As India and Pakistan turn 70, celebrations are galore from New Delhi to Islamabad. And deservingly so, for the very thought of freedom is worth cherishing.
This year-apart from being an annual celebration of independence and remembrance of sacrifices that went into achieving this cherished dream-the eve is also about assessment of how much has been achieved in the process of nation building.
In any metric for such an assessment-the first question to be asked is- how have the lives of people improved?
Looking at things from Srinagar, the celebrations both in Islamabad and New Delhi are meaningless. For Kashmir, that both the countries pronounce as dear to them, continues to be entangled in the vicious cycle of violence and death.
As the Valley wakes up to the news of death and destruction every day, the question to be asked is what have the two countries done to bring peace, dignity and life for the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
Ego and animosity from both the sides looks relentless and resolve to collaborate and usher in peace and development for the people of both the countries looks weak.
Whatever, be the underlying reason, any confrontation between the two countries brings unimaginable miseries to the people of the state. From the Line of Control to the hinterland, the story in such times is always about death and destruction for the innocent people of the state.
Equally substantiated is the fact that whenever the two neighbours have shown interest in mutual cooperation and engagement, it has been the period of relative peace in Kashmir.
At 70, it is time to introspect that decades of confrontation and military approach has not resolved matters for either parties and is unlikely to do so in future. While as there are reasons to believe that positive meaningful engagement has the potential to address the issues and pave way for peace and prosperity in the subcontinent.
While Kashmir says a Happy Independence day to everyone in both the countries, Kashmir request an end to confrontation and a resumption of engagement between India and Pakistan. This for peace and prosperity not only in the state of Jammu and Kashmir but across the two countries as well.