The Art Of Not Giving A Damn

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PM Modi’s recent visit wowed the people of Kashmir thoroughly. And one of our biggest takeaways from his speech was that he kept Pakistan out of his discourse even as Pak’s new PM has been trying to provoke.

IN sharp contrast to what has been the usual practice of the leadership of the country in the past, Prime Minister Narendra Modi strictly refrained from any reference, whatsoever, to Pakistan. This marks a complete shift on the discourse on Kashmir.

The predecessors of Prime Minister Modi, as and when visited Kashmir post inception of terrorism, would invoke Pakistan in one or the other context. There was hardly any Prime Minister since 1989 who on his or her visit to Kashmir would not ask Pakistan either to stop importing terrorism to Kashmir or extend hand of friendship towards that country for establishing “lasting peace” in the region. This time, Prime Minister Modi intentionally and deliberately avoided any reference to Pakistan. As a new government was formed in Pakistan with Shahbaz Sharief as the Prime Minister, the context was there to refer to Pakistan; but still PM Modi didn’t utter a word, which marks the unprecedented shift in the discourse on Kashmir.

People fondly talk about the PM’s vision of Naya Kashmir and rightly so. It is all about development, empowerment and peace. What, however, seems more appealing and convincing is the new discourse – the discourse which has no mention of Pakistan. The discourse which is indigenous in totality. The discourse which essentially emphasises on setting our own house in order independently without asking for help from a hostile neighbour.

The Prime Minister could have referred to Pakistan in the given context of new Pakistan Premier Shahbaz Sharief’s provocations (he had just called upon the new National Assembly of Pakistan to pass a resolution on “freedom of Kashmir”). PM Modi could have taken Sharief head on by talking about the independence of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, Balochistan and Gilgit – a tit for tat. But he was steadfast and resolute not to make any reference to Pakistan.

Indeed, for me the biggest takeaway from Modi’s visit to Srinagar on March 7 was setting a discourse independent of Pakistan. The media has been talking about the “master stroke” since many years. For me the real and punching stroke was ignoring Pakistan during the Kashmir visit. Viksit Bharat or Viksit Jammu and Kashmir for me is – business as usual. What actually matters is not giving a damn to the hostile neighbour; that too after fresh provocations!

March 7 marked the beginning of a new era in Kashmir not because developmental projects worth thousands of crores were inaugurated on that day but essentially because the leadership has set a discourse independent of the hostile neighbour. This is for the first time in the last seven decades that Pakistan is out of the discourse.

When you are determined and resolute in setting your own house in order, things naturally fall in line. There have been consistent efforts to go for the course correction and the efforts are bearing fruit. Today, we have a situation wherein the Prime Minister speaks for more than an hour at Bakshi Stadium in the heart of Srinagar city, and talks about a host of issues, criticises Congress and other regional forces so on and so forth. And yet he leaves Pakistan and its progenies out of discourse. This speaks volumes about the change – the transformation being witnessed in Kashmir.

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