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VITASTA ANNUAL NUMBER: Volume XXXIV (2000-2001)

Some Reflections on Kashmiri Pandit Cultural Heritage and Contemporary Global Civilization

Prof. S. Bhatt

Present day world is witnessing some major movements of ideas in the following areas : First, we see an economic revolution based on privatisation and globalisation. Second, we have the communication revolution assisted by satellite, phones, computers, e-mails, internets etc. The third movement relates to the environmental protection and the ecology of the earth based on biological and ecological foundations. The fourth movement concerns global cultural revolution, which is a result of mankind's urge for harmony and the ongoing synthesis of various cultures. Sometimes, we feel that all the above movements of ideas are interconnected and interdependent.

The intellectual revolution on the cultural and intellectual front is also due to the globalisation of knowledge and the synthesis of scientific and social disciplines. Even the spiritual content of mankind's thinking is yielding towards a new cosmic revolution based on modern science philosophy and spiritualism.

Kashmiri Pandit Culture has a long and hisorical base in Kashmir and in the rest of India. The time is come to convey this heritage to the world at large. Kalhana Pandit in the 12th century, Lalleshwari in the 14th century, and many kings and poets of Kashmir such as Lalitadatya, Zain-ul-Abdin, poet Ghulam Mohammad Mehjoor, Dina Nath Nadim, Master Zinda Kaul, Prof. Jayalal Kaul, Prof. Rahman Rahi and Jawaharlal Nohru in the 20th Century provide a glimpse of the Kashmiri heritage in general. Kashmiri Pandits have an outstanding record of service to the mankind for harmony and enlightenment.

Lal Ded's Vaaks, for example, provide the basis of K.P. cultural foundation. These Vaaks or sayings form the basis of modern evolution of a common spirituality of mankind, harmony with nature such as is reflected in the UN Charter on Nature made in 1982. The UNESCO for example has held a global Seminar in 1950s on "Science and Synthesis" at the 10th death anniversary of Einstein and biologists Chardin. This UNESCO Seminar reflects ideas similar to Lal Ded's Vaaks.

This Seminar today offers an opportunity to all of us to highlight K.P. Culture and promote the evolution of a unified global culture for this civilization based on the unity in diversity of global life. Diversity is as important for the lifestyle of this Civilisation as the unity is. Both are interdependent concepts. In regard to unity, Rabinder Nath Tagore says : "This principle of unity is the mystery of all mysteries". Secondly in KECSS. there is a proposal being processed for a "Centre for Kashmir Studies". This proposed Centre in KECSS should be able to develop links with Harvard University etc. to strengthen the intellectual collaboration in fields like Shaivism and all that the KP Culture stands for. Shri M.K. Kaw is guiding this effort in KECSS as he is also currently the Education Secretary to the Government of India. A few years ago, a scholar namely Anita Wokhlu from Harvard University, U.S.A. was deputed to study the KP Cultural Heritage in India. Besides, other scholars like Prof. Paul Muller from California University is researching on our literature and philosophy.

Therefore, this Seminar should be able to draw attention to these global developments in regard to our cultural heritage. A Science Seminar is being held by KECSS on 8th July 2001 which will be attended among others by 20 Fellows of the National Academy of Sciences in India who are KPs and other Scientists and Scholars. We look forward to further contributions on Science and Spiritualism and on Global Science in general during that Seminar. The KP cultural heritage is after all a scientific heritage of this civilization. If we can promote global harmony through our philosophy of culture and science, we shall fulfill a void in contemporary civilization. This Seminar has therefore met at a very important juncture in our history and in the history of Kashmir.

[This is the summary of the paper read by Prof. S. Bhatt at the seminar origanized by Northern Regional Language Centre & KECSS, Delhi at Pamposh Enclave, New Delhi on 7-8 Jan. 2001. The author is Vice President KECSS and Hon. Prof. Hamdard University and JNU, New Delhi.]

[Mailing Address : S-176, Greater Kailash II, New Delhi-110048]
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