Kavita Suri

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Koshur Music

An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri

Panun Kashmir

Milchar

Symbol of Unity

 
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Watan Ki Sair

Kashmiri children’s odyssey of quest for knowledge and the country's uniqueness

Mohammad Muneep, 11, living in far off Kangan area of Kashmir is chirping non-stop this days, telling his parents about his first-ever trip outside the troubled state of Jammu and Kashmir. A class 7th student, Muneep who made his first visit outside the valley, away from the bloodshed and exploding grenades in the troubled Valley, has retained the exciting memories of his visit.

He is among the group of 40 students of the Kashmir valley who went to various parts of the country on a trip – “Watan Ki Sair”- to various parts of the country organized by the army as part of its strategy to inculcate spirit of nationalism among the youth.

The children of Kashmir valley having borne the brunt of decade long terrorism and grown up in a disturbed environment need an odyssey of quest for knowledge and the country's uniqueness. 

This was the fourth batch of the students of the valley taken by the army on Watan Ki Sair, a unique plan aimed at exposing the children of the remote areas to the diversity of the country's culture and regions. 

Under the project, 40 young children of North Kashmir were taken on a fortnight's trip to see,amongst others,the historical and contemporary sites of the Red Fort, Qutab Minar, Bangla Sahib Gurdwara, Rashtrapati Bhavan, Teen Murti Bhavan, Jamia Masjid, Nehru Planetarium, Lotus temple, Birla Mandir etc. At Agra they witnessed the pristine beauty of the Taj Mahal, a monument of universal love and Fatehpur Sikri and in Jaipur they visited the glorious Hawa Mahal, Jaipur Palace and Jantar Mantar.

Major Manveet Singh, the accompanying army officer said that while taking off from the valley, the students were somehow shy who later forged friendship and were seen quite interactive. 'After returning from Watan Ki Sair, these children seem to be enriched by their experience and the wider horizon will help them to act as ambassadors of goodwill, peace and harmony in the valley', he felt. 

Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed who had an half-long long interaction with the students over tea,shared their experience of the tour and impressions about the places like Jaipur, Agra particularly, Taj Mahal, Agra Fort etc. This was a maiden trip for most of them outside the valley. The Mufti also called for greater interaction among the youth of different states, saying that this is imperative for their exposure on a wider canvass.

“We are encouraging package tours to various parts of the state, particularly to the valley. Besides, the army should arrange similar tours of the students from outside the state to the valley so that they can see Kashmir and get acquainted with its cultural heritage,” said the chief minister emphasizing the need for participation of students in the current winter sports especially skiing in Gulmarg.

While enquiring from the students about the places they visited, the Chief Minister wished the organizers having arranged their visit to Parliament House also. In future, he asked the organizers to maintain liaison with the state's Resident Commissioner in the union capital for arranging such visits.

While Muneep liked Delhi Zoo the most, Nighat, 5th class student of Shariefabad and Meenakshi Pandita, 7th class student of the army school in the same area were happy on having spent over a fortnight together. 'We dined, chatted and visited the places together', they said while narrating their experience of journey in train and visiting big cities. They too liked Delhi the most.

However, the pink city of Jaipur fascinated Nusrat Amin of Duabgah who also was thrilled to see Taj Mahal, Fatehpur Sikri and Jamia Masjid.Of the 40 students, only three had earlier visited Jammu and others remained confined to the valley till December 15, the day when they embarked upon the tour- six days in Delhi, three days in Agra and four days in Jaipur among other places.

'We had left the valley as strangers and returned as friends, very good friends', most of them said, wishing the children of the other parts of the country too to see and interact with them in the valley. 

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