Annual Publication of Kashmir Sabha, Kolkata, India 

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VITASTA ANNUAL NUMBER: Volume XXXIV (2000-2001)

From the President

In presenting this, the 34th Annual Vitasta Number, Kashmir Sabha Calcutta feels proud to focus on a very topical theme viz "Mother Tongue of Kashmiri Pandits in Exile Origin, Advances, Threats and Thrusts". After going through what is within this Annual Number, you will perhaps agree that the challenge posed by the theme, that of "Origin, Advances, Threats and Thrusts" of the Kashmiri language, has been met fairly well.

This Annual is yet another milestone in the long and distinguished history of the Annual Numbers of the Vitasta, Kashmir Sabha Calcutta has established a sort of tradition of focussing on topics of immediate relevance to our community. Our Annuals are fairly well received and talked about, and have now begun to be termed "Collector's Items". For this Kashmir Sabha is thankful to Dr. B. K. Moza, the Editor-in-Chief of the Vitasta. His God-given, incisive and research oriented mind, his capacity for extra ordinary hard work and dedication have enabled, publication of such Annual Number and other Cultural activities of the Sabha where he was involved. The term "Collector's Item" was first coined by Shri A. N. Kaul, Editor-in-Chief of the Koshur Samachar, New Delhi in describing the XXXIst Issue of the Annual Vitasta, then edited by Sri Vivek Kaul and Smt. Niva Kaul with Dr. B. K. Moza at the helm as Chairman of the Editorial Committee. The last Annual edited by Sri Rajiv Sapru & Smt. Niva Kaul, under the stewardship of Dr. B. K. Moza, focussed on Kashyap Bandhu, which was a millennium tribute to a Karmayogi that was long overdue. The present issue is again a tribute to Dr. B. K. Moza himself and his Editorial team who have succeeded in getting comprehensive coverage of the theme chosen, combining the objective with literary excellence, thanks to our distinguished contributors who have honoured our Vitasta with their penmanship.

In keeping with the theme of this Annual that of Kashmiri language, and believing as we do that some good, instead of pontificating along jingoistic lines or Alice-in-wonderland air of having no relationship with ground level realities, we have at Kashmir Bhavan, Calcutta seen to it that facilities are made available, encouragement given, and pursuasion done to non-Kashmiri speaking Kashmiris to learn the Kashmiri language, even if they hadn't learnt it since their very birth. During my tenure as President of the Sabha, Dr. B. K. Moza, and Smt. Niva Kaul have been doing smilingly & steadfastly undertaking, the pioneering work of teaching, like qualified teachers, the Kashmiri  language almost on all the Saturdays at the Kashmir Bhavan. What a thrilling experience it was to hear a non-Kashmiri speaking Kashmiri, the redoubtable Secretary of the Sabha, Mrs. Prabha Tankha, treat us to a short speach in Kashmiri at a recent function in Kashmir Bhavan.

The commercial aspect of this Annual Project has been equally successful as well. Thanks to the team led by M. K. Ogra and P. L. Sapru, our revenue collection has surpassed the previous level.

Between an inimical State Govt. and indifferent Central Govt., we are a community-in-limbo, floating freely in an outer space, outside the land of our ancestors and our birth. The irony is that we, a 5077 year old community have been forced out of the land of our origin. We see vested interests carve out our land and attempt to divide the spoils amongst themselves, completely ignoring us as if we do not exist.

It is essentially for us to derive anchorage and strength from our glorious past and strive to create a meaning in a meaningless world, where there are so many laws and norms, and even more exceptions to those laws and norms, that the first casualty is the Rule of Law itself. Let us derive our strength from what we are strong in our heads, rather than seek leverage on our limited numbers.

Our Apex Body, the A.I.K.S. has of late bestirred itself and set themselves to consolidating various Sabhas and Associations of Kashmiris and arrive at a well considered action for future. Our Dr. B. K. Moza's very thoughtful and valuable article, "A.I.K.S. A Potential Movement Still to gain Momentum" which has deservedly received wide coverage in Kashmiri Pandit Magazines like the Khirbhawani Times" of Jammu, the "Milchar" of Bombay, the "Koshur Gazette" of Delhi etc. deserves to be seriously taken note of by all of us and I commend this article in particular to A.I.K.S in their current efforts to vitalize our Apex Body. Kashmir Sabha Calcutta will do all it can, as it has done in the past, to strengthen and contribute what it should to the A.I.K.S to achieve its objectives.

I cannot conclude better than state that it is a pride day for me as President of the Sabha to acknowledge the extra-ordinary achievements of the Editors and the Publication Management Committee with its financial wing, in bringing out this 34th Annual of the Vitasta in the shape it has come, in spite of very heavy odds.

 Udainath Kaul
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Views expressed by authors in Vitasta Annual Number are not necessarily of Kashmir Sabha, Kolkata.

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