Peace builds Cultural Palace

A 12 million dollar institution dedicated exclusively to Kashmir art and culture will be set to open in 2015. A day before the Indian Republic Day this year, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah formally launched a project to establish a Tehzeeb Mahal (Cultural Palace) in Srinagar, which will be dedicated to preserving Kashmir’s rich culture.

According to Khalid Bashir Ahmad, Secretary of the Jammu and Kashmir Academy of Art Culture & Languages, the institution will be the first of its kind in the state. “It is a huge project worth Rs. 64.89 Crore ($12m),” he has revealed. “This centre will not only help to showcase Kashmir’s rich art and culture but also to preserve its heritage.”

Model of the proposed cultural centre

Model of the proposed cultural centre

The three-story building, expected to open its doors in about three years, will combine high-tech facilities with Kashmir-inspired architecture. The J&K Projects Construction Corporation has been selected as the contractor for the project.

“There are several things coming up in the Mahal: auditorium, exhibition halls, theatres, studios etc,” Khalid said.” The Mahal will also house a library, which will contain books on history, languages, architecture and religion.”

Zareef Ahmad Zareef, a prominent Kashmiri writer and a poet, said such a centre is sorely needed.

“For a long time, this project was awaited, and now with the inauguration every artist is happy,” he told Khabar. “It is a positive thing. But let it get completed first.”

“Earlier we had to go outside [of Kashmir] to show our work, but this centre will help writers, artists and poets to display their work in their own state,” he added. “Unlike other states, we have no meeting place for writers or theatres for drama-loving people. The Tehzeeb Mahal will help people from different professions. In Kashmir, we have a lot of talent. The Mahal will help everyone and it is the need of the hour.”

Promotion of local talent

Budding local artists and performers say they have long wanted a platform that would allow them to showcase their talents.

“In Kashmir we don’t have theatres for drama lovers. But I have heard that in the Mahal there will be studios, theatres, exhibition halls etc.,” said Abid Fayaz, a 20 year old drama artist. “It will promote the talent of the local youth, who are interested in theatre like me.”

Another young artist, Zeeshan Ahmad from Srinagar,hoped that the centre would send a positive signal to people outside Kashmir. “Once you have a cultural centre, there will be exhibitions, fairs and plays. National and international artists will visit Kashmir for sure, as we (Kashmiris) have a rich culture and heritage,”Zeeshan said.

People say that peace in the state made possible such developments. “For the last two decades, this project couldn’t start,” Liyakat Ahmad, Assistant Professor at Government College in Srinagar, remarked, “We have peace in Kashmir the last two years, and development is taking place in full swing.”


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Posted by on March 1, 2013. Filed under Kashmir. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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