The state of Jammu & Kashmir is endowed with not only rich natural beauty but also with an admirable degree of socio cultural diversity. The whole of the state is prominently mountainous but due to ongoing modernization even remote pockets are opening up to the influence of change and transformation.
Still there is a long way to go. Poverty, backwardness, illiteracy and ignorance still continue to be the issues to contend with. This is more so about ethnic communities which are by and large closed societies and need considerable inputs to rescue them from their woes.
Tribal population constitutes nearly 15-20% of the population of this state. All the three regions of the state namely Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh have a sprinkling of tribal population, though it is predominantly in Ladakh and Jammu regions that their concentration is to be found. Among the prominent tribes living in the state are Gurjars (Jammu as well as Kashmir), Bakerwals, Gaddies( Jammu) and Darads and Bhhutias(Ladakh).
Gurjars numbering about 1.5 million constitute a major chunk of tribal population of Jammu and Kashmir. Still pursuing their ages old profession of buffalo-rearing, they are living a nomadic or semi-nomadic existence perched along some of the remote pastures scattered along the higher reaches of the himalyas.
Their socio-economic existence has been far short of satisfactory because of the fact that they have been remained cut-off from other well-developed societies and subsequently they have suffered on some common indicators like education, healthcare, connectivity and empowerment which are considered key enablers in today’s fast developing society.
For Gurjars as well as other tribal societies, therefore, the prime area of concern had to be a proper focus on education on all these social engines of development. These objectives can be achieved on a collective basis by an inclusive approach
Gurjar Desh Charitable Trust, conceptualized and set up in 1992, has now come a long way. Our prime focus, to start with, has logically been to spread education among the Gujjars so as to make them aware of their rights and privileges. Similarly, education also serves as the most effective weapon against backwardness and ignorance. Our modest efforts at spreading education among the members of tribal communities are right now reflected by the ever swelling number of students from all weaker sections of the society which our 10+2 K.B. Public School, Jammu is attracting at the moment. In the times ahead, we are planning to take a far higher plunge by pressing the ministries of Tribal Affairs and HRD, GOI to help us set up a tribal university for which we already have a prototype in Tribal University, Amarkantak (M.P)
Above and beyond education, we have issues like conservation of tribal art, literature, culture, language, art, music, dance, drama and a wide variety of artifacts. For this we have already raised a multi-purpose cultural-cum-heritage Centre in the GDCT complex at By Pass Road Jammu. This centre is planned to grow into a multi-utility centre for showcasing our rich cultural heritage. As people come and tell us, this must be the biggest centre of cultural exchange in the whole of the sub-continent.
What is central to us is to restore the glory and grandeur that once belonged to the Gurjar community by apprising them of their past and by breaking all the prevailing barriers that threaten to stop their forward movement. We will do so by spreading education and by making them aware of their untapped and unexplored potential.