“It must be remembered that throughout history there have been atrocities and murderers, and for a time they seemed invincible. But in the end, they always pass away. “ — Mahatma Gandhi

Jammu and Kashmir has a plurality of a versatile, diverse and unique cultural blend, making it distinct from the rest of the country. It’s rich culture, heritage and inter woven mix of all the religions has made Kashmir a vibrant exemplar of Indian unity admist diversity. Kashmir’s cultural forms such as art, architecture, festivals, rituals and sagas which are embedded in ageless period of history has attracted people from all over the world, Kashmir is indeed a peculiar blend of cultural heritage, sacred places that display historical, cultural and religious diversity. Although Kashmir was one of the highest teaching center of Sanskrit and Parsi languages as early Indo-Aryan civilizations originated and developed. The introduction of Islam in Kashmir by Mir Sayed Ali Shah Hamdani became a realm for tolerance, brotherhood and sacrifice and it got easily accepted in the folds of rich Kashmir culture and heritage the history of Kashmir testifies to the fact that it is the Buddha’s religion, the teachings of Vedanta, the mysticism of Islam.   There are three important symbols of the connection between religions, namely Hinduism, Islam and Sikhism that represent the plural form of Kashmir as a focal point and is a symbol of Kashmiriyat.With the emergence of radical Islam and cross-border terrorism, the social strata structure  of Kashmir valley was disrupted mass killing, exodus of Kashmir Hindus & Islamic radicalization tainted the rich culture and heritage of Kashmir Valley. This could not survive for long due to the efforts of the Indian armed forces and the educated youth of Kashmir. Following the repeal of Articles 370 and 35A on 05 August 2019, there was a drastic change in Kashmir. One such effort in re-installing Kashmir’s great culture and heritage is Meeras Mahal located in the city of Sopore in Kashmir. It was founded by the late Atiqa Bano, a Kashmir educator.  It is the first and largest privately owned museum  where more than a thousand antique items showcasing the rich culture heritage and interwoven religion in Kashmir Valley are exhibited. The collection, private to Ms. Atiqa Bano consists of terracotta, carpentry, knitted, glass, ceramics, metal, (including jewelry), stones, manuscripts, ancient ornaments, coins, traditional dresses and accessories. The items were collected over a lifetime by Mrs. Bano. The museum has a wave of tourists from different parts of the country who come to explore various objects depicting the rich culture of Kashmir. She collected rare and unique items and exhibited them to attract more tourists and crowds to boost tourism, as well as to help the world showcase the Kashmir Valley’s rich cultural past.  The Meeras Mahal in the Kashmir Valley is a historical museum that preserves important cultural and historical symbols of the state’s past, seeks to help people get acquainted with the Kashmiri culture and heritage that has long accompanied this place. The museum has integrated 7000 artifacts that are an ethnographic and anthropological representation of Kashmir and its heritage and culture. Everyday objects that played a major role in the living conditions of people in Kashmir during the past until the end of the twentieth century are on display. These common objects give us an idea of the lifestyle and growth seen in the valley. Numerous writers, professors and NGOs have helped to preserve the heritage and culture of Meeras Mahal in recent years. Meeras mahal also has importance in today’s age where the valley has witnessed drastic demographic changes and radicalization in the past and a complete generation has lost touch with its culture and heritage.Such initiatives within Kashmir will see not only economic growth in the valley but will also pave a path for everlasting peace. These initiatives will help the young generation to know their rich culture and heritage and will also help them to overcome the radicalization. 

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