JK News Today Commentary

Jammu, October 2020

Binoo Joshi

The most striking part of Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha’s speech at the inauguration of Kumaon Literary Festival, a first of its kind of gathering of the thinkers, authors , artists and literatures’ in decades in Srinagar on Wednesday was when he observed : “ Unfortunately , for a long time the course of the development and thinking had come under attack “in Kashmir.. It was not just a reference to more than three-decade old violent conflict that consumed so many essential vitals of the Valley, its traditions , culture and customs . This posed a question , though Sinha did not ask that, how the bloodshed killed the very essence of high quality thinking and creativity in the Vale which was once renowned for its inspirational history, literature and art all over the country and beyond .
This was a multi-dimensional statement , which reflected how commas and full stops of violence punctured the original thinking , adversely impacted the creativity . All these tradition which started since ancient times which started with Kalhana’s Rajtarngini to the times when Nund Rishi , Lal Ded defined the Sufi discourse the ethos of co-existence till eternity were subjugated to the bullets and bombs .
Sinha’s observations were quite sharp , a lot needed a lot to be read in his words that “ there was relentless assault on the development and thinking,( of the people of Kashmir)” and as a result the creative art and literature retreated to background . It clearly implied that all those who shouted “ Azadi” slogans were the tormenters of the freedom of expression in art , literature and all acts of creativity . This creativity was seen as an antidote to their agenda of violence and terrorism in which they wanted all to subject themselves to the illusory goals . That was the real attack on the freedom of expression .
The violent attack on the literatures, poets , thinkers and artists curbed the thought process , injected that with the language of guns and grenades. In fact , that was assault on pen. That was on purpose , to disconnect them from the Sufi traditions , culture and art , and also to blunt the fresh and innovative thinking . Kashmir suffered immeasurably .
It would be wrong to say that this assault on the thinking and development was thirty-year specific . The generations are carrying the burden, they have to come out of the feeling of oppression and depression to which they were subjected to by Pakistan and its supporters . They are responsible for burning of schools, colleges, libraries , and these marauders did not spare even the institutes where the right kind of Islamic studies were undertaken and the books were read.
Lt. Governor Sinha made a significant statement that shadows of fear and darkness are disappearing . Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s bold action of doing away with the elements of terrorism, frustration and depression has opened doors to the fundamental reality that it is in peace that literary activity and creative thinking flourish.
The festival was a shining example of that.