Jammu, Nov 29 (IANS) It was on November 26, 2019, when Jammu and Kashmir for the first time in seven decades celebrated the 'Constitution Day' to acknowledge the contribution of the framers of the Indian Constitution.
Till 2019, the Constitution Day was not observed in J&K as the Himalayan region had its own Constitution and the former political rulers used to tell the people that J&K's accession with India was temporary.
On August 5, 2019, the dispensation led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi ended all the confusions once for all by scrapping the Article 370, a temporary provision in the Constitution that granted so-called special status to Jammu and Kashmir.
The move paved the way for complete integration of J&K with the Union of India and fulfilled the long pending demand of people of the country of 'Ek Nishan, Ek Samvidhan, Ek Pradhan' (one flag, one constitution, one Prime Minister).
The abrogation of Article 370 led to J&K's Constitution and its flag, which had been in place since 1957, becoming obsolete.
For the past three years J&K has been observing 'Constitution Day' like other states and union territories of the country.
This year also the 73rd Constitution Day also known as 'Samvidhan Divas' was celebrated with fervor and enthusiasm across J&K.
The Preamble of the Constitution was read and the National Anthem was sung in all institutions, government offices and other establishments. The government officials took a pledge to abide by the Constitution and perform their fundamental duties in letter and spirit.
J&K Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha led the celebrations by paying humble tributes to the founding fathers of the Constitution. 'Our Constitution is the holy book and enshrines eternal values that remain as our guiding principles. Today, let us all take a pledge to uphold these values and fulfill our fundamental duties to build a stronger India,' said L-G Sinha.
He called upon the officers to ensure that the benefits of economic progress percolate down to the poorest of the poor and those living in the far-flung areas of the J&K UT.
J&K Chief Secretary, Dr. Arun Kumar Mehta while highlighting the significance of observing 'Samvidhan Diwas', stated that the Constitution has played a key role towards empowerment of downtrodden and needy people in the last row. He highlighted that this document guarantees Justice, Equality and Liberty besides promoting Fraternity among citizens.
Constitution Supreme law of the land
The message given by the top brass of the Jammu and Kashmir administration was clear and precise that the Constitution is the supreme law of the land and people have to be proactively committed to their fundamental duties rather than fundamental rights only as fundamental rights of one person are offshoots of fundamental duties of another person.
Celebrations that were held to mark the 'Constitution Day' were a reminder to the people, especially the government employees, that if they have to be successful in their endeavors, they have to inculcate the spirit of nationalism and be loyal to their country.
During the past three years the government has successfully inculcated the spirit of nationalism among the common people and its employees by celebrating events of national importance.
Former rulers misled people
Till 2019, the erstwhile local rulers, who were provided all the perks and privileges by New Delhi, did not make any sincere attempt to bring people closer to the Union of India, instead they used to leave no opportunity to project Kashmir as an unsettled issue. They played into the hands of separatists and Pakistan by claiming that J&K's accession with India was conditional and temporary.
Instead of observing the days that were of national importance the mainstream politicians used to make a beeline at 'Martyrs graveyard' in Srinagar's old city on July 13 every year to pay tributes to 21 men who were killed in clashes with Maharaja's forces in 1931.
These leaders used to reap the fruits of power on one hand while on the other they used to talk about plebiscite, azadi, self rule and autonomy.
Actions of the politicians also emboldened the government employees, who used to wait for a chance for the separatists to call for a strike or protests so that they could stay away from work. Till 2019 many government employees on the social media used to justify the strike calls given by the separatists and the acts of terror committed by the terrorists.
Omar wanted 'Wazir-e-Azam' back
In April 2019, just three months before the abrogation of Article 370, former J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had said: 'Jammu and Kashmir was not like other states of India. We didn't come for free. We made conditions and ensured that our separate identity is preserved. We got guarantees incorporated into the Constitution. We ensured that we have a flag and a Constitution of our own. We have got it included in the Constitution that we have our own 'Wazir-e-Azam' (Prime Minister) and 'Sadr-e-Riyasat' (head of state). These were later removed by them. God willing, we will get this nomenclature back.'
Omar had said that if after 70-years the Centre wants to withdraw Article 370 then it would have to revisit the entire issue of J&K's accession to India.
Besides Omar, his father, three-time J&K Chief Minister, Dr Farooq Abdullah, another J&K CM, Mehbooba Mufti, also used to give similar statements.
J&K people welcomed Centre's move
Prime Minister Modi returned to power for the second consecutive term in May 2019 with a thumping majority and handed over the 'Mission Kashmir' to his most trusted lieutenant, Union Home Minister Amit Shah. The Kashmir-based leaders predicted that the Valley would burn and J&K would fall into the lap of Pakistan as soon as Article 370 is done away with. But their assessment fell flat as J&K people welcomed the Centre's bold move to end J&K's status-quo once for all.
The mainstream leaders in Kashmir never played a constructive role vis-a-vis J&K's integration with India. Their irresponsible statements and assertions helped Pakistan and its agents in J&K to vitiate the atmosphere and foment trouble.
These leaders always spoke about J&K being different from rest of the country and this led to Himalayan region getting caught in the cycle of Pakistan sponsored terrorism for three decades.
New Delhi for 70 years reposed complete faith on the Kashmir-based leaders with a hope that they would inculcate the spirit of nationalism among the people and would bring J&K closer to India. But these leaders betrayed the trust of the national leaders and backstabbed them by talking in a language which served the purpose of adversaries.
Instead of telling the people that they should look towards New Delhi for help, they told them that J&K needs to look towards Pakistan and China.
All myths shattered
PM Modi led dispensation shattered all the myths by putting J&K on the path of peace, prosperity and development. It brought J&K closer to New Delhi and sent a clear message that the Centre always wanted to help the people and had no ill will towards them.
By making J&K people participate in the programmes of national importance the government has made them understand that India's strength lies in its diversity and J&K people are equal like every other citizen of India.
J&K people by participating with heart and soul in the 'Constitution Day' celebrations have sent a clear message that they are proud to be Indians and endorse each and every move of the government.