Bangalore, Jan 9: The two-day brainstorming sessions on issues related to Jammu and Kashmir concluded Sunday with the resolve to change the discourse, by presenting and propagating the cultural legacy of Kashmir in the right perspective.
A strategic gathering of academic and legal experts, senior RSS functionaries and political leadership discussed the road map to correct the discourse on Jammu and Kashmir, which has been distorted by forces inimical to India’s interests.
The national confluence of scholars was organised to mark the conclusion of millennium year celebrations of Kashmir’s great philosopher Acharya Abhinavagupta. Art of Living Foundation hosted the 40-session scholars meet. Sri Sri Ravishankar has presided over the year-long celebrations of Acharya Abhinavagupta.
Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar termed Acharya Abhinavagupta as the “greatest philosopher on earth”. Addressing the gathering of over 300 scholars, strategists and legal luminaries, he said Acharya Abhinavagupta was the embodiment of Indian thought, which has always questioned established norms and created positive change.
“We have been the knowledge destination of the world, even thousands of years ago. Had there been a system of international ranking those days, Indian thinkers would have certainly bagged all the positions from 1st to 10th,” he said, to resounding applause.
The Union Minister also promised every possible support for research and studies on Acharya Abhinavagupta’s works.
RSS Sarkaryawah Suresh alias Bhaiyyaji Joshi said there’s been a dedicated effort to present a distorted image of Kashmir to the world. “When we say Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India, it is not a political statement at all. It has been an intrinsic part of India in every way since thousands of years. We are celebrating thousand years of Acharya Abhinavagupta, who was instrumental in propagating the basic principles of Bharatiya thought through Shaiva philosophy – from Kashmir in the north to the southernmost areas of Bharat,” he said.
“Jammu and Kashmir is the land of Shakti, of Ma Vaishnodevi temple, Kheer Bhawani temple... It has been the land from where teachings on cultural values have emanated. We have to work towards making Kashmir the same land of knowledge, peace and awakening that it was,” Bhaiyyaji told the august gathering.
Acharya Abhinavagupta is a world-renowned philosopher and the greatest exponent of Shaivism. Exactly a thousand years ago, it is said, he along with 1200 disciples walked into a cave in Bheerwah, Kashmir, and became one with Shiva. Today, over 50 universities across the world are conducting research on Abhinavagupta’s works.
Art of Living Founder Sri Sri Ravishankar: In his address, Sri Sri Ravishankar said true intellectuals are celebrated beyond centuries and Acharya Abhinavagupta was such an amazing thinker and philosopher. Remembering that his first-ever discourses were based on Shiv Sutras, he said “Om Namah Shivaya” is a chant that connects India from Kashmir till Rameshwaram.
“Today’s program is only the conclusion of year-long celebrations, but Acharya Abhinavagupta’s message has to be taken to everyone across India and the world,” Ravishankar said.
“Those who had ruled this country till now had had first set up a discourse and based on this discourse they established certain academia and the arguments put forth by this academia are not based on any research, rather those arguments only worked to cement their discourse. Unfortunately, after country’s independence, the discourse that should have been established based on facts and evidence could not be established. I feel that the country should free itself from all kinds of “isms” and should also free itself from the Left or Right Wing camps and set up a discourse based on facts, correct information and evidence. This discourse will be in the national interest, integrates the society and will be in our country’s interest,” Arun Kumar said.
It was indeed a strategic group of experts who came together to discuss the issue of Jammu Kashmir at the sprawling campus of world-renowned spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravishankar. The inaugural session was addressed by J&K Deputy Chief Minister Dr Nirmal Singh and RSS all-India executive committee member Sah-Prachar Pramukh J. Nandkumar with the active participation of pan-India scholars.
The National Scholars Confluence (Vidvat Sangam) was inaugurated on 6th January 2016 at the Art of Living International Centre, Bengaluru in the presence Sri Sri Ravishankar.
J & K Dy CM Dr Nirmal Singh: Addressing the inaugural ceremony Dr Nirmal Singh said: “There is a concerted effort by anti-India forces to polarise the people of Kashmir, especially the youth. Religious factors have nothing to do with this polarisationThe recent turmoil is a case in point. The last three generations of Jammu Kashmir’s leadership have also continually misled the people of Kashmir. Nevertheless, there is still a lot of scope for creating a positive atmosphere in Kashmir.”
