Srinagar, Dec 23: Following the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, a fresh wave of national pride has swept through the union territory with both the young and old embracing the display of the national flag and anthem without fear.
Previously inhibited by concerns of reprisal from anti-national organizations, the youth of Kashmir are now experiencing a liberated environment. They are openly hoisting national flags atop their homes, in markets, and during various functions. The singing of the national anthem has become a common practice in schools and at events, free from fear or coercion.
Under the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav initiative, Prime Minister Narendra Modi encouraged citizens to bolster the ‘Har Ghar Tiranga’ movement by proudly flying the tricolor at their homes. In alignment with other states and union territories, Jammu and Kashmir witnessed extensive preparations for Independence Day celebrations, including school children participating in tricolor rallies in commemoration of Article 370 abrogation.
Schoolgirls in dozens of districts of Jammu and Kashmir including Bandipora, Baramulla, Pulwama, Budgam, and Ganderbal districts marched while carrying the tricolor and chanting slogans of ‘Har Ghar Tiranga,’ contributing to the momentum of the campaign.
This newfound enthusiasm is particularly evident as school-going students now proudly sing the national anthem during these rallies.
The transformation is striking, considering that previously there were scant signs of national flags. Now, they adorn every market, house top, school, college, and office in Jammu and Kashmir, symbolizing a collective embrace of national pride and unity.
The shift signifies a departure from a past marked by inhibition and fear, with the people of Kashmir now openly expressing their patriotism through the visible display of national symbols.
Mohammad Afzal, a prayer leader told Kashmir Despatch that singing the national anthem in Kashmir is now done with love and dignity.
He said that although it may have been something that people were not initially accepting, now everyone wholeheartedly embraces this change and appreciates the flow of the national anthem.
Afzal mentioned that the national anthem is now being played at every corner of the Union Territory, whether it be schools, colleges, or even private functions.
He further expressed that people are now showing respect to the national anthem, which is a positive sign and a complete demonstration of respect.
A social activist based in Srinagar told Kashmir Despatch that, during the last four years, a few things stand out in the handling of the curse of stone-pelting and frequent shutdowns in Kashmir by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government.
It’s been almost three decades since schools functioned without being forced to shut down due to hartal calls by separatist groups. Business life is smooth, and, more importantly, respect for the national anthem is gaining momentum.
He said that everyone is now respecting the national flag and national anthem, which is a significant change and achievement of the LG-led Government.
He further stated that this sends a clear message that Kashmir is a part of India, and everyone has the same regard and respect for the national flag.
Talking to this correspondent, a civil department officer said that it’s clear that people have wholeheartedly accepted the national flag.
He said the days are gone when people used to fear change, but with the changing scenario, people are slowly realizing the positive changes and accepting the reality.
He also mentioned that it’s good to see everyone coming together under the same umbrella of “Mera Bharat, Mera Desh” (My India, My Country), as people are working towards making their future brighter.
Moreover, he emphasized that the reality is finally being digested in Kashmir. Young, old, girls – everyone now respects the national anthem and proudly hoists the national flag.
In 2022 whole UT massively participated in triranga rallies.
The most exciting part was to see girls in Kashmir making handmade embroidered Indian National Flags.
In north Kashmir’s Kupwara, around 50 women had come together for this initiative, which was supported by the Indian army to make flags.
The love for national flags did not end there. For the first time ever, the Indian national flag was made on a silk wall hanging by a Kashmiri artisan Maqbool Dar in North Kashmir’s Bandipora district.
Jammu and Kashmir is embracing positive changes and moving towards a brighter future. People have enthusiastically accepted positive aspects and are diligently working towards progress. Moreover, the love for the national flag is now growing in everyone’s hearts.
Suhail Khan is a filmmaker, content writer, and freelance journalist.