‘Hardworking Kashmiris were carving through a rocky mountain to shape their future when some of their fellow brothers were busy throwing stones.’ The speech of India’s iconic prime minister was allegoric while painting his new picture of Kashmir.
The statement defines allegory in a subtle tone; an expression that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning, typically a moral or political one. After BJP’s landslide victory in Uttar Pradesh, which proved to be a booster for his stature as the prime minister of India, this was his first significant statement over Kashmir.
“I want to tell the misguided youth of Kashmir, realise the power of a stone. On the one hand, there are some youth who pelt stones, on the other hand, there are young men from the same Kashmir who carve stones to build infrastructure,” he said. In Kashmir the art of stone carving has a long history of centuries.
The Prime Minister urged the youth of the Valley to choose between “tourism and terrorism”, saying “40 years of bloodshed” has not done anyone any good.
He promised to stand shoulder-to-shoulder in the development of Jammu and Kashmir, and follow former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s slogan of “Kashmiriyat, Jamhooriyat, Insaniyat (Kashmirism, democracy and humanity)” to take the state to new heights.
He said if the people of Kashmir had devoted 40 years to development of tourism, the Valley would have been blessed with a vibrant world-class tourist economy.
“I want to tell the Kashmiri youth, there are two paths in front of you which can determine your future; one is tourism, the other is terrorism.”
Modi drove in an open jeep through the all-weather route, which is expected to help trade and tourism in the region.
“This tunnel is not just the longest tunnel but a big leap for Jammu and Kashmir in terms of development,” Modi said, describing the engineering feat as the state’s “fate-line” that will translate dreams into reality.
At the inauguration, where thousands of people have gathered, Modi’s message was clearly for the Kashmiri youth involved in stone-pelting at security forces, thereby risking their lives.
Militancy-hit Kashmir has been intensely restive since the killing of a popular militant leader, last summer that triggered a long unrest in which more than 80 people were killed and hundreds wounded in clashes with security forces. (With input from agencies and Hindustan Times).