Deptt Of Culture Launches Initiative To Showcase JK’s Treasure Trove

Srinagar:  As a part of the novel initiative to showcase to the public the State’s treasure-trove of heritage and history, the Minister for Culture and Finance, Dr Haseeb Drabu on Saturday launched a pioneering project named “Object of the Month”.

Under the initiative, the Department of Archives, Archaeology and Museums, has started putting for public display a special museum object for one month each.

In the maiden series under the “Object of the Month” initiative for February, Dr Drabu today unveiled for public display the rare manuscript “Shahnama” at Dogra Art Museum, Mubarak Mandi Heritage Complex here.

Secretary Culture, Dilshad Khan, Director Archives, Archaeology and Museums, M S Zahid and other officers of the Department were present on the occasion.

“The initiative will facilitate display of rare and unique objects from the reserve collection of the museums in the state which could not be earlier displayed due to paucity of space in the museums,” Dr Drabu said.

The Minister said the “Object of the Month” activity will continue throughout the year in Dogra Art Museum, Jammu and Sri Pratap Singh Museum, Srinagar.

He said “Object of the Month” series will be a voyage for the public through rare manuscripts, priceless paintings, ancient scriptures and beautiful calligraphy in possession of the Department of Archives, Archaeology and Museums. “Aimed at rebuilding a culturally conscious society, the initiative is aimed at making the public conscious of J&K’s treasured heritage and history,” said Dr Drabu.

He said the basic concept behind this unique effort is to ‘rediscover, reflect and revive’. “It is like engaging with our past, to reorient our present and redefine our future,” he said.

Dr Drabu called for spreading awareness among the people about culturally rich heritage of the state and to attract youth for their active participation in preserving and promoting J&K’s distinct traditions.

The Minister, on this occasion, also inaugurated a mini museum at Mubarak Mandi Heritage Complex on the theme “Archive’s Selected Heritage” where historical documents, farmans, orders, books have been put on display for the public. The museum also houses several handwritten manuscripts including the scripts of Shahnama and Sikandernama in Persian that are of interest to history buffs.

Shahnama (the Book of Kings), is a long epic poem written by the renowned Persian poet   Ferdowsi. He started writing Shahnamah in 977 AD and completed it on 8 March 1010.  Consisting of some 50,000 “distichs” or couplets (2-line verses), the Shahnamah is the world’s longest epic poem written by a single poet. It is the national epic of Iran and tells mainly the mythical and to some extent the historical past of the Persian Empire from the creation of the world until the Islamic conquest of Persia in the 7th century. Iran, Azerbaijan, Afghanistan and the greater region influenced by the Persian culture including Georgia, Armenia, Turkey and Dagestan celebrate this national epic.

The work is of central importance in Persian culture, regarded as a literary masterpiece, and definitive of the ethno-national cultural identity of modern-day Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan.

Pertinently, the special Calendar published by the Directorate of Archives, Archaeology and Museums for 2017 has also incorporated paintings from Shahnama.

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