Wed, 09 August 2023
Author Mir Junaid has captured the changing dynamics of Jammu & Kashmir in his book, Naya Jammu & Kashmir Journey till Now, which explores various aspects of this treasured state.
The territory of Jammu & Kashmir has long been known for its astounding natural beauty. As we flipped through the pages of Mr. Junaid’s book, we discovered more - its historical significance, cultural diversity, arts and crafts, and its religious and spiritual significance.
Jammu and Kashmir have a history that dates back thousands of years. The territory has been a melting pot of various civilisations, including the Mauryas, Kushans, Guptas, and Mughals. Its strategic location along the ancient Silk Road has contributed to the cultural richness and the assimilation of diverse influences.
Known for their cultural diversity, stemming from the coexistence of multiple ethnic and religious communities, the region is home to Kashmiri Pandits, Dogras, Gujjars, Paharis, Baltis, Ladakhis, and many others, each with their distinct traditions, languages, and customs. This cultural mosaic has contributed to its vibrant tapestry.
Art and Craftsmanship
The region also boasts a rich tradition of art and craftsmanship. Kashmiri shawls, pashmina, and carpets are renowned worldwide for their intricate designs and superior quality. The intricate woodwork of Kashmir, with its exquisite patterns and carvings, is a testament to the craftsmanship of the region.
Literary and Musical Heritage
Jammu and Kashmir have been a cradle of literary and musical traditions, producing renowned poets and scholars who have contributed to Urdu and Kashmiri literature. The famous Persian poet Mirza Ghalib and the Kashmiri poetess Lal Ded are among the luminaries from the region. Music, particularly Sufi and folk music, is an integral part of the cultural fabric. The soul-stirring strains of santoor, rabab, and the enchanting Sufiana kalam continue to captivate audiences.
Religious and Spiritual Significance
Jammu and Kashmir are revered by people of various faiths. The region is home to important religious sites such as the Amarnath Cave, Vaishno Devi Shrine, Hazratbal Shrine, and Shankaracharya Temple. These sacred places attract pilgrims and devotees from different parts of the world, fostering an atmosphere of spiritualism and religious harmony.
The Role of Sufism in Unity
In the 9th century, Sufism, a version of Islam promoting religious humanism, was introduced in Kashmir by Hazrat Bulbul Shah of the Suhrawadi order. The most influential Sufi in the region, Miir Sayyed Ali Hamadani arrived in 1372 with 700 disciples and spread Islam and the principles of the Kubrawi Sufi order, earning popularity among the territory’s people.
Hamadani’s teachings emphasised oneness of God, purity, God-fearing piety, and unity. He contributed to various fields such as philosophy, jurisprudence, ethics, and crafts.
Hamadani’s teachings helped in the valley’s development and reintroduced an indigenous religious order called Rishism or Rishi request—a Hindu-Muslim syncretic custom combining Sufism and ancient Vedic practices.
These two ideologies blended over the years promoting peace, harmony, and fraternity amongst all, regardless of religion. The amalgamation of Sufism and Hinduism resulted in the concept of Kashmiriyat, representing the collective identity of the people and emphasising religious tolerance.
Preserving Cultural Heritage
The preservation of Jammu and Kashmir’s historic sites, promoting traditional arts and crafts, and documenting indigenous knowledge and folklore is of utmost importance. Mir Junaid’s book sheds light on the region’s heritage and calls for preservation of its captivating past, which will enrich the lives of its people and foster appreciation for diversity and harmony in a more promising future.