Till August 5, 2019 - when the Centre announced its decision to scrap J&K's special status and bifurcated it into two Union Territories - no one in Kashmir had even thought that J&K's summer capital would host the representatives from the 20 most powerful countries in the world and Srinagar would figure in the list of global cities.
The moments of rejuvenation and reincarnation involve a sense of renewal and transformation, allowing people to shed their old selves and embrace new possibilities for growth and fulfillment. These moments can be powerful catalysts for peoples development and can lead to a more meaningful and purposeful life for them.
“Jammu and Kashmir has moved on, the common man has moved on. He's seen two generations of Kashmiris being sacrificed on the altar of Pak-sponsored terrorism, he's no longer in a mood to succumb to that,” Union Minister MoS Jitendra Singh said during the high profile G20 summit.
Underlining the positive changes in the Valley, he said, “It is indeed a moment of rejuvenation, a moment of reincarnation...”.
"If such an event was held earlier, a strike call would be given from Islamabad and shops on Residency Road (in the city centre of) Srinagar would close. Now there is no hartal even if the call for hartal has come from here or there," Singh said.
He said that the G20 meeting in Srinagar is an opportunity for India to showcase the changed scenario in Jammu and Kashmir which was earlier under the shadow of Pakistan-sponsored terrorism. “In the past, an event of this scale would have been met with a general strike in Srinagar, but now people are "going about with their activity", said MoS Jitendra Singh.
Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha during a press conference after addressing inaugural session of G-20 said that Kashmir is no more the land of hartals, school closures and separatist activities while security agencies have succeeded to a great extent to destroy the “terror ecosystem.” He said the primary focus of the J&K administration since the past three years has been on four P’s—Peace, Progress, Prosperity and the People first.
“Business is flourishing with each passing day. Shops remain open every day as hartals have become a part of history. Children are attending schools and colleges every day. Youth are pursuing their careers in higher studies. Separatist activities have come to an end forever,” he said. “As far as the terror ecosystem, the security grid has succeeded to destroy it to a large extent.”
With India holding the G20 presidency for 2023, the government has planned more than 100 meetings across the country. Hosting an event in Jammu and Kashmir had been on the agenda from the get-go.
The central Government led by Prime Minister Narendera Modi pressed ahead and after making some tweaks, and substantially beefing up security arrangements, the three-day gathering commenced on Manoday at the well-guarded SKICC complex on the shores of Dal Lake in Srinagar.
In the realm of personal growth and introspection, a moment of rejuvenation can be seen as a transformative experience where people here now find renewed energy, vitality, and a sense of purpose. The people of valley have almost shed the burdens of the past and are embracing a fresh perspective on life.
During this moment of rejuvenation, now the masses of Kashmir engage in activities that are helping them to reconnect with themselves, such as meditation, self-reflection, spending time in nature, pursuing hobbies, or taking a break from their daily routines. These practices allow them to recharge mentally, emotionally, and physically, leading to a sense of renewal and inner peace.
The moment of rejuvenation can also be associated with a moment of reincarnation. Reincarnation is a belief found in various religious and spiritual traditions, suggesting that after death, an individual's soul is reborn into a new body. In this context, a moment of reincarnation refers to a transformative experience where one undergoes significant personal growth, leading to a metaphorical rebirth or a new beginning.
This moment of reincarnation can arise from a profound change in beliefs, values, or perspectives, often resulting from a period of self-reflection, introspection, or overcoming significant challenges. It signifies a departure from one's old ways of being and embracing a new identity, purpose, or direction in life.
The periods of unrest in Kashmir have had significant effects on the valley’s economy, education, and other sectors. The Kashmiri economy has been adversely affected by the shutdowns and disturbances. The valley heavily relies on tourism, agriculture, and handicrafts as major sources of income. However, frequent disruptions and violence have deterred tourists and disrupted economic activities. Businesses, hotels, and shops often remain closed during periods of unrest, leading to financial losses and a decline in employment opportunities.
The education sector in Kashmir has faced disruptions due to shutdowns frequently called by then separatists . Educational institutions often remain closed for extended periods, affecting the academic calendar and causing disruptions in students' learning. Frequent closures and restricted access to schools and colleges hindered students' educational progress and created challenges in maintaining a conducive learning environment.
Shutdowns in Kashmir have also impacted the healthcare sector. Access to medical services, including hospitals, clinics, and emergency care, was severely affected during periods of unrest. This resulted in delays in medical treatment, reduced healthcare services, and difficulties in accessing essential medications and healthcare facilities.
Hartals and restrictions on internet and communication services have become common during periods of unrest in Kashmir. That hampered communication between individuals, businesses, and institutions, affecting various sectors that rely on smooth information flow. Additionally, infrastructure development projects also faced delays or disruptions due to the unstable situation in Kashmir.
The prolonged periods of shutdowns and violence have taken a toll on the mental health and well-being of people. The constant state of tension and insecurity led to stress, anxiety, and trauma among the population, affecting their overall quality of life.
During the past more than three years the Union Territory has traversed a long way from instability to stability, disturbances to humming economic activity and alien stone-throwing culture to renaissance of the rich heritage and culture.
The determination of the people has bid farewell to a nightmarish phase of disruptions, violence and bloodshed. Now, the scenario has changed with tourists thronging Kashmir to have their best of times.
(Author is senior staffer Greater Kashmir)
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.
The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.