Culture forms an integral part of life of a human being . It is the culture that makes human animal to a well defined human being . It regulates human’s conduct and prepares him or her for group life. It teaches what type of food human should take and with what manners, how he or she should cover oneself and behave with the fellows, how human should speak and influence the people, how human should co-operative and compete with other. Humans have acquired these qualities required to live and social behavior even for complicated situations. Culture forms identity of human societies.
In our part of the world especially in Kashmir we have seen major components of culture be it traditions, Language or Folk theatre all have been badly ignored thus making us pay heavily as a society . Language has been always been an defining Symbol of human societies. Language the single largest factor that has helped us in differentiating between societies and individuals of two different regions. A people’s language is part of their identity. If the people lose their language, they have practically lost themselves. Urdu and English languages which are supposed to be our second languages but now since years, they have become our first language. Regrettably, nowadays in the majority Kashmiri homes, it is common to see parents communicating with their children in English or Urdu language. Some parents will in fact enforce communicating with their children in other languages other than their mother tongue. Our folk theatre too has declined and lack of cultural policy has added to misery.
Reflecting on this overall cultural decline, Nazima Parray, a Researcher states- “ Albeit our own state government has taken initiative to introduce Kashmir language as one of the necessary subject in schools but we have very lesser number of teachers in Kashmir that can teach Kashmir language in schools. Till now not a single initiative has taken to introduce kashmiri history and geography in our school curriculum. The geographical distribution of our land is well known by the outsiders but does anyone among us know the beauty of our land.
According to psychologist 90% of personality development is seen is those children who’s speaks their mother language in their childhood. Then why don’t we encourage our children to talk in their mother language. Because of this dilemma our children are in confusion and chaos and with the result they are not able to speak any of the language in its proper way. It’s a time to retrospect lest very soon our future generation shall be seen in state of serious identity crises. We should at least be answerable to their question. It’s a time to act lest our Kashmir will lose its identity and integrity by our own preposterousness of being called modernistic.
Nazima adds –“our own cultural academy kitab ghar exist only for the sake of culture. The fact is that a real treasure of Kashmir culture is not available there also. Our museums, libraries don’t have literature available on Kashmir. Our famous folk theatre Bhand Pather, as a marker of our cultural diversity has been dying, thanks to successive Governments lack of interest and cold attitude of society towards this great cultural form. We are witnessing overall cultural decline which is sad for all of us.”
Minister of state for Information, Education & Culture J & K and senior leader of Bharatiya Janata Party Priya Sethi in an exclusive interview with News Kashmir reflecting on this serious issue had stated –“It is a burning reality that we have neglected rich linguistic treasure of our state .On the otherhand in our state affluent manuscripts, historical monuments, and heritage symbols of our prosperous culture have also since long time been ignored and faced apathy. Despite living in the era of Information Technology, it took us more than 10 years to repair Tagore hall and we have not modernized our cultural centres too. I have felt there is a strong need for framing a vibrant cultural policy that has a holistic policy matter in it to preserve the rich cultural heritage of all three regions of state viz. Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. We recently held active interactions with writers, poets and other literary and cultural personalities as their expert analysis means a lot in enriching and preserving our diverse and rich cultural heritage .”
As cultures differ, so does morals and ethical values. Aspiration or imitation of foreign cultures, moral, and ethical values is most welcome when they are positive but adopting them at cost of our own culture is disastrous. Refurbishing our folk theatre, giving due status and respect to our native language, well defined cultural policy is need of hour.