The date October 26 does not stir anything significant in the hearts and minds of the majority of this country. It is not a special birthday or a religious holiday that is etched in the conscience of India. One has to do a google search to realise that 70 years ago, Maharaja Hari Singh of Jammu and Kashmir signed the Instrument of Accession to India as the region was under siege from Pakistani forces. The accord mobilised the Indian army to repel the invaders weeks after the nation gained independence.
October 26 is commemorated as a ‘Black Day’ by separatists in the Kashmir valley when they rage against the armed forces and the Indian union. Not just Jammu, but the entire nation should honour the sacrifice of India’s first war hero as a strong counter to the separatist narrative. A celebration of his life and service will send a strong message to our brave serving jawans who battle terrorists and stone-pelters to defend the country. His memory makes the separatist call meaningless – a fool’s dream that history has denied and the future will never allow.