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INTACH Kashmir Chapter, in collaboration with the National Mission for Manuscripts, IGNCA New Delhi organized an awareness workshop on manuscript conservation and preservation in Srinagar. The workshop aimed to shed light on the need to conserve and protect manuscripts from various threats, including environmental, biological, and other deteriorative factors. Key activities of the workshop included; a presentation by Mr. Saleem Beg , Convener INTACH J&K Chapter, highlighting the importance of manuscript conservation and preservation, emphasizing the challenges and strategies for effective preservation; display of conservation materials for participants providing an opportunity to know about the materials used in manuscript conservation. This interactive session provided valuable insights into the techniques employed by conservationists. A range of manuscripts that have undergone restoration and preservation were also displayed.

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INTACH Kashmir has been involved in mapping, documenting and preserving the Cultural Heritage of Kashmir for past two decades now. Some of the major programmes that we initially engaged with related to the built heritage of the region, these include the Conservation of Aali Masjid, Amar Singh College, Mughal Gardens as well as reconstruction of the Dastgir Sahab Shrine, Khanqah-i-Maulla and other projects of similar nature. Nevertheless, despite its limited resources INTACH has actively engaged in efforts to preserve and promote both Tangible as well as Intangible Heritage of this culturally rich land. Residential workshops that we conducted at numerous sites with students and teachers on Creative Education are an important part of this endeavor. Additionally, to promote a better understanding of the past, numerous exhibitions were curated on Calligraphy, Urban Spaces, Sacred Architecture and Manuscripts in Srinagar, Jammu and Delhi. We have been on look out for the archival, oral and textual material which to our understanding though scattered and undocumented, is available in individual or institutional possession. This material is an important resource that helps in unraveling the rich cultural legacy of Kashmir. The present exhibition is a significant effort in this direction. The genesis of Insha-i- Darab A call from Mrs. Nighat Shafi Pandit somewhere in early this year to Mr. Saleem Beg to see a cache of manuscripts she had come into possession proved intriguing. The manuscripts forgotten and locked in an old rusty suitcase had been acquired by her from the family of Khwaja Mohamad Amin Darab some years back.. Though the trunk had already been examined before Mr. Beg’s visit, yet somehow had failed to excite the interests of the examiners. Yet, she persevered, safe in the knowledge that the trunk at the very least enshrined a cherished memory. And so the trunk was opened at the request of Mr. Beg and then again in front her husband Shafi Pandit, Saleem Beg and Pirzada Muhammad Ashraf revealing the archives of the last major Persianate Poet of 20th century Kashmir: Khwaja Muhammad Amin Drabu- Darab-i Kashmiri. We at INTACH found this personal archive to be rich cultural value and a memory that unfolded the life and times of Darab Saheb, his scholarly pursuits, interest in educational and craft merchandise. we mined into the collection and examined folio after folio and assembled a selection into a thread that gives an insight into his life and also the times and the then prevailing cultural and literary landscape. Also, it brought to fore his way of engaging with the community, scripting for them invites, writing marsiya on passing away of eminent persons and versified tareeks on deaths Madai( Tareekh) or for inscribing the verse on inauguration of a shrine or mosque. religious and educational activities. And that is how idea of an exhibition took shape within the INTACH team.

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To promote a better understanding of the earth’s dynamic processes and the critical role it plays in the sustenance of life on the planet, and to inculcate a sense of responsibility among the students at the crucial stage of their upbringing, INTACH Kashmir Chapter, in collaborationwith Kashmir Harvard Institute, organized an awareness workshop on International Geodiversity Day (6th October). The workshop focused on creating awareness about the significance of Geodiversity that creates the conditions wherein life develops and thrives, and underpins all the environments and ecosystems on the earth. Scientific knowledge about how geological and geomorphological processes occur in nature is crucial to mitigate the risks associated with earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes, flooding, landslides, and other types of natural disasters. This knowledge also supports the development of smart solutions with regard to land use planning and land management.

