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Hailing from the remote village of Hangulgund in South Kashmir, Ramesh Hangloo has lived in exile in Jammu for the last 25 years. According to him the first decade was lost in surviving the exodus from Kashmir Valley. It was over the following 10 years when he, with other camp residents, decided to engage young people and men in constructive activities to preserve community values and culture. After a labyrinth of educational, sports and environmental interventions, it was finally culture that the group chose as its primary focus.
In 2007 at an Asian Cultural Mela in UK, Hangloo was inspired by a British group running a licensed radio community. That is when the idea of first ever Radio Community initiative was born. It was an idea not only to promote and preserve the displaced Kashmiri Pandit culture and connect them to their roots, but also to open communication, revive shared cultural spaces and create platforms for displaced and Valley communities of Pandits and Muslims to connect and bond over their shared humanity.
Henceforth on 05 December 2011 Radio Sharda was born. It is run in the Kashmiri language and is aired in Jammu and Kashmir, and through the internet it reaches Kashmiri diasporas around the world. Both Pandits and Muslims listen to Kashmiri programs for men, women, young people and children. It is slowly becoming a bridge through music, folklore and cultural stories between estranged communities of Pandits and Muslims.
During the Kashmir floods, Radio Sharda became played an important role taking many distress calls and inquiries from those who were located outside the country. Four such queries came from Kashmiri Muslims who live in different countries including Saudi Arabia, Russia and Australia and listen to Radio Sharda as their link to Kashmiri culture, language and Pandiits.
Radio Sharda connected them directly to relief groups working on the ground in Kashmir and thus helped build deep, strong bonds between communities. One of the Kashmiri Muslims acknowledging the role of Kashmiri Pandits in preserving and nurturing the Kashmiri ethos and culture expressed that only a Kashmiri Pandit could think of such an idea of bringing Kashmiris across the world in a common cultural space.
Last updated: July 2015