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Collection of Islamic manuscripts by Hindu family draws hordes of art lovers

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Srinagar, Jun 10: An exhibition of rare Quranic manuscripts, elegant calligraphic works and art masterpieces is drawing hordes of people here and behind all of it is a Hindu family.

Suresh Abrol, the man who has painstakingly preserved these valuable manuscripts, says these are part of his grandfather Lala Rekhi Ram Abrol’s collections.

“He was a jeweller in the court of Maharaja Hari Singh, the last Dogra ruler, and collected many of these items. My father sought only one thing in inheritance — these ancient manuscripts and other collections. We consider them our real inheritance,” he says.

 

The exhibition, “Shireen Qalam”, has been organized by the J-K Academy of Art, Culture and Languages in association with the Department of Tourism and the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage at the Tourist Reception Centre building here.

Jammu and Kashmir Minister of Culture Naeem Akhtar inaugurated the exhibition on Thursday. It will be open for public until June 11.

Over a hundred rare Quranic manuscripts, including “Nuskha Fatehullah Kashmiri” written by Fatehullah Kashmiri in 1238 AD, exquisite calligraphic works and remarkable art objects are on display.

“Nuskha Fatehullah Kashmiri” is the oldest available Quran manuscript in Kashmiri calligraphy.

Other manuscripts that attract visitors’ attention include the copy of the holy book dating back to 1594 AD and considered to be the only sample in the world written in saffron ink.

“Our family has 250 Quranic calligraphy collections and 130 of them are on the vellum – a paper made from the skin of goat or camel,” Suresh says.

He says they have brought two handwritten Qurans – one on a four-and-a-half-foot by five feet cloth and the other on a five-feet paper.

‘Shajrah- e-Nasab’ of Prophet Muhammad, which is about 24-feet-long, with pure gold illumination also adorns the walls of the TRC building.

The family also has a laboratory to take care of 5,000 manuscripts written in Arabic, Persian, Sharda, and Sanskrit.

Suresh and his two brothers, who have converted their home into a museum, look after the collections and are being provided guidance by the state culture ministry.

“We spend our own money for their preservation. This is our passion,” he says. Suresh says this is for the first time that the family decided to take the collections out of their house. “It was the state’s cultural department’s suggestion,” he adds.

In the calligraphy section, celebrated artworks by renowned artists are the centre of attraction of the hundreds of visitors who have thronged the exhibition for the last three days.

The exhibition offers a glimpse into rare Islamic manuscripts. One of them is “Sad Pand Luqman” of Hakim Luqman which is a Persian manuscript scribed by Peer Baksh of Punjab in “Khate Nakhoon” on ethics. The manuscript, penned in 1870 AD, is ornamented with gold and the borders are decorated with pictures of animals and birds.

A Quran dated 961 AH (roughly 1553), which is handwritten on Samarqandi paper, and a Persian translation of the Quran by Mir Saeed Andrabi in 1850 are also on display.


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Kashmir

No decision yet on resumption of Cross LOC trade

Govt working on installing truck scanners on trade routes

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Srinagar, May 18: Though they are unlikely to resume the cross-Line of Control (LoC) trade soon, the authorities are working on installing truck scanners at both the trade centres Salamabad in the Kashmir valley and Chakan Da Bagh in Poonch in Jammu.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on April 18 had suspended the cross-LoC trade in J&K, saying that it was being used for “funneling of illegal weapons, narcotics and fake currency”.
“As such there is no order to resume the LOC trade but yes work had started on installing truck scanners at both the trade centres Salamabad in Kashmir and Chakan Da Bagh in Poonch in Jammu,” said one of the top government officials.
He said if the trade resumed, the truck scanners will enable the customs department and other agencies to see what is being imported from the other side.
After suspending the LOC trade, the MHA had said that the issue will be “revisited” after a “stricter regulatory & enforcement mechanism” that is being worked out is “put in place in consultation with various agencies”.
Cross-LoC traders and others associated with the trade are demanding the resumption of the business.
Traders has said that they support the government’s every move to put strict and transparent regulatory measure but suspension of trade that took a decade to establish itself is no answer.
“Over the past decade, cross-LoC trade has been our only source of income. Suspension of trade has affected our families. We request government to implement strict regulatory measures and continue trade simultaneously,” said one of the LOC traders.
In October 2008, as a confidence building measure, India and Pakistan agreed to carry out trade along the Line of Control through the Uri-Muzaffarabad route in Kashmir and the Poonch-Rawalakot route in Jammu.
The two countries agreed on a Standard Operating Procedure.
The defining feature of the initiative was that there would be no exchange of money between traders – it would involve the barter system. If a trader in Pakistan sent across goods worth five lakh Indian rupees to a trader on the Indian side, that trader would send back goods of the same value as payment.
It is to mention here that the initiative was launched during the tenure of the Manmohan Singh-led United Progressive Alliance government, its seed was planted in 2004, in the peace process initiated by the late Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Pakistan president General Pervez Musharraf.
Cross-LoC trade was the second confidence-building measure between India and Pakistan after a cross-LoC bus service, which was launched in 2005.
For security agencies, cross-LoC trade has always attracted strict surveillance. They have, over the years maintained that they seized weapons, fake currency and narcotics being transported from the other side.

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B’pora teacher still missing; family protests for whereabouts

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Srinagar, May 18: The family members and relatives of the missing Bandipora government teacher on Saturday held a demonstration here in Mantrigam Bandipora area of north Kashmir’s district seeking his whereabouts.
Eye witnesses said that family members and relatives of Mushtaq Ahmad lone a government teacher assembled here in Mantrigam area of Bandipora and blocked the Bandipora-Gurez road.
They staged a demonstration seeking Mushtaq’s whereabouts, who went missing on May 13 after he left home for duty to Government Higher Secondary School Chuntimulla and has not returned home till date.
Family sources said that they tried to locate him everywhere but couldn’t find any clue despite lodging missing report in Pathkoot Police station.
“We have called relatives and friends, however, there has been no trace of him so far,” the family members said adding “his phone has been switched off for a long time.”
The family members and relatives of Mushtaq urged deputy commissioner Bandipora and SSP Bandipora to help in locating their missing son.
Meanwhile, a senior police officer said a missing report in this matter has been lodged in police station Pathkoot and investigation has been taken up.

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Unabated killings even during Ramadan worrisome: PDP

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Srinagar, May 18: Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Saturday said it’s worrisome to witness that there is no letup in killings and bloodshed in Kashmir even during the holy month of Ramadan.
In a statement, PDP General Secretary Ghulam Nabi Lone Hanjura said the unabated killings of civilians, militants and security forces in Kashmir has once again made peace elusive even during the ongoing sacred month of Ramadan.
He said the way in which precious human lives are lost in Kashmir, there are apprehensions that the government is in no mood to shun the muscular policy that so far has yielded no positive results.
Hanjura said that it has been the cardinal Principe of the PDP that muscular and iron fist approach is bound to fail in Kashmir as such measures have in the past only wreaked havoc and in the future also wouldn’t bring any positive change on ground.
He said keeping the sanctity of the holy month of Ramadan in view, PDP President Mehbooba Mufti as the Chief Minister last year played a vital role in making GOI declare unilateral ceasefire in Kashmir. This year also, said Hanjura, the PDP President made a fervent appeal to both militants as well to the security grid to declare truce and respect the ongoing holy month. “It is hoped that good sense will prevail and the vicious cycle of violence and bloodshed is stopped at an earliest so that the people of Kashmir yearning for peace could heave a sigh of relief,” said Hanjura.

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