Monday, August 13, 2012


Srinagar, August 13 (Only Kashmir):  – Chief Minister, Mr. Omar Abdullah Monday inaugurated the exhibition of ancient manuscripts of Holy Quran organized by Jammu and Kashmir Academy of Art, Culture and Languages here.
 “It has been a delight to be able to see, first hand, the wealth of treasures that is with the Academy of Art, Culture & Languages”, the Chief Minister wrote in the Visitors’ Book after taking a round of the exhibition. “It is our duty and responsibility to protect this wealth of Quranic manuscripts for future generation”, he added. He complimented the Academy for organizing an important event like this and said it would help spread awareness about the State’s outstanding legacy.While witnessing the old manuscripts of Holy Quran prepared by renowned Kashmiri and other Calligraphers utilizing various calligraphic innovations, the Chief Minister granted Rs. 10 lakh for digitalization of these rear manuscripts. He directed the Cultural Academy to take required steps to ensure preservation and protection of this rear treasure of the State in a befitting way.Srinagar plays host to a two-day exhibition of Quranic manuscripts and calligraphy specimen, the first major display held in the summer capital of Jammu & Kashmir three decades after the Al-Hijra Exhibition in 1981.
 Over one hundred manuscripts of Holy Quran including the one known as Nuskha Fatehullah Kashmiriis more than 700 years old. It is written by Fatehullah Kashmiri in 1238 AD.
            Other manuscripts that attract visitors’ attention include a giant size copy of the Quran calligraphed by Mohiuddin Qureshi about 200 years back; copy of the holy book dating back to 1594 A.D and considered to be the only sample in the world written in saffron ink and a copy of the Quran gifted by the 16th century famous saint of Kashmir, Sheikh Hamzah, to one of his disciples. Among the commentaries of the Quran, significant manuscripts on display include Tafseer-i- Al-Kashaaf by Allama Zamakhshari relating to 12 century A. D. that the 15th century ruler of Kashmir, Zain al Abideen, is believed to have obtained from Makkah, the 12th century A. D. Tafseer-i-Kabir ,Persian commentary, Jawahir u Tafseer by Allama Tantavi and Tafseer-i-Baizavee of 14th century A. D”. On display are also the impressions of the Prophet Muhammad’s (SAW) seal, his letter to the ruler of Persia inviting him to Islam, letter written by Prophet Solomon to Queen Sheeba and the first revelation of the Quran written on the bone of a camel. In the calligraphy section, celebrated artist Sadiqain’s calligraphy of the verses of Ar-Rehman, a chapter of the holy Quran, is the centre of attraction.
            Secretary JKAACL, Khalid Bashir Ahmad explained the Holy memorabilia to the Chief Minister and described the exhibition as a “window on rich cultural heritage of Kashmir”.
            “It is after 31 years that an exhibition of manuscripts of this size has been held in Kashmir on the subject”, he said adding, “this would bring people face to face with their glorious tradition”. He said that selected collection of manuscripts, relevant to the subject, from the Departments of Archives, Archaeology & Museums and Libraries & Research has added richness to the exhibition. A copy of the Quran from private collection, he said, was specially allowed to be displayed in the exhibition for its uniqueness. The manuscript, owned by Qazis originally hailing from the old city quarter of Naqshband Sahab, is the full text of the Quran calligraphed on a 25 ft x 2.5 inch scroll paper with 99 names or attributes of Allah. It had been gifted by the patron saint of Kashmir, Sheikh Hamzah, to Miram Bazaz, the great grandfather of the Qazis.Khalid said that he is exploring to hold a major exhibition of Kashmir Manuscripts in collaboration with the National Mission Manuscripts and other government departments. The focus of the viewers’ interest remained the early 13th century A. D. manuscript calligraphed by Fateh Ullah Kashmiri. The importance of the manuscript lies in the time of its calligraphy that moves backward into history the earliest presence of Muslims in Kashmir by about a century. Till now, it is believed that Muslims appeared on the scene of Kashmir in the 14th century following the arrival of Islamic preachers from Central Asia. (OK)


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