Accept the concept of Kashmiriyat: Aiyar

In the media The Hindu - 1st November 2006
SRINAGAR: The Union Minister for Panchayati Raj and Sports, Mani Shankar Aiyar said on Sunday that it was impossible to be a Kashmiri without being Indian. Addressing an International seminar on ''Approaches to Kashmir Studies" organised by the Institute of Kashmir Studies, University of Kashmir, Mr Aiyar said, ''We have to accept Kashmiriyat (tradition of living together)," adding ''we wish to be one country with diverse cultures and religions." Referring to these he said ''in a remote village in Tamil Nadu a villager proudly says that he is an Indian though he has never been to Delhi and his culture, language and costume do not match with those of people in the north."

He said that Kashmiris had forgotten what Kashmir is. "It (Kashmir) has to be part of a composite nation". He said that the Centre set up by Kashmir University could play a big role in strengthening Kashmiriyat.

  Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said that Kashmiriyat was to live and let live. ''It used to be part of our lives before the start of militancy but now it is only to live. We need to change that."

Governor S.K. Sinha said that that Kashmiriyat was not a religion but a culture 'influenced by three religions Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism.'

He said there were many schools of thought in Islam but it was Sufi Islam which came to Kashmir.

Mister Mani Shankar Aiyar is the SAF India Chairperson.