G 20 meet in Srinagar, Kashmir’s New Year moment

Binoo Joshi

On May 22nd when G 20 meeting on tourism will begin in Srinagar. It will be 142nd day on the calendar of 2023. For Kashmir, it would be the beginning of new year of new era wherein the global community would gather to celebrate the New Year MOMENT.

It is break from the past when Kashmir had a tagline of one of hotspots of the world and the people were scared of visiting the place, what to talk about foreigners , even the Indians from the rest of the country were hesitant to look at the Valley for holidaying . And to hold any international event in Kashmir had its risks.
In fact, there were times , when the Government was scared of the visits of the foreign ambassadors to Kashmir, unsure of what might happen . There were fears of street protests and violence , and all the blame coming to the Indian government for all the things that had gone wrong . There were occasions , when the streets would become quiet. These were eloquent expressions of disapproval as the people didn’t want to be seen acquiescing to the government’s policies on Kashmir.

This grim and deeply embarrassing scenario started changing , after Delhi took a bold step of changing the constitutional status of Jammu and Kashmir and ordered split of the state into two union territories .The loudest voices within the Parliament and outside of it fearing that Kashmir would burn or it may walk extra mile toward secession , acknowledge now that the atmosphere has changed . They give credit to the security , for their own political reasons, they dodge the mention of abrogation of Article 370, and the people . It is an admission that the people, in silence or active support were with the security forces’ action against militants who had made their life hell .
The result is that Kashmir is waiting to welcome G20 meeting in Srinagar and Gulmarg from May 22-24 as they know what a celebratory moment it is going to be . Indeed, the credit goes to the changed situation in which tourism is oxygen which has rejected all the machinations of Pakistan sponsored terrorism . Kashmir is determined to send a message : we want peace and further strengthen it with tearing up the tag of the past , and seek bright future.

The importance of these contrasts is crucial for Kashmiris , who for decades , reeled from an era of uncertainty in their personal , professional life as also in the environment which told them to keep off the normal life , are now having a fresh taste of peace . This peace is not only of the yesteryear- pre 1989 period, but beckons them to new and bright future where they feel secure . They are sure-footed
And G 20 meeting on tourism is a mega event . They know it . But for them it is awesome moment when they shall be playing host to the delegates from the grouping that symbolizes and defines the richest economies , and more than that this particular grouping has some of the most significant democracies , including the United States, the U K, Japan , and it goes without saying , India , world’s largest democracy of which J&K is an integral part .
Kashmir’s unmatched beauty , which the poets have described as “ paradise on earth”, offers perfect setting for tourism meet of the grouping in the lap of mountains enriched with forests and freshets , and fresh water lakes .The physical beauty of Kashmir is made vibrant by the local hospitality , which has no parallel either . This is takeoff point for Kashmir, wherein they want to tell the international community to clear their eyes so that they can watch them enter into new era . The runway has been prepared by the new arrangement that came into being in August 2019 and subsequent works that the government did , in partnership with the people .
G20 meeting in Srinagar has a message for all – Kashmiris , the countrymen living elsewhere in India as also the world- the natives love their land and have been able to save it from the aggressors from across the border , they have been trusted by the government of India for such a high-profile international event and they are ready to do everything under the sun to make it a success , and the world must know that its old-time prisms need to change .