Do you know that Lord Ram’s son, Kush, is believed to be the ruler of modern day region of Jammu and Kashmir?
In India, mythology is inextricably entwined with reality. When they change places, nobody knows! Perhaps that is why 5 August this year is a day of remembrance for what is true and what we believe to be true. The day that allows us to think of Lord Ram and Kashmir in one breath. While Prime Minister Narendra Modi offered his prayers to Lord Ram on the occasion of bhoomi pujan at Ayodhya, residents of Kashmir Valley spent the day under curfew on account of the first anniversary of the 'abrogation' of Article 370.
The Quint’s Legal Editor Vakasha Sachdev and I hosted a chat discussing the first year of the change of status for Jammu and Kashmir with different stakeholders, namely Radha Kumar, Ratan Sharda, Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami, and Air Vice Marshal (retd) Kapil Kak. Of course, the first question had to be:
How would the fellow citizens in Kashmir get to see the LIVE broadcast of the ceremonies held in Ayodhya on their 2G-powered gadgets?
One of the panelists of this discussion, author Ratan Sharda, writes, “Nullifying Article 370 is a paradigm shift. It will take us time to come out of 70 years of doing the same things but expecting different results. Yes, a lot needs to be done – but that can’t legitimise what had been happening for seven decades.”
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Coming back to the bhoomi pujan, many leaders from the Congress party hailed the ceremony at Ayodhya. Senior journalist Bharat Bhushan decodes this as the Congress party's attempt to reclaim its majority vote.
Lawyer Avani Bansal, however, writes that religion and politics ought not be mixed as they rarely blend well.
Far from this madding crowd, Pragya Tiwari yearns for her ancestral town that has now been invisibilised by the politicking around Lord Ram’s birthplace.
As the day draws to an end, one wonders whether any place is what we have always believed it to be.
What is Kashmir, heaven on earth or an open air correctional facility?
What is Ayodhya, Lord Ram's birthplace or a symbol of majoritarian heft?
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