Formerly, since the beginning of the Kalpa, the land in the womb of the Himalaya was filled the water during the periods of the [first] six Manus [and formed] the ' Lake of Sati' (Satisaras).II25II Afterwards when the present period of the [seventh] Mann Vaivasvata had arrived, the Prajapati Kashyapa caused the gods led by Druhina, Upendra and Rudra to descend ; caused [the demon] Jalodbhava, who dwelt in that [Lake], to be killed, and created the land known by the name of Kashmir in the space [previously occupied by] the Lake. II26.27II
–– Kalhana’s Rajatrangini – A Chronicle of the Kings of Kashmir, Vol I (Translated by M A Stein)
There was no festival, on August 5, when Home Minister Amit Shah presented the resolution to amend Article 370 and Presidential Order overriding the 1954 order, making Article 35A null and void, still the entire nation went into a festive mode. Though it was a shock to many intellectuals and activists who had made ‘Kashmir’ as their livelihood, by and large, common people of Bharat were jubilant. Why Bharat celebrated this move? Is our duty over with the Constitutional integration?
Since 1947, there are thousands of people from entire Bharat who sacrificed their lives and stood by the nationalist forces of the State. From Raja Hari Singh who ensured accession of J&K despite all odds, to the young Lt Fayaz who set an example for the youth by laying down his life while fighting against the terrorists, many unsung heroes fought for the integration. The joyous reaction of the masses was nothing but reverence to all such patriotic souls.
Since Partition, the region has seen a series of violence and betrayals. Many communities have been rendering a life of refugees. The scars of losing near and dear ones, along with the ancestral properties, have been fresh. The decisive action by the Union Government has brought a ray of hope for many shattered minds.
Jammu and Ladakh regions were hoping for freedom from discrimination. Even in the Kashmir region, many groups suffered due to misgovernance, terrorism and corruption. For them, this is a new scope for realising aspirations, though with apprehensions.
The entire nation has invested in the region and people for decades that resulted in extending the complete Constitution to the territory of J&K. It was not sudden. Nationwide many agitations, movements and intellectual activities took place to build a nationalist and not separatist narrative of J&K. The going away of legal hurdles was the fulfilment of the same. Still, the fight for complete integration is not over.
The trepidation of ‘Kashmiris’ continues and is understandable. For more than 70 years, they were fed with the fake ‘special status’ narrative. The rise of Wahabism through State support further engrained the identity politics around religion. A couple of generations of children grew up with a sense of alienation. They are citizens of Bharat, and we need to give them the experience that they are better off without Article 370.
There has been a history of betrayal and communalism behind the entire issue. Many are still trying to play up the stories of lockdown and human rights violations and to internationalise the issue. Within three days opening of the post-paid mobile connections, we have seen three killings of innocent citizens engaged in their regular business activities by terrorists. We have to be cautious and deal with all such forces with full grit and conviction.
The region that made ‘Kashmir’ special, the ancient shrine of knowledge, Sharda Peeth is still under the illegal occupation of Pakistan. The strategically important and a symbol of diverse faiths – Gilgit-Baltistan – is still not under our control. While celebrating Constitutional integration, we need to work for physical and emotional assimilation. History can provide opportunity anytime; we should build our intellectual, legal and military strength for the same.
Throughout Bharat, October 26 has been commemorated as the Jammu-Kashmir Accession Day. This year, accession day is coinciding with the festival of Deepawali. On August 5 and 8, 2019, finally, Parliament through a democratic process completed the legal procedure for complete integration. Now the real challenge is to undo the damage done for 70 years and heal the wounds of separatism and terrorism. What has been the struggle for J&K? How did we complete the journey from accession to integration? What is the way ahead? Organiser is dedicating its Deepawali edition to these questions and much more. While celebrating Deepawali, let us light a lamp for unity and integrity of Bharat with special reference to Jammu and Kashmir. Happy Deepawali!