In a world where autocracy and oppression seem to have made their proverbial summer home, any news of peace and patriotism is likely to be taken with a pinch of salt. This is what happened when the footage of Republic Day celebrations at an educational institution in one of the most politically volatile districts in the Valley, the Shopian district, first went viral. It's a first and it's a positive step and it took a while to sink in.
In what can be termed a turnaround of the century, the first-ever Republic Day celebrations were held at the Islamic school Jamia Siraj ul Uloom in the Hillow village. The one-minute clip depicts students and faculty together standing in rows while 'Jan Gan Man' plays in the background and the Tricolour is hoisted amidst salutes.
The Jamia Siraj campus is spread over 15 acres of land and the institute offers education from Class V to college degrees in arts and science.
1st time at Religious Institution of Jamia Siraj Ul Uloom Imamsahib #Shopian— Umar clicks (@umarclicks) January 26, 2021
Celebration of Republic Day @Junaidbhatphoto @ashraf_wani @tariqbhatnewsg1 @mehakzubair1 @SaraHayatShah @RJNASIROFFICIAL @shopiankmr @Mirchi_Rafia @Shehla_Rashid @OmarAbdullah @Masratzahra pic.twitter.com/LjKCsXeVrp
A complete turnaround
What makes the event even more unbelievable is the fact that only a quarter of a year back, the same institution was under the scanner for its 'unestablished' links.
In the October of last year, the institute's name cropped up after the arrest of three men for their alleged JeI (Jamaat-e-Islami) links. As per reports, the three men in question were probed for their alleged association with the institute. The school administration back then denied all links and has maintained throughout that it is in no affiliation with the organization in any capacity. The principal also came on board to say that none of the three men in question ever taught there.
But social media is skeptical
Was it heartfelt or forced? Could it be staged or what if things had truly changed? Amidst redefined nationalism and the ever eroding secular structure of the nation, can social media really be blamed for not taking things at face value. Shopian district has always been a hotbed of insurgency. There may be some Kashmiris whose ideas of nationalism and patriotism be in complete alignment with the mainstream definitions.