Love for nature and its preservations were deeply ingrained in Kashmir psyche. Much before the advent of the Vedic period people of Kashmir were nature worshippers. They saw gods and goddesses in different manifestations of nature and held them in high esteem. Preservation of nature was greatest religious duty with them. This love for nature with Kashmiri lived for thousands of years. Many ancient sites excavated during the twentieth century are an indication of the strong affinity the people of this land had with their surroundings. Literature of this land, whatever the language – is full of praise for this land. The poetry produced during the Buddhist and Hindu periods, whether in Sanskrit or any other language in vogue in the valley during those periods, is full of praise for its beauty. Sages, sufis and savants have attained great heights of spirituality while meditating in the lap of salubrious and seductive woods. They sought refuge in the beauty of this land for expressing complicated and philosophical ideas about creation and the Creator. The objects of nature have been used as totems and symbols for explaining the intricacies of Trika philosophy and modes of Reshi way of life. Praise of Kashmir cannot be contained within the narrow confines of language. The great Persian poetry of this land if divested of, the “portraiture of Kashmir” would look like stark naked Chinar. The warp and woof of the poetry of Kashmiri Persian poet Mullah Tahir Gani is nothing but beauty of Kashmir. Abul Asr Hafiz Jalandhari compared portraying of Kashmir to drawing a stream of milk by Farhad for his beloved Shirin from mount Bistun. Even poets like Thomas Moore and Mirza Ghalib who have never visited this land but read in books or heard from friends about the beauty of this land have produced masterpieces of literature and paid glowing tributes to this land. Thomas Moore introduced Kashmir to the world: Who has not heard of vale of Cashmere; With its roses the brightest that earth ever gave. Mirza Ghalib with just one couplet introduced this land to the galaxy of Urdu world: Mirs poetry is beyond description; it is no less than the garden of Kashmir. Deeply moved at the sight of Kashmir, Pandit Narayan Chakbast in rapture said: Every speck of my Kashmir is exceedingly hospitable; even the wayside stones offered me water to drink. Hordes of European travelers who visited this beautiful place have praised this land in most beautiful prose. Many called it “the Paradise on earth”.
This once-upon-a-time Paradise has now become a horrifying experience for its inhabitants and visitors alike. The stench emanating from trash dumps of Achan and dying Anchar lake, second biggest water body after Dal in Srinagar greets tourists. Stinking paradise has bruised imagination of many coming here with the hope to smell the pristine air of nature. It has shattered her dream of Kashmir many had heard or read about. It would not be wrong to pin maximum responsibility on the successive governments for destruction of this beautiful land. Seen in retrospect all Kashmiris have criminally contributed to the destruction of this land during the past six decades.
As the spring is not far and the so called tourist season is round the corner there is need for starting a drive- a national drive for preservation of Kashmir. Kashmir has a rich tradition of missionaries like Sheikh Noor-U-Din Wali and Hazrat Mir Syed Ali Hamdani who changed the political and social landscape of this land. There is need to revive that missionary zeal in our youth.
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