With Peace, the first cultural festival organized near LoC in Kashmir

In a first, J&K’s remote Uri region witnessed a three-day cultural festival near the Line of Control (LoC), bringing hope for peace and border tourism.

The three-day event titled- ‘Pahari Cultural Festival’ was organized by the Academy of Arts, Culture and Languages ​​of Jammu and Kashmir (JKAACL) in collaboration with J&K Tourism and in association with the Department of Archives, Archeology and Museums, Baramulla District Administration and School and Higher Education Departments. The festival started on May 24 and ended on May 26.

Idrees Bukhtiyar

This is the first such event held near the LoC at J&K with the aim of preserving the Pahari language and culture and also making efforts to bring peace and tourism to the borders which otherwise remain under the shelling from other sides of the LoC.

District Development Council (DDC) Chairperson, Baramulla, Safeena Beigh, who was the chief guest on the occasion, spoke about the richness of the Pahari language and said it is an important language in Jammu and Kashmir and that it had great historical significance.

rich tradition

Elucidating further, Safeena Beigh said that Pahari culture is a rich tradition with distinct traditional dress, folk songs and language and it is the primary responsibility of all culture lovers to preserve cultural and linguistic traditions. of Jammu and Kashmir.

First cultural festival held near LoC in Kashmir
Idrees Bukhtiyar

Safeena stressed the need to organize cultural events illustrating the varied nature and cultural diversity of each region and group.

Kashmir’s Director of Tourism, GN Itoo also spoke on the occasion and stressed the importance of preserving and protecting the culture and heritage of Jammu and Kashmir.

Tourism aid

He said that these festivals help to increase tourism and cultural exchange in the territory of the Union, since tourists who visit here from all over the country or from abroad show a keen interest in knowing the culture and heritage of the region.

Dr Itoo said that cultural activities are an important component of promoting tourism and the Department of Tourism encourages these cultural festivals as they stimulate the tourism sector. He said the Department had recently identified 75 new tourist destinations and the basis for identifying them was their unique cultural identity, heritage quotient and cuisine.

First cultural festival held near LoC in Kashmir
Idrees Bukhtiyar

Asked how such events would bring peace to the borders and to tourism as well, he said: “The department is now really promoting such remote areas that have remained away from the eyes of the authorities. We also establish the infrastructure in these areas so that film crews can also travel there and shoot there. He added that the department is already working to promote border tourism.

Secretary of the J&K Academy of Art, Culture & Languages, Bharat Singh, said such events send the message that there is peace in these border areas. “If there had been no peace, this event would not have been possible. We will be holding more such events in other locations near the border across J&K,” he said.

What was in the event?

In a first, J&K's remote Uri region witnessed a three-day cultural festival near the Line of Control (LoC), bringing hope for peace and border tourism.
Idrees Bukhtiyar

The three-day festival focused on music, dance forms, mushairas, gatka, plays, poetry sessions and a gallery was set up where old photos of the Pahari culture were preserved as well as books. In addition, professional artists, students from local schools and colleges performed on occasion. A performance by popular singers Pahari Waqar Khan and Kabul Bukhari captivated the audience.

“It was our first concert in Uri and we enjoyed it. We received an overwhelming response from the people, especially the young people,” Khan said.

Abdul Majeed Zindadil, who leads the Pahari folk dance group, said, “We performed the original Pahari dance in Uri, but we want more opportunities to be created to preserve this culture which is now dying a silent death.” .

You want more festivals

Idrees Bukhtiyar

The students of Degree College Uri who India time spoke said they want more such festivals. “This is the first festival of its kind held in a remote area like Uri, otherwise almost no events take place here. Our lives have become boring and we too want to have fun,” said a student wishing not be named.

Another student said, “We didn’t see singer Waqar Khan other than on the phone, although he is very famous in J&K, but we got to see his performance live this time.”

The ceasefire relieves

Since the Indian and Pakistani armies announced in February 2021 that they had started strictly adhering to a ceasefire along the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir, there has been solace in the lives of locals, especially those who live close to the LoC. “Such a cultural event that happened for the first time in Uri was only possible thanks to peace on the borders. We hope that more such events will be held in the near future and in different languages ​​as well,” said Jammu and Kashmir National Conference District Chairman, Baramulla, Dr. Sajjad Shafi Uri.

This event was also considered significant because it took place after the repeal of Section 370 and the COVID-19 related lockdowns.

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Darcy J. Skinner