Rebuilding J&K

Raman Suri
The National Anthem Singing Competition 2022 launched in Jammu and Kashmir by the Department of Information and Public Relations (DIPR) has received around 9,000 entries from 50,000 participants spread across the UT wherein students from the districts of South Kashmir have given overwhelming response in the number of submissions. Prior to this, about twelve start-ups under the J&K Start-up Policy were awarded Rs 1.20 crore for their product development, marketing, and research in Kashmir.
Some of the known Start-ups of Kashmir like Kashmir Box, Parsa’s, StartupJK, Go Kash Adventures, FastBeetle, Downtown Café, Move Beyond, Gatoes, and many more are doing really good. These companies are not only making profits for themselves but also generating employment for thousands of youth. This is a sign of complete transformation of Jammu and Kashmir, where earlier youngsters were used as mere tools to fume violence, pelt stones or raise Azadi slogans even at the drop of a hat.
Participation in sports, building start-ups, national anthem singing competition and many more such activities are indicative of the fact that the young and brilliant girls and boys of Kashmir know how to weave their future. While many who acknowledge the power of administrative services are clearing the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and J&K Public Service Commission (JKPSC) exams, many with entrepreneurship qualities are exploring the possibilities of expansion of their businesses across the globe through internet and social networking sites. Opportunities are ample and so is the energy level of our youth.
The chosen few dynasts of Kashmir politics, while were busy minting money, enjoying brute powers or pushing youth towards uncertainty, a desire to live peacefully and explore opportunities that were knocking at the doorsteps of our young brigade never died. Now that the borders have been sealed, infiltration has almost ended, separatists are dumped, glorification of militancy is curbed and an atmosphere of peace and progress is being provided to the youngsters, they are reaping the benefits to their full potential.
Agencies like National Investigation Agency (NIA), Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Enforcement Directorate (ED), Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) and Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) besides paramilitary forces, which were always kept at bay, are checking the economic offences, nailing anti-nationals, unearthing and destroying the network of militants, plugging smuggling of drugs, fixing money launderers, unearthing scams in various government departments of Jammu and Kashmir, and also sealing properties acquired through illegal means.
This is nothing but a required cleansing process that is going on to prepare a level playing field for all the stakeholders. Departments of Power Development, Jal Shakti, Finance, Roads and Bridges, Housing, Industries and Social Welfare besides Rural Development are busy in setting everything right that had gone haywire enabling the corrupt to breed and weave their ecosystem, that stands demolished now. In fact, Jammu and Kashmir is being rebuilt after 75 years.
The recent submission of the National Anthem by students and young individuals is indicative of the fact that a perceptible change is visible on the ground. Places that once were busy with protests over the gunning down of militants, where even water scarcity stood witness to frequent strikes that had shattered the economy of Kashmir, are today abuzz with social and developmental activities. Students from different schools, who were deliberately kept away from national integration moves or singing the National Anthem, are today visiting their teachers asking the latter to pen down the National Anthem for them so that they can participate in competition.
Entries to this competition of reciting the National Anthem, as per official figures are more than four times the entries received last year. Almost an equal number of participants from both Jammu and Kashmir divisions have submitted their entries, which after judging will be bagging cash awards of Rs 25000, Rs 11000 and Rs 5000 for first, second and third prizes respectively besides getting an opportunity to sing National Anthem at the Divisional level Independence Day celebrations.
Today the pilgrimages including those of Shri Amarnath Ji in Kashmir, Baba Buddha Amarnath ji in Poonch, Mata Machail in Kishtwar and Mata Vaishno Devi in Katra are going on in full swing with local people belonging to all communities working for their smooth conduct in a big way. Prior to this, the Kashmiri Pandits had thronged Mata Kheer Bhawani ji Temple in Tulmulla, Kashmir where everything was conducted peacefully. Besides, tourists are flocking to different parts of Kashmir without any fear, thereby adding to the economy of J&K.
This peace needs to be stretched to an endless time where young girls and boys not only do their bit and contribute but also become a part of the system. The elections of young Sarpanches, Panches and Councillors are also indicative of the fact that everyone wants a change; a change from the rotten and hijacked political system where there was no space for new entrants. Despite militants’ cowardice acts of gunning down many elected representatives, the spirit of young girls and boys to rebuild Kashmir from scratch didn’t die.
Now that the Union Territory (UT) of Jammu and Kashmir has come out of the clutches of false and frivolous campaigns of our hostile neighbour, the fabricated narratives of our chosen few politicians and the wrongs being spread by separatists, the youth of Kashmir are putting in their efforts to bring back the lost glory of Kashmir – known as the Paradise on Earth – back to the foreground.
The way Kashmir is celebrating 75 years of independence and commemorating it as ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ by participating in flag manufacturing, hoisting, holding events or even singing National Anthem in schools and colleges, it is quite evident that people have moved on to a much greener pasture where peace and prosperity is embracing them with open arms. Our Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in whose heart Jammu & Kashmir holds a special place, has time and again mentioned the names of many important and hardworking artisans and entrepreneurs in his Mann Ki Baat and encouraged people not to stop and make Jammu & Kashmir the most favoured destination in the entire world.
These developments are a strong message for those politicians who are stuck in their outdated and redundant ideas of involving other nations in our issues or restoring some previous positions. If as per their misconceptions, Jammu and Kashmir can ever get Article 370 restored as per the pre-August 5, 2019 position, then there is anything possible that includes restoring the pre-Partition position of Bharat. These so-called politicians, who basically are dynasts and have inherited powers from their fathers, are living in an illusion and making fool of people for their vested interests.
Today, Jammu and Kashmir is witnessing a development that it has not seen in the past 75 years of independence. Earlier, some politicians who were at the helm of affairs inculcated corrupt practices in people, misled youth, spoke two different languages in Jammu and Kashmir and in Delhi, never allowed central agencies to descend in Jammu and Kashmir to clear the muck due to which corrupt got amnesties, looted state exchequer and most dangerously, pushed youth towards an uncertainty telling them that nothing less than an arms struggle will get them their right – a misconception and an illusion created around the minds of the young.
Having lost their relevance in politics with no one ready to buy their arguments of independence or arms struggle, these politicians are now trying to find a foothold to survive. Their mass base is eroding, which is evident from the fact that most of the groundwork is being done by the new age politicians who are our elected Sarpanches, Panches or Councillors. Fearing that a new set of educated and aware politicians from amongst the youth might take their places in days to come, these old guards are now trying to keep the kettle boiling with all the rotten ingredients of involving hostile nations, unemployment and poor development.
It is just a matter of time. Once the works on all such projects that are going on to transform Jammu and Kashmir become visible on the ground, one will see lips of these politicians getting sealed. This will pave a way for elections, wherein a new set of people with positive and progressive mindsets will take on the reins of Jammu and Kashmir. So, fasten your seatbelts and get ready for bon voyage!
(The writer is Bharatiya Janata Party J&K Executive Member)