DyCM launches ‘Basohli Anthem’ to mark Vivekananda Jayanti

*Priya highlights efforts to preserve, promote rich heritage

Excelsior Correspondent
KATHUA, Jan 13: Culture plays an important role in the development of any nation. It represents a set of shared attitudes, values, goals and practices. Culture and creativity manifest themselves in almost all economic, social and other activities. A country as diverse as India is symbolized by the plurality of its culture, Deputy Chief Minister Dr. Nirmal Singh said this during ‘Swami Vivekananda Jayanti Celebrations’ at Basohli.
Minister of State for Education, Tourism and Culture Priya Sethi was also present on the occasion. The function was organized by Vishwasthali – a Basholi-based NGO working to revive the dying Basohli art.
As many as 200 students from different schools of Pathankot, Jammu, Kathua, Samba and Udhampur participated in different events organized to mark Vivekananda Jayanti celebrations.
At the outset, Dr. Singh launched ‘Basohli Anthem’, a Tele-film to promote art, culture and heritage of Basohli besides attracting tourists. Speaking on the occasion, he said that it is a first of its kind initiative in Jammu region commenced in collaboration with Tourism Department to promote world famous Basohli paintings, Basholi pashmina shawl and tourist attractions  viz. Atal Setu and Ranjit Sagar Dam.
He also lauded the efforts of Vishwasthali to revive the indigenous art of Basholi and popularise it in the international market. He said Kashmir and Basholi (in Jammu province) are the only places in the country where pashmina shawls are manufactured on looms and further stated that concerted efforts are underway to conserve and revive the world famous Basohli paintings besides reviving pristine glory of historical Basohli town.
To increase the tourist foot fall in the region, DyCM announced that DPR for converting Lakhanpur-Dunnera road to National Highway has been prepared and will soon be submitted to the concerned department for early approval.
Invoking the teachings of Swami Vivekananda, Dr. Singh said Vivekananda’s teachings have left tremendous impacts towards the enrichment of Indian socio-cultural traditions besides bringing spiritual reawakening among the Indians in the 19th century and is popularly known as the “Intellectual Monk of India” among the youth.
In her address, Priya Sethi appreciated the founder of Vishwasthali for organizing an impressive event to mark the 155th birth anniversary of the social reformer, philosopher and great thinker Swami Vivekananda.
Priya stressed that the younger generation must be taught the teachings of Swami Vivekananda to impart them moral values and enlightenment as it’s the youth that can bring the revolutionary change.
The Minister called for collective efforts to restore, preserve and promote the rich heritage of Basohli. She said recently, Bike expedition rallies and activities were organized by the Tourism Department to explore the virgin tourist destinations of Basohli and other tourism potential areas of J&K.
She expressed her desire to give worldwide recognition to the paintings, shawls and other local art work of Basohli by associating them with the renowned and established brands.
“Basohli Anthem will be showcased in various ITMs to promote the picturesque beauty of the region”, the Minister assured. She further stressed on the need to develop lodging, food and other facilities for the tourists and called for transforming 50 houses into “At Home” services for providing natural environment to the tourists.
SSP Kathua, Suleman Choudhary; ADC Basohli, Sanjay Gupta; OSD with DyCM, Shakti Pathak; President of Vishwasthali NGO, Jagdish Brahmi; EO MC Basohli and prominent citizens in large numbers were present during the celebrations.
Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Minister, dedicated a newly developed park to the people of Rajinder Nagar JDA Housing Colony at Bantalab, Jammu.
Minister for Health & Medical Education, Bali Bhagat, Minister of State for Housing & Power, Asiea Naqash and Financial Commissioner, Housing & Urban Development, K.B. Aggarwal were also present on the occasion.
The park has been developed at an estimated cost of Rs. 57.29 lakh over 14.15 kanals of land by the Jammu Development Authority (JDA) with the provisions of all necessary basic amenities like ornamental rain shelter sheds, play station for the children, high mast lights, sitting benches and dustbins etc for the users.
Referring to some major initiatives by the present Government in Jammu city, Dr. Nirmal Singh said that inclusion of Jammu as Smart City is a landmark decision, under which the entire picture of the city will be changed. Under the Smart City programme, all modern amenities like wider roads, improved lanes & drains, 24×7 power, smart transport service and many more facilities shall be improved. He credited Prime Minister, Narender Modi for this mega project. The other important projects which are coming in Jammu city include, development of Tawi River front on the pattern of Sabarmati, Tawi Artificial Lake, Gandola Project, Fly over from 4th Tawi bridge to Muthi to decongest the traffic, 4-laning of important Jammu-Akhnoor road, Ring Road, Multi-tier parking project at Bus Stand. With the completion of these projects, the entire picture of Jammu city and peripheral areas will be transformed, said Dr. Singh.
Responding to the demands of locals, the Deputy Chief Minister said that the Government will address their all genuine issues like up-gradation of roads, power and drinking water on priority. He issued necessary directions to the officers of the JDA to examine these on priority and address appropriately.