No headway on cultural centres

Jammu and Kashmir Academy of Art, Culture and Languages has remained almost static over several decades of its existence obviously for the reason of shortfall in initiative. Heterogeneity of the State sufficiently warranted the concept of an institution like this in our State. The institution is mandated to promote various manifestations of cultural fund of the people of the State. By and large it has faithfully stuck to its original mandate and remained out of scathing controversies which usually visit such institutions. That goes to the credit of its handlers who showed their aptitude for catering to the cultural wealth of the State.
This notwithstanding, the institution missed an important task of dissemination of activities in the length and breadth of the State by reaching the people of various cultural, linguistic and ethnic denominations at their doorstep. The Academy is aware that our people living in different parts of the State are gifted with rich booty of cultural manifestations coming down to them from generation after generation. Preservation of these manifestations as part of our socio-cultural history deserves to be adequately promoted so that the future generations do not remain shorn of these virtues and appendages. An important responsibility of the institution is that of identifying and projecting the dormant talent in our youth which otherwise would pass into oblivion for want of justifiable recognition. The Academy is supposed to forestall any such loss.
This was the reason why the Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, while chairing a meeting of the Central Committee of JKAACL on October 3, 2016, had approved establishing of seven Cultural Centres in different parts of the State to cater to the needs and aspirations of the people of those localities. Selection of new centres was done very judiciously and pragmatically so that when these came up and became fully functional, they would represent core cultural profile of seven cultural zones of the State such as Ladakh Regional Cultural Centre, Kamraz Regional Cultural Centre, Maraz Regional Cultural Centre, Chenab Valley Regional Cultural Centre, Pir Panchal Regional Cultural Centre, Duggar Regional Cultural Centre and Basohli Regional Cultural Centre.
It is more than a year and half that the proposal of raising seven cultural centres was mooted by no less a person that the Chief Minister who also happens to be the President of the Cultural Academy. What happened to the proposal and the Apex Committee thereafter is unclear. Secretary of the Academy conceded that the Apex Committee did not meet and no movement forward was visible in the proposed expansion of the Academy. All that could be gathered from him was that the Central Committee was expected to meet in March 2018 and the matter would be placed before it for reconstitution of the Apex Committee. However, the Secretary was quick to raise other administrative issues of the Academy and link these with the issue of pending seven regional cultural centres. For example, he touched upon the shortage of manpower in the Academy and lamented that the shortage had adversely affected the efficiency and output of the Academy. It is simple logic that a review of the status of the Academy is made and bottlenecks in administrative sphere removed. If the autonomous status of the Academy allows direct recruitment of manpower then the Government has no need to interfere in the Academy exercising that right.
In final analysis we think that the Academy should be given more space to inspire innovative suggestions of how its activities can be diversified and talent explored and exploited. Cultural Academy shall not have to function as mere coordinating agency among the cultural centres that will come up in due course of time but should be the power house of generating new ideas and new areas of cultural expression in the State.