New York: 5 August 2019 is a date that will go down in the annals of the history of this nation. However, this change of status for Kashmir as envisioned by the lawmakers has yet not seen the desired effect. The reason is well known to all. As of now, only the first half of Newton’s third law of motion, namely the “action” part has taken place. No one is sure as to how the remaining, in the form of “reaction”, will unfold. Having put the lid on the pressure cooker that has remained on the burning stove for decades, we are hoping with bated breath that the safety valve of the cooker will function normally, gradually releasing the steam so that the cooker can be opened after it cools off to enjoy the cooked delicacy. However, the whistles of the cooker have yet to be heard. The Government is making some probing action of slowly lifting the safety valve with the tip of the kitchen knife to check and see if some steam gets released safely. Everyone is hoping for the pressure cooker to not blast and I am convinced that it will not, provided we take a cautious and deliberate approach to ensure that the foot that we have successfully placed inside the door takes the whole body in rather than coming out as an amputated leg.
At this juncture, the most important point to understand is that though it appears to everyone, and most importantly to those who are behind the closed door that we are making a forced entry through the door, it should be very clear to us that we are actually opening that door which had kept the occupants of the house blind from the reality. The opening of this door will give them the much-needed and ever demanded “Azadi” that they have been asking for since so long. “Azadi” from the shackles of poverty, from the constant fear of guns, from lack of oppurtunity, and so on and so forth. I am sure that for the Kashmiri youth of my age, these notions of Azadi hold more importance. I will request them to consider the fact that the common man across borders is merely trying to survive in a land of limited opportunities. This is the reality as it exists today in our sub-continent. Hence, my sincere request to the Indian government as well as to the common people is to try and put ourselves into the shoes of a common Kashmiri who feels that he/she has been cheated. All these years they had some special provisions and suddenly one day, someone tells them that they will be deprived of that status. That is definitely not an easy situation to accept. Are we as a nation even ready to take a chance with the reservation policy of our country that also gives special provisions and privileges? Hence, let us give them some time and space to adjust to the new reality. The only question that remains to be answered is whether it could have been done differently than the way it has been done. However, there is no point in going back in circles. It is in our common interest now to look for a way ahead. Hence, I will sincerely request my Kashmiri brothers and sisters to see 5 August 2019 as a dawn of new awakening and enlightenment and to rest assured that no one is eager to enter into your sacred domain, the “paradise” and settle down there at your cost. Every Indian today is waiting for you with open arms to embrace you beyond the valley, since you are also an equal Indian today.
Let’s come together and integrate ourselves to make a stronger India with Kashmir as its crown state. Let’s make a resolve to handover to our future generations, a Kashmir that is not merely geographically the topmost Indian state, but economically as well. Let’s see that the remaining half of Newton’s law, the equal and opposite “reaction” of the “action” on 5 August is equal to the sentiments and wishes of common Indians for the Kashmiri populace and opposite to what the enemies of Kashmir are expecting.
Shruti Mishra is pursuing her PhD in Economics as a Dean’s fellow from Columbia University, New York. She is a graduate from St Xavier’s, Mumbai, and a Bain Alumna.