Lost in a paradox

Why are we playing with our heritage?

Binoo Joshi
Srinagar, Publish Date: Jul 23 2018 12:07AM | Updated Date: Jul 23 2018 12:07AM
Lost in a paradoxFile Photo

Pause for a minute.  There is a never-dying clamour  in Jammu and Kashmir that the world is not paying the  attention that this  State deserves.  This   is a paradox as well.  We want the world to pay attention for one obvious reason – the State is a theatre of extreme conflict  wherein numerous human rights abuses  are committed and the global leadership  pays lip service and  does nothing more to show that  adequate attention is being paid to our plight.  Today, the subject matter of this  column is different, though what is happening on the ground  never recedes from the visible reality. Our  another grouse against the world is that despite Kashmir having unmatched beauty, legendary hospitality  is subjugated to the adverse travel advisories by many western countries. I am not going to play out the contradictions that these two sets  of aspirations  for attention make it too  visible. But my point is  that  Kashmir deserves better attention of the world to  brand Kashmir as a tourist destinations.

Over the decades, the government has spent billions of rupees in promoting tourism in Jammu and Kashmir – the campaigns are launched in various countries and we never forget to tell the ambassadors to encourage their countrymen to visit  Kashmir. This right has been given to Kashmir by nature – the  Valley is blessed with the beauty that no parallel  in any other part of the world, and the hospitality is remarkably very high. There is no competitor in the inherent culture of hospitality  that the people in Kashmir have. Even in their worst times they have come with their best for the tourists.  At times, they have acted and saved  tourist, more than their kin could have done back home for them.


We, as people are the best in our hospitality. Now there are certain things that need immediate attention of our own.  How many rest rooms  are there on way to our tourist resorts, or for that matter within Srinagar city itself where  visiting tourists can avail these facilities.  This is important as foreigners  don’t go behind the bushes, and for ladies, the things are  much  more difficult. 

Where should they go?  This is the question that we should be asking ourselves. We should also be asking   even if these facilities are  available  at some places, do we really care to keep them neat and clean. The answers are in negative.

Tourists also take note of  other things.  The heritage  structures  and buildings have been marred by neglect. Post 2014, there is a readymade answer with us  that the floods devastated everything. That, we all know is not true. There never was any attempt to preserve the heritage that was so painstakingly  bequeathed to us by our elders who had so painstakingly  built the same. They knew what it meant and  had preserved as a source of inspiration for new generations.  Many visitors aware of our history  and heritage  stop short  of asking us, what have you  done to your heritage.  This is not  a political question. The human survival is important in the times of distress but  equally important is to save our heritage from  stress of decay. This decay is not only due to the times we have undergone or are undergoing, but also  due to  the greed and corruption  entrenched in our minds. We have played with our heritage.

The world has taken note of it, and that’s why  it is turning back  toward us.






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