KL NEWS NETWORK
Emphasizing that revival of culture is the only way to have sustainable peace in the state, Minister for Finance, Labour, Culture and Employment, Dr Haseeb A Drabu Friday said there is need to have cultural awareness among the people for sustainable normalcy in the state of Jammu & Kashmir. ” I see revival of culture and values as the only way to get back the state to sustainable normalcy.”
Dr Drabu was speaking in a review meeting of the department of Culture in which Minister of State for Education, Technical Education, Culture, Tourism, Horticulture, Floriculture and Parks, Priya Sethi was also present.
Dr Drabu directed officials not to work halfheartedly and frame a comprehensive culture policy that is oriented towards creation of a vibrant cultural movement in the state.
Sensitizing the officials about the real purpose of the department he said that, ”Department of culture is for the people and not for the government or for government jobs.” He further said that ‘department should have independent identity and should have presence in the public spheres.”
“Now start looking at it whether it’s for people or not. Identify the gaps and work towards bridging those gaps.” he said. Dr Drabu told the officials “not to focus on Srinagar and Jammu only but move beyond to other regions with the objective to Renew, Revive and Restore cultural heritage of J&K.”
Referring to his choice of taking the Ministry of Culture, Dr Drabu said, “Culture will keep us alive for hundreds of years to come. It is an identity which we need to take care of.”
While disapproving prioritizing the construction works only, Dr Drabu advised the officials to differentiate between department of culture and other departments.“Department of culture should not be treated as a works department. Come out of this construction mode and start initiatives by leveraging technology and already available public spaces,” he said and added that “cultural kiosks should be opened at public places where people would come and learn about the richness of our cultural heritage”
For preservation of Heritage monuments, Dr Drabu told the concerned officers to rope in reputed conservation architects for developing a proper system for conservation initiatives. “We are fond of fencing two things; monuments and graveyards and probably that is our concept of conservation.” He assured full financial support for the conservation projects duly conceptualized by professionals.
Referring to monuments like those in South Kashmir’s Awantipora, Dr Drabu asked to link physical heritage with culture to connect the public with the social milieu of the times when the monuments were constructed. “There should be an effort to develop a certain aura around the monument to tell what it was and what it has become.”
The Minister expressed his dismay over the facts that no government documents have been archived from last 31 years.
Taking a serious note, he asked the department to projectise archiving of all cabinet decisions since 1985 within six months and make it a regular affair thereafter. “I want to see from now every cabinet decision, every government order of structural importance and other important documents archived,” he instructed the officers.
Dr Drabu directed the Department of Libraries to have three provincial libraries in Srinagar, Jammu and Ladakh. He asked the officers to create and have one fully equipped library in each district and also create public libraries in collaboration with civil society and educational institutions.
Dr Drabu cautioned the officials not to procure any book till a full-fledged policy in in place. “I want centralized book procurement policy in place and till then stop purchase of books. If I hear one book is purchased, you will face the consequences”
Directing the State Gazetteer department to immediately put in place an editorial board comprising eminent academicians, he asked the department to start working on preparing state gazetteers for five geographical contiguities of the state viz, Jhelum Valley, Chenab Valley, Indus Valley, Pir Panjal Region and tawi Basin. He also instructed to revive the rich tradition of recording oral histories.
Assuring full financial support, he said “I will give you Rs 2 Crore per gazetteer but the quality of the gazette shall have to be vastly improved. He told the group of officers to work on “what is where and then verify the authenticity. Let us know what we have.”
Snubbing the single minded focus on construction proposals, Dr Drabu said that he is out of the construction mode and shall not approve of any such proposal till tangible progress is made by the department in achieving its intended objectives.
MoS Culture, Priya Sethi advised the officials to have an interaction programme with central ministries for their assistance. “Let us be in touch with central government and have interaction programs.” She said.