“Live in Peace, Walk in Harmony, Breathe with Awareness
Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru’s historic speech in the parliament at midnight on 14th August 1947 was a perfect elucidation of the ending of a 200 year long British rule in India. Under the partition plan provided by the Indian Independence Act, Kashmir was free to accede to either India or Pakistan. The then Maharaja Hari Singh, initially wanted Kashmir to become independent but in October 1947 chose to join India, in return for its help against an invasion of tribesmen from Pakistan. Since then there have been three wars between the two countries for claims over the troubled area.
Since Independence, Indian Army has played a major role in ensuring goodwill and peace and harmony in the region. Even though there have been frequent political unrests, the main focus has remained to promote peace and getting the state a lead in the national mainstream among other states of the country. Various operations have been conducted in the Kashmir Valley which have been more of humanitarian missions. The Army has been a role model in opening more than 55 English Medium schools promoting education, various Women Empowerment Centres, Model Villages, Health Care and Sports Centres across the valley.
Like other parts of the country, Independence day in Kashmir is marked with flag hoisting in different parts of the valley , be it army Camps , Government offices or schools and colleges, followed by distribution of sweets and interaction with the local populace by the Army and other senior leaders in their own way.
Even after the scrapping of Article 370 and 35A, Independence day has been celebrated with a lot of fervour with various cultural pgms being conducted at all levels, despite the security clampdown and the political unrest. The bond between the Army and the local awaam has remained unshaken. As per experts Article 370 was the root cause of corruption, terrorism, and alienation of the state. It is true that widespread and deep-rooted corruption in J&K has restricted the growth potential of the state, and at times, also posed national security threats. However with the changing times and education of the local youth Kashmir Badal raha hai, Kashmir is progressing towards prosperity , peace and harmony.
The recent Bike Rally conducted to commemorate the Kargil Vijay Divas was one of a kind. The locals learnt about the Kargil war and how the Nation came together and backed the Army and how thousands of troops to include sons of soil (Local Kashmiri troops) and the civilians in Leh and Ladakh came forward to help the army for the cause of the Nation. It sent a very positive message all across the Valley and helped instilling a sense of patriotism in the minds of the awam of Kashmir.
Freedom in true sense would be freedom from corruption, economic backwardness, conflicts , hatred etc which will happen gradually as everyone including the Government learns from its past mistakes initiating a series of interlocution to listen to the local voice especially of the students and of the people living in rural areas. Kashmir does and will continue to work towards the progress of the state and the nation as a whole and Army will forever be in support for the people , whenever they are called for.