Education key to Kashmir’s peace and prosperity: Patil (Lead)

May 26th, 2008 - 9:09 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Pratibha Patil

Jammu/Srinagar, May 26 (IANS) The route to peace and prosperity for Jammu and Kashmir lies in education, President Pratibha Patil Monday said, urging the youth to make the state progressive by “studying hard and excelling in the field of education”. Inaugurating the Bhaderwah town campus of Jammu University, Patil said: “The route to peace and prosperity of Jammu and Kashmir lies in education.” In her address, she lauded the efforts of the state government in expanding the avenues of education - creating three new universities, several colleges and schools all across the state.

“This is the sure way of empowerment of the people,” Patil said to loud cheers from the crowds, who had returned disappointed Sunday when she could not make it to Bhaderwah because of bad weather in Gulmarg, where she was spending the weekend.

The president apologised to the people for the inconvenience caused by cancellation of her earlier visit.

She was all praise for the beauty of Bhaderwah, which she said was more beautiful than what she had been told. “It is of bewitching beauty,” she remarked.

Bhaderwah is the native town of Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, who listed how his government has tried to reach out to the people through education, healthcare and road connectivity.

The president said she was confident that the “youth of Jammu and Kashmir will avail all these opportunities and take the state forward, matching the standards of the 21st century.”

It is the first ever visit by any president to Bhaderwah in the post-independence history.

Earlier in the day in Srinagar, President Patil inaugurated the Institute of Kashmir Studies at Kashmir University.

Addressing the people there, Patil called for building a future of hope and optimism for the state. She said: “It is a collective endeavour in which every person is a participant and a contributor. It requires the government, civil society and all communities of people to work together.”

“Kashmir has had a rich and vibrant cultural history and a tradition of learning and scholarly pursuit since times immemorial. Its enchanting beauty has attracted thinkers and philosophers, seers and sages, kings and noblemen, travellers and traders from far and wide.”

The president also said that Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism and Buddhism have been a part of the spiritual landscape of the state, giving rise to “a cohesive, historical and cultural identity of the people of the state called Kashmiriyat”.

The Institute of Kashmir Studies would work under the aegis of the South Asian Federation (SAF).

Prominent SAF members present on the occasion were former Sri Lankan president Chandrika Kumaratunga, Women’s Affairs Minister of Afghanistan Husna Bano Ghazanfar, Unesco goodwill ambassador Madanjeet Singh, besides other dignitaries from the Maldives, Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh.

Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, speaking on the occasion, said: “Setting up of the institute is a significant step and I am hopeful it will serve as a beacon for the scholars and interested people from far and wide to learn about Kashmir, its history, culture and the intellectual treasure of its people.”

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