Over the past 70 years, nearly 1 trillion USD (estimated)has been spent on keeping the Jammu and Kashmir region happy. This doesn’t mean the valley has any sizable investment from industrialists to speak of! On the other hand, the valley has seen death and destruction that should never have happened. History will always remember the first Prime Minister calling for a seize-fire when enemy troops were still in Indian territory, which meant that became enemy territory. This led to the birth of what is now called Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK). To add to this, Mr. Nehru signed an ordinance that led to the creation of Article 370 and 35a; two unconstitutional amendments made to the constitution that changed the course of history. To put this in perspective, this is akin to the USA passing a law that non-Floridians, includes any people married to Floridians, would not be able to buy land, build a home or start a business in Florida! Yeah, the first question that comes to mind is “Who wants to buy property in Florida?” Put the state of your liking in there and see how you like it!!

India has fought, successfully, 4 unprovoked wars to protect its territory since then. The losses, for India alone, have been thousands of soldiers and an unaccounted amount of money to fight these wars! Some say it is in the billions, if not more, USD. While the actual figures may never be known, the effect it had on the country was felt! Leave the Indian elation aside, it did take both countries back by at least a decade, every time a war took place! The money that could have been spent on its people, including Kashmiris, was spent on wars! In between these wars, separatists (READ as terrorists) played havoc with the state, a majority of which didn’t want to be a part of the problem.

In the 90’s, over a million Hindu people, primarily Pandits, were given an ultimatum: either convert to Islam or face the consequences. Some succumbed to this intimidation while others fled to the rest of India. They still live in despair, reliving their past, the nightmares they faced to anyone, the very few from the media, that would listen to them. No outrage was felt, nor any pricking of conscience, when these incidents were revealed to the media! The media, particularly one media personality and his wife, when questioned about this stated “so this is about revenge!” Really? Making it so people could head back home looks like revenge? The less said, about this couple, the better!

Fast forward to 2019. After nearly 70 years, this article, and its sibling 35a, have been scrapped. Expectedly, the majority of the country celebrated; I say a majority because we do have some “intellectuals” who vehemently disagree with this courageous, but necessary, move. My opinion, for what it’s worth: they’re not disagreeing with the move as much as wondering how they didn’t have the intestinal fortitude to do this!! It does take guts to do this and, I’d reckon, this government has that!! To then bifurcate the state into two means the isolation of the Kashmiri separatists has begun, and rightly so! Ladakh, the new union territory made over 50% of the territory of the previous state; Jammu made just over 30% while Kashmir was around 15%.

Globally, there has been an overwhelming support for this move. It is locally that this hasn’t garnered the support. I reckon the Prime Minister knew he wouldn’t get the support from some opposition parties and still went ahead with it! The Congress went even so far as to call it an international issue when, in reality, this is an issue of territorial India. Given the penchant, of the Congress, for theatrics, this is pretty much on par! After all, it was the great grandfather of the previous INC President who passed this article! Those that laughed earlier, like Mr. Owaissi and Ms. Rasheed, were now dumbstruck!

Common people, like you and I, understand the need for such a move. We see the reunification of a country as a big need. The problem with the political parties is they see a problem as an opportunity to create even more havoc! To expect the Prime Minister to kowtow to their expectations is nothing short of stupidity! Whether this will be a historic change will be decided by the common people and for that, I say Mr Prime Minister, thank you, for giving us the opportunity! Not many governments would do that!!

With one stroke, the future of an entire region has changed from gloomy to bright! Yes, it is still a volatile situation with the terror merchants waiting to see what to do! That being said, the majority of the state has remained committed to the abrogation of the horrible articles! As I write, I hear a few organizations want to invest in the state! This will lead to development, employment and growth of the local economy. The growth of two union territories has begun! People will now see a bright future that, previously, looked bleak. To the people of Ladakh, Welcome to New India! You are now free!!

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