Kashmiri Marsiya (Elegy) manuscripts: the valuable sources for the dissemination, reconstruction and safeguarding the history and Culture-III.

Author:Nazir, Tawfeeq


Culture is defined as knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society Chowdhury (2010). He further adds that heritage means "our legacy from the past, what we live with today and what 676twe pass on to future generations". Veltman (1997) says that Culture is concerned with the development of coherent viewpoints which bring a cumulative effect to otherwise isolated experiences of a group, making them feel special yet allowing others to have a parallel experience. Hence an Italian's culture links them with Dante and Petrarch, and yet they can respect an Indian's culture which links them with the Vedas and the Mahabharata. The vast and the rich Culture of India comes in many forms and shapes which urge people to play a central part to preserve their cultural heritage. Liew (2005) further adds that Culture provides links between the past, present and the future. Cultural information can bring communities together, as well as promoting the understanding of a culture and society. Jokilehto (1990) defined cultural heritage as the entire corpus of material signs--either artistic or symbolic--handed on by the past to each culture and, therefore, to the whole of humankind. As a constituent part of the confirmation and enhancement of cultural identities, as a legacy belonging to all humankind, the cultural heritage gives each particular place its recognizable features and is the storehouse of human experience. The preservation and the presentation of the cultural heritage are therefore a corner-stone of any cultural policy. The cultural heritage thus should be considered both in time and in space.

Soualah and Hassoun (2011) say that Manuscripts are living witnesses to human civilization. They represent a real knowledge medium of a specific era. The access to these works is a real problem because of their fragility which limits handling; and because distant countries conserving them require travel for access. The medium of information storage has changed from clay tablets, palm leaves to paper and now to electronic and optical media. Ahmed (2009) points out that the traditional preservation method constitute of all form of direct actions aimed at the life expectancy of undamaged or damaged elements of manuscript like mechanical cleaning solvent cleaning etc .Machine made paper made of wood pulp containing harmful acidic ingredients that caused deterioration was used. Manuscripts, which contain centuries of accrued knowledge in such areas as philosophy, sciences, literature, arts and the pluralistic faith systems of India are more than just historical records. They represent the collective wisdom and experience of generations of thinkers. In fact the entire gamut of history is left unexplored or partially explored in manuscripts. Shafi (2004) says that many digital library initiatives focus on preserving various cultural heritages. Often, the initiatives comprise of various materials such as pictures, maps and paintings, and manuscripts are one of the materials included. Some Western and Indian digital library of manuscripts initiatives include MASTER (Manuscript Access Standards for Electronic Records), Oxford University Manuscripts, Medical Manuscripts in NLM, European Manuscript Server Initiative (EMSI), and Unesco Memory of World. Those projects have used photographic and digital methods to develop a full or partial archival copy of the manuscripts available on-line using different software with JPEG format for image processing in association with different metadata initiatives (as cited in Rifin & Zainab, 2007).

Marsiya / Marsiyas an Urdu-Persian poetry form that is recited normally on the death of a dear one. This art form was first originated in Iran where it was customary to recite Marsiya in order to commemorate and lament the death of Hazrat Hussein and 72 of his comrades during the siege of Karbala. Marsiya generally consists of six-line units, with a rhyming quatrain, and a couplet on a different rhyme reveals Indian Poetry (2009). The Marsiya, a form that usually details the seventh-century C.E. martyrdom of the Prophet of Islam's grandson, Imam Husain A.S., has a reputation for being more complex and more erudite than other genres of the Shia Muslim mourning assembly; the majlis reveals Bard (n.d). Marsiya has its roots in Arabic and Persian literature. They are traditionally either recited by Marsiya-Khwans or sung by a Marsiya-Soz at Shia mourning assemblies held during the month of Mohharum. Though its language draws heavily on Arabic and Persian vocabulary, the Urdu Marsiya is imbued with the color and flavor of the Indian subcontinent. The best of verses are exquisite cameos composed of images of local flora and fauna, drawing on local custom and tradition.In terms of emotional range the Marsiya swings between heroic displays of martial skill and tender descriptions of affection and bereavement between the high moral virtue of the people of the House of the Prophet and their ultimate vulnerability in the face of death and lossThumri, Chaiti and Sohar (n.d). About the glory of marsia Husain (2010)says that If one extreme of the...

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