JAMMU: Governor N N Vohra, CM Mehbooba Mufti and PWD Minister Naeem Akhtar have greeted the people on the auspicious occasion of Mahashivratri, which is celebrated by Kashmiri Pandits as Hairath.
In a message of felicitations, the Governor said that this festival symbolizes the values of piety, devotion, brotherhood and harmony, which are the hallmarks of our glorious cultural ethos.
Wishing the people a happy Mahashivratri, the Governor prayed for peace, progress and prosperity in the State.
In her felicitations, the Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti hoped that the auspicious day will usher the state in new era of peace and development and strengthen bonds of brotherhood among the people.
She said the festival of Mahashivratri has both religious and cultural importance as the day is celebrated by the people of all shades. She recalled that the day is celebrated in Kashmir Valley as Hairath by Kashmiri Hindus in amity with the Muslim brothers.
In his felicitation message, Naeem Akhtar said this festival symbolizes the supreme traditions of J&K’s composite culture and glorious cultural ethos.
Reiterating that necessity of return of Kashmiri Pandits to their roots, the Minister said return of Kashmiri Pandits back to the valley is a challenge for not only the government but entire society as at the moment it is Kashmir which needs Pandits more for revival of its lost composite and cosmopolitan culture.
“If Pandits would completely sever their connections with Kashmir, it would mean end of a civilization. This would be like what happened to Urdu civilization after the partition of the subcontinent”, Akhtar said.
“In my opinion, 27 years down the line, it is Kashmir which needs Pandits more to revive the multicultural ethos, as we can see around the world trouble has erupted at all such places where multi-cultural societies have crumbled,” he said adding loss of diversity has always led to social instability. “I see migration of Pandits as a dent in Kashmiri civilization and its rich composite culture. It is duty of all those who have lived much part of that golden period to strive and talk about the return of Pandits to recreate that era,” he said.
He said what Kashmir lost has come as a gain for Jammu which has now become a replica of what Kashmir used to be with people of different cultures, ethnicities and linguistic backgrounds living in harmony.
He said the subsequent governments over the years have contributed to build a congenial atmosphere for the return of KPs by developing an economic stake for them in the valley, the beginning of which was made when then Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed led Government raised the demand for a package for the KPS who had stayed in the Valley at the time of migration. He added that this move was taken further by subsequent governments with the implementation of package for development of clusters and employment for the KP youth who want to serve in Kashmir Valley and rejoin their roots.