Day off for Kashmir

Published: February 5, 2013

Hundreds of Kashmiris staged an emotional demonstration, asking India, Pakistan to withdraw troops. PHOTO: AGENCIES/FILE

Hundreds of Kashmiris staged an emotional demonstration, asking India, Pakistan to withdraw troops. PHOTO: AGENCIES/FILE

Yet another working day has been lost, as we mark Kashmir Day — as we have every February 5 for years. But the fact is that the occasion has lost all meaning. It simply becomes another holiday, tacked on to a calendar which has far too many on it already. Schoolchildren will rejoice, so will many others much older than them, but in reality, all the day means is a loss of working hours and time. Business suffers, as do all kinds of other commercial activities, further wounding an already staggering economy. And it is far from clear how this day, used for leisure, for family picnics or other similar activity, helps the people of Kashmir at all.

Yes, some rallies and marches will be staged. During them, the usual calls will be made for justice and peace in that troubled valley. But people, as a whole, have become detached from these activities. Concern for Kashmir is certainly not very high; nor is there any evidence at all that it peaks on February 5. The reality also is that people have too many immediate concerns of their own to be specially worried about Kashmir and its people. For them, there are too many anxieties based around their own troubles in times of soaring inflation and great political uncertainty. Indeed, surveys in the past have shown only limited interest in the entrenched issue of Kashmir, with people focusing attention on their own plight.

This should make us think about why we mark Kashmir Day at all. Yes, Kashmiri victims of abuse deserve sympathy; the Kashmiris also need to be able to determine their own destiny, as is their right. But will closing shops, offices and educational institutions at home for an entire day really help them in any way? Or will it just harm us? This is something that needs to be thought about with wisdom, given that simply observing yet another holiday does not seem to serve the interests of anyone at all, whether in Kashmir or at home.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 5th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (28)

  • Feb 5, 2013 - 1:05AM

    Who else here believe that ET is on a propaganda course to please some significant funding sources.

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  • 3rdRockFromTheSun
    Feb 5, 2013 - 1:28AM

    How about holidays for Gujarat Day, Babri Masjid Day, ShahRukh Khan Day, Samjhota Expr Day, Palestine Day, Rohingya Day, Chechnya Day, Muslims in India Day ….?

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  • Hukum Singh
    Feb 5, 2013 - 1:51AM

    It is a shame we don’t celebrate Kashmir Day in India. I could use a holiday.

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  • AZK
    Feb 5, 2013 - 1:59AM

    @ET When mqm called for strike, then why won’t you guys say a word?

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  • Dr. Who
    Feb 5, 2013 - 2:31AM

    If Pakistanis are really Sympathetic, may be the entire country should work on that day and contribute their one day earnings to victims of conflicts like Kashmir, Palestine, etc. That will bring out the real sympathizers and free riders

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  • Mumbai Jazz
    Feb 5, 2013 - 3:06AM

    @Sarmad Hassan: Nobody. It’s a lost cause the day when you started armed insurgency in Kashmir plus being hypocrite about Balochistan movement. Why no Balochi day ?
    @ET, Good constructive question for Pakistani awaam.

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  • lol
    Feb 5, 2013 - 3:28AM

    Endian Tribune at its best.

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  • kaalchakra
    Feb 5, 2013 - 4:23AM

    I hope this is not an attempt to kill off a very important means of demonstrating collective solidarity with Kashmir and renewing the nation’s commitment. This is the day when the nation rejuvenates itself for its everlasting commitment to upholding human rights in Indian-held Kashmir.

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  • Arijit Sharma
    Feb 5, 2013 - 8:11AM

    @kaalchakra: ” … This is the day when the nation rejuvenates itself for its everlasting commitment to upholding human rights in Indian-held Kashmir. … “

    Probably on this day you should reflect about events in your country that give the impression that Muslims are not a people of peace.

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  • Adnan Khan
    Feb 5, 2013 - 9:35AM

    This is probably the most shameful thing, I have read on Express Tribune. Absolutely appalling and outrageous, considering it has come from someone born in Pakistan.
    .
    How could you be so crass and uncaring about the feeling of Pakistanis, about their brothers and sisters in Kashmir ?. Our hearts beat as one.
    .
    I need to take a shower, after reading this pro-indian propaganda, that too on Kashmir Day, from a so-called Pakistani newspaper.

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  • Express Hater
    Feb 5, 2013 - 9:37AM

    @Sarmad Hassan:
    I do

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  • Feb 5, 2013 - 9:53AM

    @Adnan Khan:

    “Our hearts beat as one.”

    Thats what you guys said about Bengalis. Mowed down 3 Million in just 9 months!

    Do you realise Pakistani Army raised LeJ to kill Shias in Kashmir? Hearts as one, absolutely!

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  • Sanjay
    Feb 5, 2013 - 9:55AM

    Dear friends,
    I am from India & have a solution which should be agreeable for both parties. Lets change the date for “Kashmir day”. Why don’t you make it on say first Sunday of Feb. This would ensure that you use a Sunday for this purpose & do not have a day wasted (in economic terms).

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  • Raj - USA
    Feb 5, 2013 - 11:07AM

    @Sanjay:
    Even better option would be to move it to from Feb. 5 to Feb 30.

