JAMMU: Minister for Finance & Culture, Dr Haseeb Drabu on Sunday said that Government is mulling to begin ‘cultural mapping’ of J&K with the listing of cultural resources and documentation of the artifacts outside its domain. He said the State Government also mulls to take up with the concerned ministries to bring back the lost treasure to J&K.
While taking a review of restoration work on the prestigious Mubarak Mandi Heritage Complex here, Dr Drabu said with all such initiatives, the culturally-rich State would become a mosaic of varied architectural landmarks.
“We shouldn’t trivialize our culture and heritage,” he told officials during an extensive tour of the heritage place here. “Government is making all efforts for the bringing back the lost glory of the heritage sites including the Mubarak Mandi Heritage complex,” he said.
Expressing concern over slow pace of restoration work on the prestigious Heritage Complex, Dr Drabu stressed bringing synergy into the official machinery to complete the works. He also stressed for roping in other agencies to supplement the ongoing works being carried out by the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) so that the restoration work is expedited and grandeur of the heritage site is restored. He also called for adopting a mechanism of beautifying the approach roads.
Floating the idea of ‘Cultural Mapping’ of the State, the Minister said the Jammu and Kashmir has a rich cultural and heritage origin and there is a need to recreate these cultural repositories areas revamp it on the cultural scenario.
Dr Drabu directed officials for exploring possibilities and come up with a plan to demarcate various cultural and heritage zones which would give a flip to the cultural tourism of the State. He also asked the tourism officials work in close coordination with the officials of Culture, Archeology and Museums for the greater marketability of such areas.
He further stressed for fixing a timeline to take up various components of work of the State Protected Monuments and also directed the officials for having a close coordination with the ASI to get the work and restoration work done on other heritage sites of the State. “We should also identify people having relevant expertise in conservation of heritage sites, so that they are entrusted with the work to restore the buildings on fast-track,” he said. The Minster along with the officials took extensive survey of the Dogra Art Museum which houses a treasure trove of artifacts, paintings, sculptures, ammunition and art works.
Meanwhile, the Minister also took review of Department of Archives, Archaeology and Museums and unveiled an imaginative Calendar-2017 compiled by the Department. The Calendar showcases the treasure-trove of J&K’s antique creative marvel and artistic legacy, titled as Shahnama Firdousi in which calligrapher, Syed Jallal-ud-Dinn Bukhari has depicted the marvelous work of 1654 AD (Mughal Period) in Persian language.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr Drabu said, the compiling of the Calendar by the Department is a unique effort to bring in public domain the treasured creative art of Jammu and Kashmir. He appreciated the officials for taking some innovative steps in revamping the department. He also called for concerted efforts to attract tourist and young generations to visit Dogra Art Museum housed alongside the prestigious Mubarak Mandi Complex.
The Calendar is a collective voyage of rare manuscripts, priceless paintings, ancient scriptures and beautiful calligraphy in possession of the Department of Archives, Archaeology and Museums.
“In order to rediscover ourselves and our origin, we have to be a culturally conscious society,” he said. He said that the exercise of launching Calendars is to ‘rediscover, reflect and revive’. “We can’t effort to erase out our past, our history and it is a great exercise of engaging with our past, to reorient our present and redefine our future,” he said.
Dr Drabu called for spreading awareness among the people about culturally rich heritage of the state and to attract youth for their active participation in preserving and promoting J&K’s distinct traditions. He also appealed people to refrain from destroying and defacing ‘Cultural Heritage’ of the State, saying that concrete steps are underway to protect and redefine the culturally rich sites of here.
The Minister was accompanied by Secretary Culture, Dilshada Khan, Director Archives, Archaeology and Museums, J&K, Muhammad Shafi Zahid, Joint Director Tourism, Jammu, Vishesh Mahajan, Deputy Director, Department of Archives, Archaeology and Museums, Peerzada Muhammad Ashraf, and other senior officials of the department.