Fifth August has a special place in Indian history, for it is the day when two landmark events took place that will define the legacy of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his NDA government. In 2019, the Central government abrogated contentious articles 370 and 35A, which gave special powers to Jammu & Kashmir and the state was divided into two union territories. An year later in 2020, after the historic Ram Mandir verdict by the Supreme Court, the government conducted the iconic ‘Bhumi Pujan’ on the compounds of the Ram Lalla temple, set to be completed by 2023.
The abrogation of Article 370 led to an immediate shift of power to the centre and it meant that an effective chain of command was set up. Earlier, the Jammu and Kashmir with its own legislative laws were not bound by the laws legislated by the central government.
After the abrogation of Article 370 the law and order situation in the state has improved tenaciously. According to J&K Police DGP Dilbag Singh, ever since the centre took charge of the situation, there has been a decrease of 87.31 per cent in stone-pelting incidents in 2020 as compared to 2019. Moreover, according to the data of the Ministry of Home Affairs, there has been a reduction of up to 60% in terrorist incidents. These alone are the biggest victories of the Modi government. They successfully curbed the intensity and frequency of two major issues which plagued the entire valley, ever since the Kashmiri Pandit exodus.
Earlier, the reins of power used to be in the hands of a few chosen political dynasties namely the Abdullahs and the Muftis. With the generous backing of Pakistan’s ISI and central government having its hands tied, the PDP and NC worked with non-state actors in close proximity to create chaos and mayhem in the region.
Indian officials on several occasions have iterated that the Pakistani army and ISI funded Kashmir’s hardline separatist leaders such as Syed Ali Shah Geelani. Geelani lived a lavish life in India, sowed seeds of disharmony in Kashmir and sent his children to study abroad. However, after the supply route was cut short, Geelani, who had already faded into oblivion, announced his retirement from the Hurriyat Conference, last year citing his old age as the reason.
The state police which used to be compromised by the incessant interference of the political parties is taking a much independent approach in dealing with non-state actors. The army and the central forces which used to undertake every single terrorist operation can rely on the J&K police to pull their weight and do the needful.
One of the best things to have happened to Kashmir was the District Development Council elections (sprouting new political leadership at grassroots). The elected DDC leaders are perceived to be much better than MLAs in addressing local needs and aspirations. The BJP has made huge strides in creating its individual identity as it emerged as the single biggest party, despite the Gupkar alliance pooling its resources. The Gupkar alliance was formed by the PDP and the NC after the abrogation of Article 370.
As for gender equality, the administration of J&K in a significant move has decided to issue domicile certificates to husbands of native women married to people from outside the state. Earlier, domicile was not allowed for the spouses of local women residents who married outside the Union Territory. However, Narendra Modi led central government had addressed the issue and now they have fulfilled their promise.
As reported by TFI, to assimilate the entire Jammu and Kashmir into the country homogeneously, the central government last year had approved the Jammu and Kashmir Languages Bill 2020 which made five languages, namely; Hindi, Kashmiri, Dogri, English and Urdu—the official languages of the region.
It was an inconsistency that the three languages — Dogri, Hindi and Kashmiri — which are spoken by nearly 70 per cent of the population of Jammu and Kashmir were not approved for use in official business of the state
On January 30 last year, the J&K administration approved changes in the reservation policy and since then a provision of 10% reservation has been made for the people of the ‘Pahari community’.
The infrastructure development in the Union Territory has picked up pace. The world’s highest railway bridge that soars 359 metres above the bed of the Chenab river in Jammu and Kashmir is nearing completion, although its construction started almost two decades ago.
It was the efficient governance made possible by the involvement of the centre that Ladakh became the first UT to have vaccinated 100 per cent of its population with at least one dose of the Coronavirus vaccine. In a pre-abrogation of article 370 world, it would have been simply unthinkable to inoculate the sparsely populated terrain of Ladakh.
As for Ram Mandir, PM Modi clad in a gold kurta and white dhoti had visited Ayodhya after a gap of 29 years for the Bhoomi Pujan where he laid a 40-kg silver brick to mark the symbolic start of the grand temple.
It was back in 1991, when PM Modi had visited the riverside town of Ayodhya during the TirangaYatra, and vowed to only visit the place once the temple construction started. The PMs visit to Ayodhya held historic significance as he had visited the length and breadth of India but never once visited the land of Ayodhya due to his vow.
A year after his visit, it is being reported that by the end of 2023, the sanctum sanctorum of the temple will be ready to receive devotees while the entire complex will be completed by the year 2025. The construction of the Temple has galvanised Hindus all over India.
As reported extensively by TFI, the SP, BSP, AAP, Congress and every single opposition party is evoking Bhagwan Ram and eyeing the Hindu vote bank. And that in itself shows the resurgence of Hinduism in the country, where earlier these parties used to appease the minority communities.
The construction of the Ram Mandir also asserts the Hindu identity of the country’s majority. It also reignites the belief that the wrong can be undone as the demand for restoring the lost glory of Kashi Vishwanath and Mathura grows in pace. The Hindus have been united, more so than ever and it augurs well for the idea of India, which has always had Hinduism as the guarding faith at the most intrinsic of levels.
Scrapping Article 370 and as a corollary, Article 35-A, made the integration of J&K, with the Union of India, final and complete, reinforcing in no uncertain terms, the supremacy of the Indian Parliament and Indian Constitution. Meanwhile, the Bhumi Pujan of Ram Mandir restored the spirituality and humanity of the country, which formed its soul over the thousands of years of existence of the Hinduism faith, standing tall through countless attacks on its identity. And thus 5th of August became one of the most important days for Jammu & Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh and the Rest of India.