SRINAGAR: Contrary to all record-keeping practice, it has been 30 years since the Jammu and Kashmir government has archived a single government document, apart from transfer orders.
Director, Archives, Archaeology and Museums, Mohammad Shafi Zahid told Kashmir Reader that no government department has sent any document, be it policy, decision or anything else, since 1985 to his department. Therefore, no archiving has been possible.
“As per law, it is mandatory for any department to send everything to the archive department, which has not been done. We have asked many times, have in fact written dozens of times to all departments, but none of them paid heed. Yes, they do send us only transfer orders,” Zahid said.
The archives have not been done despite former minister of Archives, Archaeology and Museums Haseeb Drabu’s having asked for it on the floor of the assembly two years ago.
Even the recent presidential order about the extension of the Goods and Services Act, Zahid said, has not been sent for archiving.
“The government seems to have forgotten this department. There is no space left for archiving documents also. We have also asked the government to provide us space, but that too fell on deaf ears,” he added.
Former head of the history department, Kashmir University, Professor Mohammad Ashraf said that not archiving the documents shows how serious the government is about the history of this place.
“Archiving is an important source of history. Not preserving history is an indicator of the irresponsible attitude of the state,” the professor told Kashmir Reader. “Developed nations do not only preserve their history, but of other nations too. This is the reason why we still move towards European countries when we have to check records. In our case, if we are not preserving these, it is really unfortunate.”
Zarif Ahmad Zarief , an Kashmiri oral historian, said that future generations would not be aware about the developments of these times, which is not only criminal but is a sign of an undeveloped state.
“The government should probe it,” Zarif said. “And take necessary steps for the records’ preservation, otherwise developments of this period will not exist for future generations.”