INTACH’s Initiative to Safeguard Kashmir’s Manuscript Heritage

INTACH’s Initiative to Safeguard Kashmir’s Manuscript Heritage


by Khalid Bashir Gura

SRINAGAR: Nearly all of the manuscripts in custody of public repositories or non-public possessions are dealing with a critical survival disaster because the house owners lack sufficient sources for his or her correct conservation. This was one of many revelations made on the Indian Nationwide Belief for Artwork and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), Kashmir Chapter’s consciousness workshop on manuscript conservation and preservation. The occasion was centered on educating and interesting the group in regards to the significance of written data of the previous.

“We earn from Pashmina so Scarf thrives. We eat so the Wazwaan lives however that isn’t the case of the manuscripts,” M Salim Beg, the INTACH convenor and the occasion organiser mentioned. “After our structure witnessed a change, the manuscripts turned weak.”

Serving as an necessary hyperlink to the previous, manuscripts, function major sources documenting the wealthy historical past, together with socio-cultural, spiritual, and political features over the centuries.  Kashmiri manuscripts are handwritten on parchments whereas some are on handmade paper.  Kashmir’s manuscripts are written in varied languages akin to Sanskrit, Sharda, Persian, Arabic, Urdu and a few in Kashmiri.

The assorted sorts of manuscripts in possession of people and establishments have been broken as a result of excessive price of upkeep and ignorance of their essence preservation and conservation.

“Now we have formal and casual repositories in Kashmir.  There are three repositories in Kashmir: the Oriental Analysis Library, the SPS Museum and the State Cultural Academy with every having greater than 3000 manuscripts.  Equally, there’s an off-the-cuff repository additionally known as the non-public assortment,” Beg, advised the viewers.

The dimensions of manuscripts in possession of personal repositories is extra in quantity as revealed by a survey virtually twenty years in the past, Beg mentioned. “In a survey performed by the Division of Archives, there are round 40000 manuscripts.  Nonetheless, the custodians couldn’t care for the manuscripts correctly which led to their deterioration,” he mentioned.

Kashmir, Beg mentioned has been giving much less significance to information preservation. The custodians of the manuscripts do not need a full understanding of their historic or cultural significance.

“Persons are not conscious of conservation and preservation strategies. The manuscript is subjected to completely different attritions and typically custodians additionally on account of ignorance injury it,” he mentioned.

Involved residents at INTACH organised day lengthy occasion on manuscript preservation. KL Picture: Aiman Fayaz

Kashmir has a vibrant literary custom, with manuscripts containing works of poetry, philosophy, and literature, showcasing the mental achievements of Kashmiri students and writers. Manuscripts typically characteristic intricate calligraphy, illuminations, and illustrations, demonstrating the inventive abilities and aesthetic sensibilities of Kashmiri scribes and artists.

There are numerous challenges in preservation like materials degradation, bodily injury, environmental components, organic threats, and historic interventions.

Apart from bearing the brunt of a scarcity of appreciators and readers, the altering structure in Kashmir into cemented concrete homes which hardly ever have any chinks like in centuries-old heritage homes and buildings, the efforts to protect and preserve manuscripts turned exhausting.

“Gilgit manuscripts which belong to the pre-Islamic period of Kashmir and have been included within the Reminiscence of the World are additionally endangered,” Beg mentioned.

Equally, there are numerous formal establishments the place manuscripts on account of lack of know-how and conservation are dealing with plenty of points. Nonetheless, we are attempting to revive the manuscripts in collaboration with custodians. As manuscripts are a part of the reminiscence, one of the best ways to protect them is thru digitization for posterity.

The Manuscript Conservation Centre by INTACH Kashmir goals at conservation companies like cleansing, restore and restoration of broken manuscripts, and making archival packing containers fabricated from acid-free mount boards for higher storage. It additionally goals to organise fundamental manuscript care and dealing with coaching programmes. The centre shall be serving to manuscript house owners to take care of their valuable possessions on the lowest attainable price. It has specialists and the complete fundamental toolbasket to handle the manuscripts higher. It has already finished some work on this entrance, Beg added.

“At a time when there’s a spike in unemployment, why coaching programmes should not licensed to create extra employment in addition to creating professionals to protect repositories,” mentioned a senior journalist within the viewers.

As many international locations have legal guidelines and rules in place to guard cultural heritage, together with manuscripts, Jammu and Kashmir too has authorized provisions to safeguard such valuable collections; J&Ok Heritage Preservation & Conservation Act, 2010 (the act has been retained within the re-organization of J&Ok act, 2019).

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