Kashmir has long been known as a land of knowledge and enlightenment. Kashmir has produced a long list of scholars who has revolutionized the field of literature, philosophy and mysticism. Kashmir has a 2000 year old history of many sub-cultures that have helped it become what it is today.
Though it must be said that during Afghan, Sikh and Dogra not much was collectively achieved in the field of literature, art and philosophy but even in that time we had mystics and philosophers who wrote some of the finest verses.
It is amazing that a land with such a remarkable feat of art and literature does not have many libraries where general public can study and share their thoughts. From Rambagh to Kralpora there is no library at all. And about fifty thousand souls live there. No library for 50,000 souls.
The only library of repute is the Allama Iqbal library at the university of Kashmir. However, it is kind of library more suited to residential scholars. The central library available to the general public is at Karan Nagar. It is amidst a labyrinth of shops at the city centre, almost invisible. As it is, the library hardly has any visitors.
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The refurbished SPS library at MA Road is worth a visit. The establishment must make efforts to build more such libraries which are accessible to general public. Besides, the timing of libraries also needs to be extended. By the time the people are out of offices, they find to their surprise that the libraries are closed.
The government has to promote libraries through various broadcast methods. The government must organize debates,seminars, essay competitions, short story competitions and meet the eminent writers gatherings to this end.
We hope that the current establishment takes steps to ensure that libraries are accessible to most of the populace. We must build a Kashmir that banks on its knowledge quotient and not illiteracy, alienation and lack of exposure.