For the best experience, open
https://m.greaterkashmir.com
on your mobile browser.

A Call to Action

Nurturing Kashmiri identity in the face of globalisation
01:48 AM Apr 19, 2024 IST | Guest Contributor
a call to action
Advertisement

In the verdant valleys and snow-capped peaks of Kashmir, a vibrant tapestry of culture, language, and tradition has flourished for centuries. Yet, amidst the breathtaking landscape lies a silent struggle against the encroaching forces of globalisation, threatening to unravel the very fabric of Kashmiri identity. As external influences seep into every aspect of life, from education to economics, the preservation, celebration, and continuation of Kashmiri culture hang precariously in the balance.

Advertisement
   

At the forefront of this battle are the educational institutions, where the dominance of English in elite establishments relegates Kashmiri to the sidelines. While prestigious schools and colleges prioritize English as the medium of instruction, smaller institutions often resort to Urdu, perpetuating a linguistic hierarchy that marginalises the Kashmiri language. This linguistic divide not only erodes the foundation of Kashmiri identity but also perpetuates a cycle of cultural alienation among the youth.

Advertisement

Furthermore, governmental and economic policies often favor industries and practices aligned with global standards, sidelining traditional Kashmiri practices and crafts. This economic shift not only undermines the livelihoods of artisans and craftsmen but also erases centuries of cultural heritage ingrained in their craftsmanship.

In the realm of social customs, the transformation is equally pronounced. Marriages, once thriving in Kashmiri traditions and rituals, have now adopted ceremonies and practices imported from outside. From elaborate wedding rituals to Bollywood-inspired music, the essence of Kashmiri weddings is gradually being overshadowed by external influences, further eroding the unique cultural fabric of the region.

Advertisement

As a result, the youth of Kashmir find themselves increasingly estranged from their cultural roots, as they navigate a world shaped by global media and technology. The decline in the number of people speaking pure Kashmiri is indicative of this trend, with many adopting a hybrid language that melds elements of Kashmiri and Urdu.

Advertisement

Amidst these challenges, the urgency to preserve and cherish Kashmiri language, culture, and heritage has never been greater. Language is not just a means of communication; it is the soul of a community, encapsulating its history, values, and identity. Similarly, culture and heritage serve as a link to the past, grounding individuals in their roots and fostering a sense of belonging.

Advertisement

In other countries, departments dedicated to the preservation of language and culture abound, serving as beacons of hope for diaspora communities. Likewise, Kashmir urgently needs dedicated institutions and initiatives aimed at preserving and promoting its rich cultural heritage.

Advertisement

However, the responsibility of preservation does not rest solely on institutions and policymakers; every Kashmiri individual bears a crucial role in safeguarding their heritage. Whether through actively speaking and teaching Kashmiri to future generations, supporting local artisans and craftspeople, participating in cultural events and festivals, or reverting to traditional customs in marriages, each action contributes to the preservation and celebration of Kashmiri identity.

In conclusion, the preservation, celebration, and continuation of Kashmiri culture, language, and heritage are paramount in the face of globalisation’s encroachment. By recognising the value of their linguistic and cultural heritage and taking proactive steps to safeguard it, Kashmiris can ensure that their identity remains resilient and vibrant for generations to come.

BY Mohammad Hanan Rather
ratherhanan@gmail.com

Advertisement