Srinagar: Outgoing General Officer Commanding (GOC) 15 Corps Lt Gen D P Pandey on Thursday said that a glimmer of a new beginning was visible especially after August 2019, when J&K special status was abrogated.
“Much water has flown down the Jhelum since 2016-17, especially after August 2019 and a glimmer of a new beginning is visible. There is hope on the horizon. The security parameters are good - many violence affected areas of Srinagar or Valley are now back as economic hubs,” he said in his farewell speech here.
“I stand here before you with a deep sense of hope. For someone who has seen this wonderful land of resplendence called Kashmir for 36 years of professional career during its various phases of tragedy and tumult, fortune and success revealing a number of hues and shades, this hope, I say,does not comprise words alone. This hope is driven closely by the fortitude, commitment and energy of Kashmiris like all of you,” he said.
“Today, we have come a long way to an important juncture in recent history where doors for peace, stability, progress, prosperity and happiness are opening up like never before. There is a popular saying that success comes through lanes and from backyards, not from the front door. This is so true for our Kashmir today,” Lt Gen Pandey said.
“We hear a number of people talking about the ‘Kashmir problem’ all the time. I believe it is not a ‘Kashmir problem’ but ‘problem in Kashmir’. The wrong terminology maligns the land and people of Kashmir,” he said.
Outgoing GOC 15 Corps said, “What has gone wrong in Kashmir-that is seen as ‘Kashmir problem’ that we need to talk about? What has caused the last thirty years of violence, pain and gloom of death in this blessed land? The words terrorism, radicalization, victimhood, brainwashing, religious bigotry etc are uttered more often about Kashmir and Kashmiris. I have talked about it earlier also. It has been long since the time of Sir Walter Lawrence, when Kashmiris were accused of riding two horses together and unable to be in control of things or their destiny.”
“Kashmir was a land of abundance and driver of its own destiny till the 13th century. In a sad turn of events, Kashmiris lost control over their destiny to foreign tyrants and invaders. Seeds of fear were sown on this fertile and blessed land. Kashmiris lost their ability to smile, to be happy and started to learn riding two horses for survival. Later, even the benevolent rulers like Bud Shah could also not undo the damages since the foreign rule continued to remain exploitative in different forms. The 17th century times were the worst,” he said.
“Even after 1947 when Kashmiris smelled the fragrance of democracy and the seeds of ambiguity were sown for 75 years-the narratives of riding two horses for personal advantages were built. In 80s, the seeds of Azadi came to sprout only to be replaced by seeds of separatism and radicalization,” Lt Gen Pandey said.
“Another appreciable aspect is the growing voices of the women folk in the Kashmiri cultural landscape. It is so heartening to see the fairer gender taking the lead on so many platforms, so far dominated by men. Glorious successes of our Kashmiri women in fields of sports, politics, administration, journalism and business entrepreneurship are explicit examples of the new normal, to which the society is opening up,” he said, adding, “Today for the first time Valley, will see two women SSPs.”