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In order to sensitize the custodians of precious collections of manuscripts, INTACH Kashmir, in collaboration with Department of Archives, Archaeology, and Museums J&K, and with the support of Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) New Delhi, organised a 5-day workshop on ‘Preventive Conservation of Manuscripts’ at SPS Museum, Srinagar from 23rd – 27th October, 2018. The workshop aimed at imparting training through lectures and practical demonstration to equip the participants/ custodians of manuscripts with necessary expertise and knowledge about scientific preservation and preventive conservation. The participation for the workshop has been drawn from Research and Oriental Library, College libraries, Department of Archives, SPS Museum and private collectors from the City of Srinagar.

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Rafugar or 'darning' is a specialized technique which is traditionally used to mend holes or worn areas in fabrics, using needle and thread alone. The technique involves matching the colour and weave of the fabric so that the repaired patch merges with the rest of the fabric. Rafugar is a gradually declining craft that needs promotion and efforts for long term survival. Rafugari entails textiles, tapestry, shawls, and woolens. INTACH, Kashmir Chapter in collaboration with SPS Museum & Directorate of Archives, Archaelogy & Museums J&K organized a workshop on Rafugari From 17th to 22nd September, 2018 at new SPS Museum. The workshop was supported by Community, Craft and Heritage Division -INTACH, New Delhi.

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As part of its natural heritage conservation program, INTACH Kashmir takes up restoration of springs around Manasbal Lake as a pilot. In the initial phase of restoration drive, 50 springs were restored around the lake. The life line of any community is water. In Kashmir, nature has bestowed with a rich resource of water in the form of lakes, rivers and above all springs. These springs were a perennial water source for local communities. Unfortunately most and a large number of these springs are facing extinction due to neglect which results water shortages in villages and at some places we have water refugees or climate migrants. The springs are critical part of our survival and needs to be preserved. Keeping in view the importance of preservation of these natural resources which is our natural heritage also, INTACH Kashmir initiated a drive to restore the springs. A local NGO from district Ganderbal, Heeling Touch Foundation is involved to identify the springs around Manasbal lake which are on the verge of extinction. There was an overwhelming response from the local inhabitants during the restoration process.

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Shireen Qalam - The five-day exhibition of old manuscripts & rare art objects was organized by INTACH Kashmir in collaboration with the Jammu and Kashmir Academy of Art Culture and Languages, Directorate of Archives, Archaeology and Museums, Directorate of Tourism, Directorate of Libraries, Shasvat Art Gallery, Peerzada Collection and Hakim Collection. Also, there was a workshop on the art of Islamic Calligraphy there. The program was organized from 7th – 11th June, 2018 at Conference hall, TRC Srinagar. Many old manuscripts & calligraphy works were displayed at the exhibition. The exhibition offered a unique look of different types of rare Islamic manuscripts. One of them is ‘Majooma-Ilm-Ikhlaq’, a nicely written manuscript in the Persian language in 1882 AD. Another type of manuscript is ‘Sad Pand Luqman’ of Hakim Luqman, which is a Persian manuscript scribed by Peer Baksh of Punjab in Khate Nakhoon on ethics. This manuscript written in 1870 AD is specially ornamented with gold and the borders are decorated with pictures of animals and birds. A very warm response was received from the people including locals as well as non-locals who came to the exhibition.

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The old city relived its memory of being the epicenter of art & craft this month. In a week-long exhibition-cum-workshop, art lovers gathered in huge numbers to celebrate the historic art of writing in Kashmir – Islamic Calligraphy. The program, which was organized to revive the cultural ethos of Shehar-i-Khas in terms of artistic skills, was first scheduled from 17-23 July, but on public demand it was extended up to 24th July. The workshop was designed to provide a dynamic skill oriented space to accommodate larger audience, without putting any barriers of formal registration or time-bounding schedule. In seven days, around 14000 people visited the workshop including students, social activists, journalists, artists, government officials, tourists etc. The exhibition was open to all calligraphy artists to showcase their work. The exhibited works of local artists were highly appreciated by all visitors. The program was organized by Kashmir Chapter of INTACH, in collaboration with the Department of Tourism Kashmir, J&K Academy of Art, Culture, and Languages, and a local The event was inaugurated by a renowned master calligrapher, Ustad Muhammad Amin Kundangar, in presence of Director Tourism Kashmir, Secretary J&K Academy of Art, Culture, and Languages, Convener INTACH J&K Chapter, eminent Journalists and Social Activists, and a gathering of locals.

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