“Kashmir has the same significance for India which Greece has for Europe, it was a major source of knowledge for our civilisation; Emporer Ashok conducted the 3rd Buddhist council here in which Mahayana started, Kanishka’s 4th Buddhist council was conducted here where Theravada Buddhism started. Kashmir remained a great source of knowledge up to the 7th century AD, in losing a part of Kashmir we have not just lost landscape but a mind scape.” said Professor Kapil Kapoor, Vice Chancellor, Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla, he was speaking at a seminar on ‘Reclaiming Kashmir, the Sacred Land’ at New Delhi’s Constitution Club of India.
The seminar was jointly conducted by India Policy Foundation and Jammu Kashmir Vichar Manch in remembrance of the carnage of Kashmiri Hindus that took place on July 13, 1931.
Prof Kapoor further explained the significance of Kashmir in Indian culture “Kashmir was a major center of learning be it grammar, poetry, literature or philosophy especially Shaiv Darshan students and scholars from far and wide came to learn from scholars such as Abhinav Gupt they went back to diffuse knowledge from Kashmir to various parts of India. It was here at Kashmir’s Pari Mahal that Dara Shikho translated 66 Upanishads and based on these translations enlightenment took place in Europe. Sanskrit studies started in Europe due to translations of Dara shikho.”
Prof Kapoor pointed out that the change in Kashmir’s education system lies at the heart of the radicalization of the Muslim populace “The main reason why Kashmir is today cut off from its roots is education, during the 1980’s such people were introduced into the education system who were more in the nature of proselytizers than educators.”
He cautioned the listeners about Islamic radicalization “what happened in Kashmir is a pointer to what can happen to rest of India if we are not careful. Samuel P Huntington had written ‘The Clash of Civilizations’ at the end of the 20th century but in India this clash is going on since 10th-11th century.”
Prof Kapoor felt that removal of Article 370 and trifurcation of the state are steps required for improving the people’s lives “firstly we need to separate Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. Secondly we need to do away with Article 370 Jammu and Kashmir should be treated like any other state of India if people from Kashmir can work and settle anywhere else in India then people from other states too should be able to go, work and settle there.”