“Acharya Abhinavagupta’s philosophy and his works constitute the cultural legacy of Kashmir. It has to be researched, understood and popularised in the proper context. His work is as relevant today as it was a thousand years ago. When the youth get in touch with their roots, they will be empowered to thwart the negative forces,” Dr Nirmal Singh said.
Nandkumar: RSS Akhil Bharatiya Sah-Prachar Pramukh J. Nandakumar in his keynote address on Friday said Acharya Abhinavagupta embodied the greatness of Bharat’s saints. “Bharat’s history has been one of the constant renaissances. A lot of great people have contributed to our culture, values and ethos. Acharya Abhinavagupta was amongst the greatest such philosophers,” he said.
Referring to the constant efforts to sideline and eclipse the evolved Indian philosophies and traditions, Nandakumar said it was understandable when the British strategically undermined everything Indian in order to effectively colonise. However, it has been tragic that even the leadership of independent India has towed the same lines, he said.
“Acharya Abhinavagupta has still not been discussed and researched upon as much as it should have been. There's an imperative need to learn the true characteristics of our history and our philosophies. India's sanskriti, its culture is a confluence of the triveni of Veda-Tantra-Yoga. Abhinavagupta is an essential part of this,” he said.
Eight dialogue sessions: The National Scholars Confluence included eight simultaneous dialogue sessions on different aspects of Abhinavagupta’s works as also current issues – issues having far-reaching implications vis-à-vis Jammu Kashmir state. This mega-event was attended by several Vice-Chancellors, former defence personnel of Indian Armed Forces, professors, columnists, legal luminaries, senior advocates, former judges and other eminent members of the civil society.
The two-day scholars’ meet involved parallel seminars on different disciplines on following themes.
Each of these eight themes had five sub-themes discussed in separate sessions. So, a total of 40 sessions were organized in the two-day meet.
Ashutosh Bhatnagar, Director JKSC said that the session on “Geo-polity of Himalayan Region” had vibrant discussions by strategic experts and former defence personnel on PoJK (Pak-occupied Jammu Kashmir), CoJK (China-occupied Jammu Kashmir) and Gilgit-Baltistan.
The dialogue session on “Legal and Constitutional Status of Jammu Kashmir” involved legal luminaries who discussed the relevance and misuse of Article 370 and Article 35A in the light of recent Supreme Court decisions where the apex court had pulled up the High Court of Jammu & Kashmir for overreaching their ambit on Article 370.
Millennium Year Celebrations: The Acharya Abhinavagupta Millennium Year Celebrations Committee headed by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has been celebrating thousand years of Acharya Abhinavagupta since January 2016.
Sri Sri Ravishankar was convinced of the relevance of Abhinavagupta’s teachings and consented to preside over the Celebrations Committee. Renowned journalist Jawahar Lal Kaul is the Executive President of this Millennium Year Celebration Committee. The celebrations started on 4th January 2016 as a thousand lights were lit as homage to the Acharya. Many academic and cultural programmes were organized across India in 2016 as part of the celebrations.
“The yearlong Millennium celebrations of Acharya Abhinavagupta, the genius of Kashmir has evoked tremendous interest and enthusiastic response, not only among scholars and students but also among common people all across India. More than a dozen universities and institutions of art and culture have participated in these celebrations generating a great debate on relevance of his philosophy to modern India. It is therefore natural that the concluding event of the year-long celebrations should be celebrated as a multidimensional conference involving hundreds of university teachers and scholars in various fields to meet in Bangalore and exchange ideas and experiences about this great philosopher and also discuss various aspects of Jammu and Kashmir,” said Jawaharlal Kaul, Working Chairman of the Acharya Abhinavagupta Millennium Celebrations Committee and President of the Jammu Kashmir Study Centre.
Organizing organizations: Jammu Kashmir Study Centre (JKSC) is an independent and objective think-tank dedicated to the study of Jammu Kashmir in its totality. The aim of JKSC is to dispel misinformation and create awareness about facts relating to Jammu Kashmir. JKSC was established in 2011 to undertake policy relevant studies on all aspects of this strategically important Indian state and disseminate the outcome of these studies in a right perspective in the public domain.
The partner institutions of JKSC for this programme include Sri Sri Ravishankar University, Bhubaneshwar; Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts, New Delhi; Indian Council for Philosophical Research, New Delhi and the Makhanlal Chaturvedi National University of Journalism and Communication, Bhopal.