosamaidan since early morning.

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HARWAN: Annual Naat and Art competition was today organised in the memory of Founder of NGO Ali Asgar Blood Bank Care foundation J&K on his 11th death anniversary at Kashmir Publics School Barji Theed Srinagar. In these competitions about  twenty four schools from different parts of the valley and twelve darsgahs participated. 

Peer Bilal, Social Activist was the chief guest, who distributed awards to the position holders who showed excellent performance in these competitions. Paying tribute to Khaja Ghulam Mohammad, he discribed him a great social worker who sacrificed his whole in serving poor needy and deserving patients irrespective of colour, caste, creed or religion. He was also the founder of Kashmir Public School, established to impart the quality education to poor students of the Harwan area. 

Peer Bilal added that Participanting  in art competitions,    particular children get an early grounding to what competition means; thereby preparing them to face the real world in the later life.' Saaqib Ali from KPS Harwan was adjudged first in Naat, Baasit Muzafar from Tailbal bagged 2nd and Saahil Rehman from Scholars School Dara Bagged third position. 

In the Art competition, Ifra Aslam from Alfa Secondary School Habak got first, Kafeel Hassan from KPS School Harwan got second and Aasif Ali from Scholars School Dara bagged third prize. Shuja Kashmiri Journalist, Aafaq Chesti Gareeb Nawaz Trust, Moulana Muzaffar Sahab, Gulfam Barji Artist, Musadiq Aalam Poet , Tariq Shera & Mehrajudin Wani cultural activist were also present on the occasion.