Srinagar: Union Home Minister and Minister of Cooperation, Shri Amit Shah addressed the Vitasta Mahotsav organized by the Ministry of Culture as the chief guest in Srinagar today. Several dignitaries including the Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir Shri Manoj Sinha, Union Minister Smt. Meenakshi Lekhi, Union Home Secretary and Secretary, Ministry of Culture were present on this occasion.
In his address, Shri Amit Shah said that this is the same Vitasta, which has been witness to many researches in Kashmir for thousands of years and also has the privilege of being an amalgamation place of many cultures. This Jhelum has also seen Adishankar. He said that scholars of every field have come out of this land and made their arts famous not only in India but in the whole world and assimilation of all these can be seen in today’s culture of Kashmir.
Union Home Minister said that Jhelum has seen difficult times, the stream of Vitasta has also seen blood, attacks by fanatics, many regime changes and Jhelum has also been a witness to the horrific scourge of terrorism. He said that Vitasta has given affection, love and enthusiasm to its children by incorporating all these in herself. Shri Shah said that those who consider Jhelum as a river, do not recognize human culture. Jhelum is the witness to the highest level of human civilization and Vitasta is a festival to show the true Kashmir to the whole world. He said that Jhelum is the witness to the highest level of human civilization and Vitasta is a festival to show the true Kashmir to the whole world. The objective of Vitasta Mahotsav is to acquaint the whole country with the great cultural heritage, diversity and uniqueness of Kashmir. The festival focuses on the folk beliefs associated with the Vitasta (Jhelum) river, which has been considered very sacred since Vedic times. This river finds mention in many ancient texts like Neelmat Purana, Vitasta Mahamaya, Harcharita Chintamani, Rajatarangini and it is believed that the pure currents of this revered river destroy all the evils of human nature.
Shri Amit Shah said that Kashmir was called the land of knowledge by Adishankar, the heaven on earth by Mughal rulers and the appropriate land to churn the thoughts of Buddhism by Samrat Ashoka. He said that culture is not made in a year or by one art and genre, culture is made by assimilation of many aspects of human life. Our India is one of the very few countries where such stream of culture continuously flows and we should be proud of this. Such a continuous stream of ancient culture flows in every part of our country, which together make the Ganges of Indian culture. He said that once upon a time British who ruled us considered our diversity as our weakness, but when the ruler saw from a constructive point of view, unity in diversity is our specialty and our greatest strength. He said that the specialty of India is our culture of living together with everyone and this Vitasta Mahotsav is the ambassador of spreading this specialty of Kashmir to the whole of India and the world. He said that through the Vitasta Mahotsav, Kashmir becomes an all-encompassing ideology and culture. It is this place only where music and knowledge developed and reached to their peaks, that’s why Adi Shankar called it Sharda Kshetra and established Sharda Peeth here.
Union Home Minister said that people who have seen the last 30-40 years of history of Kashmir, find it a disputed and disturbed region. It is the nature of Kashmir to move forward like an immortal flame despite having many issues. He said that the Kashmir in which more than 40,000 people were killed by terrorism a few years ago, the same Kashmir is moving forward today by assimilating arts through Vitasta Mahotsav. Shri Shah told the youth of the valley that they should have laptop, books and pen instead of stones and weapons in their hands. He said that hatred towards anyone has not been the history of Kashmir, the Kashmir has accepted everyone who comes. Like a playing, jumping and flowing river, the culture of Kashmir always moved ahead and never looked back.
Shri Amit Shah said that after the removal of Article 370 by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, peace is established in Jammu & Kashmir. New dimensions of development are being created, institutions of higher education are being built, industries are being set up, Panchayati Raj has been established and many types of administrative reforms have been taken place at the grassroots level without any opposition and now Kashmir has to look ahead. In such a situation, this Vitasta Mahotsav has great importance. He said Under Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat, Shri Modi has given a vision to all the cultures of the country to move forward with each other through many programs like Kashi Telugu Sangamam, Tamil Saurashtra Sangamam, Kashi Tamil and Vitasta Mahotsav. He said that this process will connect, strengthen and put us once again at our aspired place of the world.
Union Home Minister said that about 1,900 artists from Kashmir and about 150 artists from across the country will exhibit and exchange their art in the Vitasta Mahotsav starting in Kashmir today. He said that Only art, culture and history can unite the country and Vitasta Mahotsav is a unique event to unite India. This festival is a unique event where cuisines from all over the country will be available to local people and artists from all over the country will also enjoy Kashmiri cuisine. Shri Shah said that until we do not use our culture and art in connecting the country, we will not be able to use this unprecedented power of ours for the benefit of the country. He said that despite our different cultures, languages, costumes and food habits, we are all Indians and this is our great strength. He said that no country in the world has as much diversity as we have in India.
Shri Amit Shah said that Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has decided to celebrate Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat as well as the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav and put three goals in front of everyone. First, every child of the country should know about our freedom struggle and freedom fighters and the culture of patriotism should be awakened in them. Secondly, we should glorify the achievements made by the country in 75 years in the whole world. Third, on the basis of the achievements of these 75 years, take a resolution about where will India be in every field in 2047, the centenary year of independence. He said that the time of 75 to 100 years is the time to convert this resolution into achievement. Shri Shah said that the resolution we take today will turn into the achievement of the entire nation at the time of completion of 100 years and our India will become the India as imagined by the leaders of the freedom struggle. He said that if every person takes a resolution in the year of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, then 130 crore steps of 130 crore people will take the country forward. He said that the Vitasta Mahotsav is the festival of upcoming future of Kashmir, a link connecting our glorious history with the bright future, and Kashmir and the country move forward, create a great India, this is the goal of this festival.