A nation-state is built by a common bond between different geographies. The problem with this concept is that no common lineage has to be compulsorily traced and sometimes countries manufacture stories of fear to keep those geographies intact. The USA is a prime example of that. However, it fails in the case of civilisational states like India, until all geographies containing common history are not intact, people can’t get a full sense of belonging. That is why it becomes imminent to have POK in our full control. Rajnath Singh, our Defence Minister has also hinted about the same.
Rajnath Singh on Sharada Peeth
India is not content with the artificial division of Hindus’ places of worship. Recently, speaking on the occasion of the 23rd Kargil Vijay Diwas, Rajnath Singh laid out this particular stand of India. He especially emphasised that Pakistan Occupied Kashmir will always be a part of India. Pointing out the dichotomy caused due to separation of territories, Rajnath Singh said, “How is it possible that Baba Amarnath is in India and Maa Sharda Shakti is across the Line of Control (LoC).”
Defence Minister took the opportunity to remind the world that Kashmir will always remain an integral part of India, no matter how much any country is against it. Stating that India’s public representatives are unanimous on Kashmir issue, Rajnath Singh said, “A resolution has been passed in the Parliament on POK. Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, was a part of India, is and will remain a part of India.”
Importance of Sharada Peeth
By expressing India’s desire for access to Sharada Peeth, Rajanath Singh has ensured that reverence for Maa Saraswati also becomes one of the reasons why India should take back POK. Sharada Peeth is a Hindu Mandir and historical centre of learning. In one way, Kashmir and Sharda Peeth are synonymous. It was the centre of attraction for hundreds of years. The peeth is well documented in Al-Biruni’s description of his India tour. Along with Martand Surya Mandir and the Amarnath Mandir, Sharada Peeth is one of the three holy sites of pilgrimage for Kashmiri Pandits. Sultan Zain-ul-Abidin is also said to have visited the Mandir for seeking the blessings of Maa Saraswati.
However, Peeth being located 130 kilometres away from Srinagar and that too in POK has become a bone of contention for Bhakts as well as Indian government. Indian authorities have even asked the Pakistani governments to renovate the Mandir, but they were ignored. Time and again, there have been attempts for peaceful reconciliation and opening a Kartarpur Sahib like Corridor. However, Pakistani administration’s insistence on not allowing Hindus to visit the Peeth has always been a roadblock.
India to take back POK?
No matter how much Pakistanis deny Indians their right to worship, the fact remains that site holds uncompromising religious significance for India. Pakistani state is only making it easier for India to take back POK. With the declaration of Article 370 as null and void, the Modi government has already conveyed to the world that days of India taking a passive approach towards Kashmir are over now. In fact, India has become quite proactive in Kashmir. It has crushed terrorist forces in the valley which sent shivers down the Pakistan’s spine.
India is also not adhering to pseudo-moral stands on the Kashmir issue. In fact, Amit Shah explicitly stated that when he and by extension, people from Modi Cabinet speak about Jammu and Kashmir, people should understand that they are talking about Pakistan Occupied Kashmir as well.
Only a matter of time
More and more Indians have become hopeful about India taking back POK, especially after watching how India demolished Pakistan’s terrorist camps in 2016 Surgical strike and 2019 Balakot Strike. Amit Shah himself indicated that India is working on regaining its administrative hold on POK and even Aksai Chin. Like most of the big announcements, their integration with India’s administrative setup will also come as a surprise call for Indians.
India is economically, militarily, diplomatically and strategically well placed to declare POK as another Union territory. It is only a matter of when.
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