Join In Building A New Kashmir
let the dark days of conflict be left behind
By Neeraj Bhushan
I appeal to the youth of Kashmir to join in building a new Kashmir: Indian PM
While inaugurating the historic Anantnag-Qazigund rail link in the Kashmir Valley in October 2009, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh appealed to the youth of Kashmir to join in building a new Kashmir. Stating that he understood their frustration, Singh said:
“… things are changing. I urge them to think constructively about how to build their futures. The majesty and splendour of this beautiful valley and the culture of hospitality of the Kashmiri people are second to none. Its magnificent lakes and forests have charmed travelers for centuries. It offers the solemnity of the Buddhist monasteries of Ladakh, the treasures of the Hazratbal shrine and the piety of the Raghunath temple.
“Let us build Kashmir into one of the world’s top tourist destinations. The era of violence and terrorism is coming to an end. The public sentiment is for peace and for a peaceful resolution of all problems.” [See the photo feature on Lugnak Valley in Zanskar, Ladakh]
But, today I ask… if the state of affairs has changed in these years? Could we speed up the pace of development in the state? Were we able to reverse the brain drain that has denuded Kashmir of many of its teachers, doctors, engineers and intellectuals? Have we created the conditions for them to return and to be the instruments of change and development? Have the political parties shown positivism in strengthening the hands of the Jammu and Kashmir Government so that it can implement its ambitious development agenda?
Kashmir is feared, still. The progress by people and their efforts have been nakedly thwarted by acts of terrorism. Is it a terrorist who wants permanent enmity to prevail between India and Pakistan? Or are there several terrorists and their organisations that are misusing the name of their peaceful religion and benevolent faith? Will Kashmir be always sacrificed for the sake of a hate philosophy planted in the citizens of India and Pakistan against each other’s nationals? Where has the centuries old tradition of tolerance and harmony gone in the sub-continent? Why are Kashmiri Pandits not returning to the valley as they remain the largest community on the globe who have been rendered homeless in their own homeland? Why there are two Kashmirs on the either side of the LoC?
For a long time, it was also an article of faith with Pakistan that India could be brought to the negotiating table only if the level of violence was notched up greatly in Kashmir- a kind of softening up of India. This would force India to talk and to give concessions, it was believed. In his news feature for news agency ANI, Salim Haq wrote – “Since the day the Radcliffe Award was announced, Pakistan has tried every trick in the book to wrest Kashmir from India. Whether it was to send in ‘raiders’ in 1947 or ‘infiltrators’ in 1965, whether it was training and sending in ‘militants’ since the late 1980s or Kargil in 1999, Pakistan has pursued a single-minded policy on Kashmir. Irrespective of whether it was a short-lived democratic government under the shadow of the military or the military itself, Pakistan’s objective on Kashmir has been unwavering.”
But, I, as an individual, strongly believe that any Indian or Pakistani would seek and desire good neighbourly relations. But how helpless they appear when it comes to seeking a permanent peace between the two culturally rich nations, who can not choose their neighbours and have to co-exist. Even prisoners of India and Pakistan are languishing in each other’s jails much after completing their sentences. This is a grave humanitarian issue which should be taken at first and resolved in first 24 hours.
The IT revolution has brought infinite opportunities: Indian President
Speaking at the 18th convocation of the University of Kashmir in Srinagar in September 2012, Indian President Pranab Mukherjee said: “I am aware that University of Kashmir is electronically linked with knowledge banks and information offered by reputed Institutions across the world. This needs to be disseminated with optimal efficiency. This is the time to shift towards increasingly interactive, and collaborative learning experiences.”
And Mukherjee also said, “Let the dark days of violence and conflict be left behind.” The President took the opportunity to add that: “Let Jammu & Kashmir lead the way in the building of a new future for India. Let it set an example to the rest of India and the world by showing how the entire region can be transformed into a zone of peace, stability and prosperity.”
[To be concluded]
The Gappuccino also featured Ahmed Ata Khan’s take on Kashmir
“…The actual sufferings of the people who migrated across the bloody, newly formed borders (in 1947) were over-shadowed by the political hatred against the Hindus and Sikhs cultivated by our ‘leaders’…”
You may also like to read [click here] about an isolate language Burushaski, spoken by about 90,000 members of the Burusho ethnic group in parts of Pakistan-administered Kashmir, as Vaibhav Kaul tells us:
“Though Burushaski has no demonstrable genetic relationship with any other language, its modern form contains loanwords from neighbouring Indo-Iranian and Tibeto-Burman languages, including Urdu-Hindi (Indic group), Shina, Khowar and Kashmiri (Dardic group), Pashto (Eastern Iranian group) and Balti (Bodish-Himalayish group).”
Talking about the delicacies, how about ‘A Meal Of A Lifetime‘
… Rejuvenation is the word… my soul was being rejuvenated and I was happy from within like never before. Soon without any shame I asked him to serve me some more and he again with a lovely smile served me the same quantity, with the same enthusiasm as before. And to my surprise I did finish the whole plate till the last morsel… So unbelievable…. Then as I saw the sunrise, I stepped for the first time on to the land of Jammu & Kashmir… I took a deep breath. Well to be frank there was no difference in the air… Seemed like any other place, so it got me thinking what’s so special about Kashmir…!!!