After 2000 years Kashmir hosts Buddhist Conference

By Ajmer Alam Wani, Kashmir Watch, Oct 5, 2009

Srinagar, India -- It was earlier during the rein of Kanashika and now after a gape of 2000 years; the Kashmir Valley which is known world over for varied reasons (like nature, beauty and the militancy) hosts international Conference on Indian Society for Buddhist Studies.

This is the 9th Annual Conference of the Indian Society for Buddhist Studies organized by the Department of Sanskrit of Kashmir University (KU) which started today in collaboration with the Indian Society of Buddhist Studies (ISBS), New Delhi.

The inaugural ceremony was performed at the convocation complex of Kashmir University.

Speaking on the occasion Vice Chancellor of Kashmir University, Prof Punjabi expressed his pleasure to host the international conference. He mentioned that the Kashmir is hosting this conference after a gap 2000 years.

It is worthwhile to mention here that Kashmir hosted the fourth International Buddhist Conference during the rein of Kanashika. Professor Punjabi said that history is not a monolith but a running stream where one thing is linked to the other thing. He added that our most of the Buddhist Architecture remind us of our past. Kashmir has been a seat of learning and the land which up holds tolerance and the very fact that Hein Yaan sect of Buddhism emerged in Kashmir is an example that he said.

Prof Punjabi made a special mention of University TARANA which he said showcases the Kashmir chwqured history. He said that University emblem mentioning Mina Zulmaati Ela Noor and its Hindi version inspires us to continue our march from darkness to light for peace harmony within the country abut also in the subcontinent as well. Prof Punjabi said Kashmir has valuable resources in Sharda and Pali languages which awake scholars attention and Kashmir can play a vital role in establishing a rapport with these scholars. VC was all praise for the Head of Department Sanskrit, Prof. Satyabama Razdan coordinator of the conference for successfully hosting the conference at KU.

Chief Guest on the occasion, Peerzada Muhammad Syeed, Minister for Education J&K State while addressing the gathering of students and delegates said that Buddhism has played an important role in Socio-cultural ethos of J&K. He added that the state was committed to promote the language of Sanskrit as it was a part of the state’s socio-cultural ethos.

While delivering the key note address, the Prof. Deepak Kumar Barua, President ISBS deliberated upon the fact that Kashmir University was playing hosts to the conference and that this land, with its atmosphere of religious concord and tolerance, has historically been significant in its contribution to Buddhist studies per se. "the very name Kashmir inspires academicians, scholars, and students as Kashmir has become a celebrated centre of Buddhism attracting many scholars and saints to this serene land from ages" he said.

Chairman of Public Services Commision, Mr. S.L Bhat said, "Buddhism has had an immense impact on Kashmir in more than one way, from Art to architecture; the tradition of Kashmir has had great influence on its various aspects". He also urged the university to extend the scope of the Centre for Central Asian Studies to Tibet, Mongolia and even Afghanistan.

Vice Chancellor of Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan, Radha B Tripathi was the special guest at the inaugural function. While speaking on the occasion, he said, "the composite culture of Kashmir should be preserved as it is a heritage that cannot be inherited again." He praised the land of Kashmir and the Kashmiri hospitality as being something that he would take back as a cherished memory.

The registrar of the University, Prof. S. Fayyaz, while speaking on the occasion stressed the need to go back to the past to seek guidance and wisdom in matters related to on spiritual nourishment. He also assured the house that the university was working tirelessly towards the progress of horizons of knowledge in such important areas. "Department of Sanskrit, Institute of Kashmir Studies, and the Centre for Central Asian studies are already doing much work on Buddhism and they need to work in Co-ordination in this arca he said.

In her welcome address, the Head of Department Sanskrit, Prof. Satyabama Razdan welcomed the guests and thanked the ISBS for collaborating with the University to hold the historic conference in the University of Kashmir. Prof. B. N Labh, Secretary ISBS, Prof. S P Sharma, President, ISBS and HOD Dept. of Sanskrit Aligarh Muslim University also spoke on the occasion.

The tri-lingual Annual Research Journal "Padma Parag" was released on the occasion by the Chief Guest. Prof. Punjabi released the book ‘Ocean of Buddhist Wisdom’ while another book, ‘A critical Appraisal of Truth: Buddhism and Pragmatism’ was released by the Guest of Honor. Baudh Prajna: Sindu Khand 4 was released by the special guest on the occasion.The vote of thanks was presented by Mohd. Mehraj Ahmed, Associate Professor, Department of Sanskrit, University of Kashmir.The conference will continue for the next two days wherein tens of delegates will deliberate on the various aspects of Buddhist studies brought their research presentations.
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