Srinagar: Acclaimed cultural critic Ravinder Kaul and this years Sangeet Natak Akademi Award winning theatre director Mushtaq Kak made their presence felt at Global Culture Summit at Abu Dhabi held recently.
They were among only three Indians who attended the Summit. The event was hosted by Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority.
Speaking about Culture in Conflict-Zones, Ravinder Kaul highlighted the deterioration in the cultural values of Kashmir Valley, which has been witnessing violence and suppression over the past 27 years.
He lauded the government and the people of the UAE in general and Abu Dhabi in particular for making all out efforts to promote Abu Dhabi as a major cultural centre of the world. While Abu Dhabi is making every effort to create a heaven in a desert, some vested interests are trying to convert Kashmir, heaven on earth, into a desert, he lamented.
Intervening in the discussion focused on The Arts and Fighting Climate Change Kaul said that the ancient civilizations had evolved a mechanism for living in peace with their surroundings, environment and living species other than human beings. He cited examples from his native Kashmir and said that till not very long ago there existed a centuries old tradition of keeping aside a handful of rice for stray dogs before one started eating a meal. Moreover, during the first shaving of hair of an infant, the hair was buried in earth along with walnuts that would eventually grow into walnut trees.
He also highlighted the tradition of various winter rituals and festivals in Kashmir when rice and other eatables would be left on the rooftop for the birds and cats to feed on during snowfall when they had hardly anything to feed on. Such laudable and shining practices were on the decline, while the worst and retrograde facets of religion and culture were being revived, he rued.
He also intervened in the debate The Unintended Consequences of Technological Change and said that technological advances like live-streaming etc. were creating a situation that would kill the joy of witnessing a live performance of music, theatre, opera or dance in the years to come. He also said that e-books were denying the readers the joy of holding a book in hand and experiencing the fragrance of an old book.
Mushtaq Kak, held screenings of his plays Ishq Malangi, Andha Yug and Chekhov in My Life on the sidelines of the Summit which were witnessed by participants from over 80 countries. Through these screenings he highlighted the point that culture has immense power of bringing people together and ensuring a peaceful world. All human beings have a right to express themselves through their culture, literature and language and this must be done in manner that would unite people rather than dividing them, he said.
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