Binoo Joshi

JK News Today’s Special Commentary

The year 2023 for Jammu and Kashmir is being defined with two major events – Srinagar hosting all important G 20 meeting on tourism in May , and Supreme Court endorsing the abrogation of Article 370 of August5-6, 2019 , as legal and constitutional , and of course added to this is the continuous flow of tourists and development works. But I believe that something more than that is what the 2023 personifies , it has given wings to the dreams of the people. They believe that they can realize their dreams . Their trust in their dreams turning into reality has gone up , and so is their confidence . It is hoped that, they would gain extra confidence to add their physical and mental strength in weaving and pursuing their dreams and ambitions.
The year gone by has laid a firm foundation for youngsters to believe in themselves. This belief has not visited them just like that. A lot of work has gone into it . This work is beyond the abrogation of Article 370 , though that is often stated the watershed moment that changed the history and geography of the place as also the mindset . The history took a new turn on August5-6, 2019 , reconfirmed by the Supreme Court on December 11, 2023,. Nothing is irreversible – the abrogation of the constitutional provisions proved that – J&K integrated into the Indian nation with no ifs and buts . At the same time its geography was split into two union territories of Ladakh ,and J&K. This was not the only change in geography that came about – it engendered a belief that the areas of the erstwhile state of J&K under the illegal occupation of Pakistan , too, belong to India as never before . The history of 1947 was revisited to shape new history for the erstwhile state.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi ‘s observation in an interview with India Today Magazine that , “ With Article 370 gone forever , the people of J&K and Ladakh, for the first time are free to shape their destinies with their own hands.” This , when translated means freedom from fear and terror that had kept their life hostage for decades . Apart from the violence part, it was the theatre of the conflict which brought misery and captivity to uncertainty in their lives . They had become prisoners of the phenomenon , in which the isolation of J&K , more pertinently of the Kashmir Valley, was more pronounced than the idea of India and the opportunities that it offered. The problem was in the dual frame , which presented a different world-view to the people of the erstwhile state- limited geography and psychology and opportunities .They were made to believe that the satellite concept of J&K was al fulfilling . Th fault was not with the unique history of Jammu and Kashmir and the political narratives within the state , the central governments from time to time reinforced the idea that J&K was different and it could stay as part of India if the differences were recognized and enhanced . Delhi cannot shed its share of blame.
Prime Minister Modi changed all this . He not only brought closure to the “ temporary” constitutional provision , but also struck hard at the belief of isolation of J&K in the Indian union. There, indeed was some skepticism when the Article 370 was abrogated in August 2019 , but over the years what followed showed that there was a new vision and world view that the people of the Himalayan territory could become part of and explore possibilities and opportunities they were deprived of.
This, they have seen for themselves when Srinagar was the host of the G20 meet on tourism ( May 22-24, 2023) that left behind a legacy of confidence , “ we can do it.” This was a partnership venture of the idea of India and Kashmiris’ enthusiasm in embracing the same . Till this time , the mega international event that Kashmir hosted for the first time since independence, with an international profile , despite Pakistan having done its best to derail the narrative of success . Chinese objections and its attempts to inject the words “ disputed territory’, did not affect the success, which is attributable to the people of Kashmir , that was a greater accomplishment than the hosting of the event . Kashmiris had rebuffed both Pakistan and China , and that not only changed the narrative but also removed the geopolitical wrongs with which many in the international community had been viewing Kashmir and India . Now both the ideas of Kashmiriyat and Bhartiyat ( Indianness) merged .
This led to dreams of higher achievements in Kashmir in which future is shining bright.