Downtown students walk through their ‘forgotten’ heritage

SRINAGAR: Some 200 students drawn from various government and private schools Wednesday participated in a ‘heritage walk’ organized by M.P. Higher Secondary School, Bagh-e-Dilawar Khan and College of Education, M.A. Road, Srinagar.

Touring through the labyrinthine interiors of the old city, the students covered almost four kilometers visiting many places of historical and religious importance.

Starting from Makhdoom Mandav, the students carrying placard inscribed with slogans like ‘Save Heritage, Save Kashmir’, travelled through Khankah-e-Moulla, Shah-i-Masjid  aka Pathar Masjid, Ziyarat Hazrat Sheikh Yaqoob Sarfi, Budshah Tomb Zaina Kadal, Jamia Masjid Nowhatta concluding the tour at Naqashband Sahab Khwaja Bazar.

Carrying a public address system, Dr Shafiq Ahmad Shafai, teacher, narrated the importance of each place the students sojourned at.

Earlier, eminent Kashmiri satirist, poet and historian, Zareef Ahmad Zareef, who was called to the occasion as the chief guest, addressed the students and teachers enabling them to take a virtual tour into their past.  “You must understand the uniqueness in the Kashmiri culture that sets it apart from the rest,” Zareef explained. “Ours is a land of sufi saints whose message was subtle, unambiguous and comforting.”

Reminding the gathering of the grace and glory of the Babademb, Zareef described how “our misdemeanours have inflicted an irrevocable damage not only on our social and moral fabric but our ecosystem as well.”

“In our times, rains for instance would bring cheer and comfort on the faces of everyone contrary to what’s happening today,” he said. “Even a light drizzle sends shivers down our spine for fear of floods.”

Zareef cautioned if the trend continued in the same vein, the day wasn’t too far when the equation would tip everything else over on its head. “The floods of the last year somehow spared us but Nature wouldn’t be as compassionate always,” he said.

He also commented on how religious message was being manipulated to bring in distortions of various kinds only to ‘create confusion’. “The places you intend to visit today are sacred in their nature that have served us to lead us on a path of piety, inclusiveness and tolerant,” he said. “The teaching of our sufi saints are in concurrence with what our dear Prophet (SAW) taught us, hence they must live in our lives as beacons of light.”

Quoting the Prophet of Islam, Zareef said Islam rejects all forms of extremism and lays stress on adopting a ‘middle path’. “Its (Islam) principles and laws are based on a natural system of balance, appealing across cultural, ethnic and geographical boundaries,” he said. “Some commandments of the Quran and the Prophet’s practice on the same issues appear, on the face of it, to be, in some cases, particularly forceful, and, in other cases, unexpectedly soft and flexible.”

Narrating the history of his school, Principal, Nayeem Ahmad Fazili, said: “A walk through our heritage highlights our commitment to preserve our ancientness in all its sanctity. A nation, if cut off from the remembrance of its past, is bound to degenerate and ultimately perish.”

The aim of the walk, he said, was to sensitize the younger generation about their heritage to inculcate a sense of an understanding of the bygone era where simplicity, sincerity and spirituality were the hallmarks that people lived their life with.

Fazal Elahi and Prof. L.S. Sodhi from the College of Education also walked along the students. 



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