To highlight the diversity, history and peaceful traditions of Kashmir, a Kashmiri couple based in Western New York is to display Kashmiri art, history and culture as the world’s first Kashmir-centric museum is in works in Niagara Falls.
Dr Khurshid Guru and his wife Dr Lubna, hailing from Kashmir and settled in US, are looking to create a new non-profit museum in Western New York. Soon, the city will be home to the Center for Kashmir, the first museum dedicated to Kashmiri culture in the world.
“There are exhibits in other parts of the world that may have a corner somewhere, but not a dedicated space for Kashmir,” center’s Chief Operating Officer Ali Muzammil to Niagara Gazette.
Guru, the chair of Roswell Park’s Department of Urology, serves as the center’s chairman. After studying at the University of Mysore in India and completing a residency at the Vattikuti Urology Institute, part of Detroit’s Henry Ford Health System, he and his wife Lubna, a pediatrician in Lockport, settled in Western New York and made it their home for the past 17 years.
Like other members of the Kashmiri Diaspora, Guru has a collection of artifacts reflecting Kashmir’s art, culture and history, and he wanted to find a home to display them.
“We were looking for a place to donate or a place for the collection, and a lot of other diaspora of Kashmiri origin wanted to participate with that,” Guru told Niagara Gazette. “So we thought the most appropriate place would be Niagara Falls.”
The Center for Kashmir, a 501 (c) (3) public charity, aims to serve as the global focal point on the art, culture, and history of the South Asian Himalayan region. With a combined South Asian population of approximately 1.5 billion, the Valley of Kashmir has been revered not only by its neighbors but visitors from across the globe.
A unique culture, exceptional artisans, rich craftsmanship and finest wool (cashmere) appeals to a curious mind to explore and understand.
The Center for Kashmir vision starts off with a museum and public library. According to its website, it is a learning center for open and cross-cultural exchange of ideas and a platform where students, historians, and anthropologists can deep-dive into the Himalayan region and for local communities to engage and mold the narrative for generations to come.