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  • joy
    Feb 5, 2013 - 11:11AM

    @ Sanjay: ” why don’t you make it on say first Sunday of Feb. This would ensure that you use a Sunday for this purpose & do not have a day wasted (in economic terms).”…..
    Hey Bro..you just committed blasphemy by linking Kashmir and economy. How dare you?Economy just does not matter..what matters is Kashmir and only Kashmir.:)

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  • Clear Black Bag
    Feb 5, 2013 - 1:38PM

    Observing 5th February every year as Kashmir Day in Pakistan and Azad Kashmir can never coerce India to free Kashmir because now forget it that Kashmir shall be set free from Indian occupation by observing the Kashmir Day on 5th February every year,condemning and insisting on and continuity of peace talks with India for Kashmir issue.If you have courage then get Kashmir by force from India or don’t have courage then forget Kashmir because India is never never ever going to free/leave Kashmir thru peace talks……

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  • sky(indian)
    Feb 5, 2013 - 2:00PM

    @Dr. Who:
    I completely agree with your sir.

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  • Vikas
    Feb 5, 2013 - 3:43PM

    Pakistanis like to live in illusion and no one can break this illusion. Even a blind person can see the relation between Soviet withdraw in 1989 and the start of indigenous “armed freedom” fight in Kashmir.
    Anyway Pakistanis forgot “Bleed India” policy.
    Do I need to remind, you reap what you sow? That’s why Pakistan is bleeding today.
    I’m loving it.
    And don’t Pakistanis feel ashamed in coming to India for any reason?

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  • G. Din
    Feb 5, 2013 - 5:02PM

    @Clear Black Bag:
    “If you have courage then get Kashmir by force from India or don’t have courage then forget Kashmir because India is never never ever going to free/leave Kashmir thru peace talks……”
    Finally, something that makes sense coming out of clear black bag. Will wonders never cease!

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  • Feb 5, 2013 - 5:38PM

    Thanks for the great editorial – couldn’t agree more.

    Kashmir Day is meaningless to all Pakistanis. Given the widespread violence across the country against Shias, Ahmedis, Christians, Hindus, Hazaras, etc, etc, it has become meaningless for us to talk of Kashmiri rights any longer.

    Add to this our collective national inability to run our economy without aid/dole from the rest of the world, this day is just symbolic of our various failed attempts at liberating Kashmir and our perpetual failure to improve economic growth.

    It is unfortunate that education is already a low-priority for our nation – half of us already oppose girl’s education. Holidays such as this just serve to further degrade our students’ learning.

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  • Zalmai
    Feb 5, 2013 - 6:29PM

    Pakistan should acknowledge its disenfranchised and suppressed Pashtun, Baloch, Ahmadiya and Shia people by giving them a day to commemorate their plight.

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  • Vinezi Karim
    Feb 5, 2013 - 8:50PM
  • Yoghurt lover
    Feb 5, 2013 - 9:24PM

    @3rdRockFromTheSun:

    “How about holidays for Gujarat Day, Babri Masjid Day, ShahRukh Khan Day, Samjhota Expr Day, Palestine Day, Rohingya Day, Chechnya Day, Muslims in India Day ….?”

    Yes :)

    Also, how about, I don’t care abt Karachi day, I don’t care abt Balochistan day, I don’t care abt Shia/Ahmadi day?

    Also, how about hair army day?

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  • gp65
    Feb 5, 2013 - 10:34PM

    @Vinezi Karim:
    It is not Indian government my friend it is your jail muftis who issue fatwas. The CM of Kashmir Omar Abdullah infact asked the girls to not get intimidated by the fatwa but the girls’ families are the ones who capitulated to the fatwa. Nothing to do with lack of freedom in India.

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  • Enlightened
    Feb 5, 2013 - 10:43PM

    ET
    Please have a heart, why do you want to deprive people of Pakistan of this much needed holiday when they take out their pent up feelings of being deprived of gas, electricity, unemployment etc in Pakistan on Kashmir issue ? I may to like make another suggestion that 16 Dec be observed as National Mourning Day and a holiday in Pakistan as on this day in 1971, the country was dismembered and 90000 troops surrendered to the Indian army.

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  • Subhash
    Feb 6, 2013 - 8:48PM

    Pakistanis have deep love for Kashmiris; but why Kashmir Day is celebrated only once a year? I suggest it must be celebrated atleast once a month.
    Long rallies must be held throughout the day in all towns from dusk to dawn, essay competitions must be held for all school children, debates on the topic must be made mandatory in all factories & offices etc etc.
    And for all this hard work, the subsequent day be declared a national holiday.
    With so much of focus & love, Kashmir will surely fall in Pakistan’s laps very soon — totally peaceful methods will achieve what terror has not achieved.
    And on top of it ALL PAKISTANIS WILL LOVE IT ABSOLUTELY AND INSIST ON CELEBRATING KASHMIR DAY EVERY WEEK.

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  • AK Murthy
    Feb 10, 2013 - 12:00AM

    I wish I could get this holiday also based here in US. Enjoy your Biryanis and Kababs pakistani people and get along with your business

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  • Pawroti
    Feb 26, 2013 - 9:44PM

    @Raj – USA:
    You got me there Bro.

    Hats off to your Genius.

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