IT is quite heartening to see those very youth who, till a little time back, were used as canon fodder by the conflict entrepreneurs, engaged in a discourse on peace-building. As rightly observed by an esteemed guest at the Kashmir Central Conclave-2023, we need to understand the difference between peace-building and peace-making. Peace-making has diplomatic and political connotations. It is an initiative owned and taken by the states. On the other hand, peace-building is a public initiative involving various sections of the society having stakes in peace. Till the recent past, we the people of Jammu & Kashmir were looking towards the State for peace-making.
Yes, there were certain non-government initiatives but again the initiatives were mostly agenda-driven, meaning it was an entrepreneurship or a profit-making enterprise. The initiatives were never aimed at establishing peace. Now it is the people of Jammu and Kashmir, particularly the people of the Kashmir region that not only yearn for peace, but are driving the peace cart. Now that is real peace-building. Till the recent past, our youngsters would only engage in violence. The same youth are now catalysts of peace-building.
During the day-long proceedings of the Kashmir Central Conclave 2023 that involved the scholars of Kashmir University, Central University and many other educational institutions, one could clearly see their yearning for a bright future while participating in deliberations and discussions on pressing societal issues.
Kashmir has changed. And the change is real and visible. Just two or three years back there was depression in the atmosphere, which is no more the case. People can breathe freely and there is a longing for permanent peace. The peace initiatives driven by people, the real stakeholders, have durability and permanency. The law enforcement agencies have worked tirelessly to create an atmosphere free of fear. And dividends are visible on ground. And we are talking peace not only in its physical form; we are talking peace of mind.