Describing composite culture and inclusiveness as intrinsic and built-in features of J&K’s ethos, the Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, Wednesday called for integrating its rich diversity and heritage treasure into the state’s tourism industry. He also announced setting up of a School of Sufiyana & Folk Music that will lead to a cultural revival by offering certificate courses in various performing arts. “Please don’t keep this auditorium idle. Make it a vibrant centre of never-ending cultural activities,” he advised. The Chief Minister made these remarks today after commissioning the renovated and upgraded Tagore Hall, built in 1961, in memory of Rabindranath Tagore, the great poet philosopher and Nobel Laureate. Minister of Public Works, Floriculture, Gardens & Parks, Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari, Minister for Finance & Culture, Dr. Haseeb A. Drabu, MLC, Khursheed Alam and Secretary, J&K Academy of Art, Culture & Languages, Aziz Hajini, were also present on the occasion. Referring to the state’s unique plurality and multiculturalism, Mufti Sayeed hailed the state for its rich diversity and inclusiveness. “I am sure you will make Tagore Hall a seat of cultural awakening and invite performing artists from within and outside the state to perform and enthral the audience,” he hoped. Referring to the indelible mark left on his personality by the great Kashmiri poet, Abdul Ahad Zargar, the Chief Minister said he still rues the fact he was not able to attend anniversary celebrations of the celebrated writer. “I am greatly impressed by the poetry of Abdul Ahad Zargar,” he said. Hailing the contribution of noted litterateurs from J&K some of whom were present in the audience, the Chief Minister specifically mentioned Jnanpith Award winner Rehman Rahi, Farooq Nazki and Mohammad Yusuf Taing, and asked them to become torchbearers and infuse a new life in the state’s cultural landscape. “I have been in active politics since 1959. I haven’t tired. Yesterday during my tour to Anantnag district my PWD Minister Syed Altaf Bukhari was not able to keep pace with me,” he said in a lighter vein. Urging the culture lovers to keep this enthusiasm alive and kicking, the Chief Minister, who is also the President of the J&K Academy of Art, Culture & Languages, said his visit should not be merely a symbolic exercise. He desired that an itinerary of cultural activities be conceptualized so that the upgraded facilities at Tagore Hall and Abhinav Theatre are optimally utilized which will enable the two cultural centres to become self-sustaining institutions. Describing Jammu & Kashmir as an all-season tourist destination, Mufti Sayeed said here is an opportunity to utilize this state-of-the-art facility for organizing diverse cultural events, even during winters, which would showcase the state’s unique multiculturalism before the travellers both from within and outside the country. The Chief Minister also lauded Dr. Drabu and his team for fast-tracking work on Tagore Hall and making it a state-of-the-art auditorium. Highlighting the cultural liberalism of J&K, Dr. Drabu said the name Tagore Hall, reflected the acceptance of great human values, which he said was a tribute to its cultural liberties. “We will provide an enabling environment for revival of cultural activities in the state. Our influence will be restricted to creating infrastructure and financially supporting cultural activities. It is the art lovers and civil society which have to utilize the facilities optimally,” he added. The Hall reverberated with bouquet of cultural performances that enthralled the audience and brought back memories when the historic hall was a premier seat of cultural shows in the state. The Tagore Hall has been renovated by JKPCC in record time, after it was devastated in last year’s floods. Matching any modern-day auditorium, the 426-seated Tagore Hall is laced with HVAC fire-fighting, heating and cooling systems and fully computerized stage management system. Also present were Divisional Commissioner, Asgar Hassan Samoon, Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar, Peerzada Mushtaq, Director Archives, Archeology & Museums, S. M. Zahid, besides galaxy of people belonging to promotion of art and culture.
2015 Kashmir Despatch