New York: The first Kashmiri Museum outside the subcontinent will soon come up with a backdrop of the picturesque yet roaring Niagara Falls. The dream project of a Kashmiri doctor couple, Khurshid Ahmad Guru and Lubna Guru, was envisioned in 2020 has finally become a reality.
To assert its origin, the museum has been named, ‘Centre for Kashmir’. It includes a number of Kashmiri artifacts depicting the culture, history and art of the region. The couple has assembled 1,500 rare books on Kashmir besides artifacts, which is said to be the biggest collection on Kashmir outside the Valley.
Khurshid is a senior robotic oncologic surgeon and heads the urology department of Roswell Park comprehensive cancer centre at Buffalo while his wife Lubna is a pediatrician.
Khurshid Guru said that over 12 million people visit the Niagara Falls each year and even if a small percentage of them visit the museum, his dream will bear fruit.
In 2020, the centre purchased the former First Church of Christ Scientist on Park Place. It has its own history. The church had been built in 1917 in the Gothic Revival style by the First Society of Christian Scientists of Niagara Falls that existed since July 26, 1903.
The museum is now ready to be thrown open. The items planned to be displayed include paintings, out of print books, and Kashmiri handicrafts, including shawls, rugs, wood carving, paper mache and other items.
The centre is a public charity that aims to serve as the global focal point on arts, culture and history of the South Asian Himalayan region. To preserve, protect and promote the ‘Kashmiri way of life’ is central to its existence.