Celebrating Kashmir Week [20-27 October] Campaign – Kashmir National Day 2013
Kashmir Development Foundation (KDF) is leading on a national campaign to celebrate ‘Kashmir History Week’ (20 – 27 October) in recognition of the Kashmiri diaspora community and their contributions to the local economy, cultural heritage and civic life in various towns and cities alongside the Black History Month celebrations in United Kingdom. KDF is asking local Town and City Councils to facilitate in holding a civic ceremony and hoist the “Azad Jammu and Kashmir flag” at the City/Town Halls on 24 October 2013 to mark and celebrate “Kashmir National Day” in the Kashmir Week.
For the first the time in history in 2012 two local authorities (Rochdale and Bradford officially hoisted the flag of Azad Jammu Kashmir at the Town Hall to celebrate “Kashmir National Day” on 24th October. Kashmir flag raising ceremonies were also held as part of the Kashmir week in Oldham, Rotherham and Bolton, and a range of community events were organised by British Kashmiri community in other towns and cities across United Kingdom.
This historic initiative to mark and celebrate “Kashmir National Day” on 24th October every year in the UK and across the world was started by the Kashmir Development Foundation (KDF) - a national charity in partnership with local community groups and their elected representatives working for the empowerment of the ‘Voice’ of the Kashmiri diaspora community.
The significance of 24th October is that on this day Kashmiri people have achieved a key milestone in their long struggle for peace, social justice and fundamental freedoms.
As part of their political resistance movement to establish a democratic system of governance they rebelled against the autocratic rule of the Maharaja of the sovereign state of Jammu and Kashmir, and managed to form the people government of the state of Azad (free) Jammu and Kashmir on 24th October 1947 within twenty days of its announcement on 04 October 1947.
Therefore, by hoisting the flag of Kashmir at the town halls or civic centres the local democratic institutions in UK will be celebrating their commitment with the ideals of democratic governance at home and abroad, and the achievements of the Kashmiri diaspora community and their contributions to the local economy, heritage and civic life in Britain.
The local authorities in UK have a duty to demonstrate their commitment to all communities to; eliminate unlawful discrimination; advance equality as well as foster good community relations under the Equality Act 2010. A number of local councils have a record of supporting the Kashmiri community through the recognition of the Kashmiri national and ethnic identity in their local ethnic monitoring systems. The hoisting of the Kashmir flag will further evidence on these council’s commitment in advancing race equality and championing of community cohesion amongst diversity of cultures and communities.
The people-led movement for a democratic system of governance, social justice and fundamental freedoms within the State of Jammu and Kashmir achieved its first milestone upon the announcement of formation of a provisional peoples’ government on 4th October 1947, which subsequently led to the establishment of the first Azad (free) Government of the State of Jammu and Kashmir on 24th October 1947.
The State of Jammu and Kashmir is currently a United Nations’ ‘recognised disputed territory’, and currently forcibly divided into three parts administer by India, Pakistan and China. The state of Jammu and Kashmir thus remains a country in transition towards re-unification and national independence.
The Kashmir National Day Celebrations – 24th October
The enduring desire to achieve freedom, social justice, peace and a democratic system of governance in Jammu and Kashmir is renewed annually through “Kashmir National Day” on 24th October by Kashmiris all across the globe.
To celebrate “Kashmir National Day” flag raising ceremonies being held at both the capital and district headquarters of the Azad (free) State of Jammy and Kashmir and other parts of the state; the President and the Prime Minister of the state also inspect a guard of honour. A range of other activities, including seminars and discussion forums, are held to discuss and advance the knowledge of the general public into the history and culture of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
Kashmiri Diaspora Community in the United Kingdom
The United Kingdom has a good as well as a very complex historical relationship with the people of Jammu and Kashmir since 16 March 1846.
The Kashmiri diaspora is one of the most economically active and politically engaged communities in their place of origin as well as their current place of abode – the United Kingdom. Over half a million people sharing common national identity and representing divers ethnic, religious and cultural heritage of Jammu and Kashmir are currently living and working in United Kingdom. They have very strong on-going family, cultural, political and commercial interests in their place of origin. The Kashmiri community is an equal and integral part of the civil society in each and every sphere of life across Britain. Indeed, in England, sixteen local authorities recognise Kashmiri’s national and ethnic identity in their local authorities’ ethnic monitoring systems.
Now is the time to recognise and celebrate the contributions of Kashmiri community in the civic, economic and cultural heritage of various towns and cities across U.K by hoisting Kashmir flag at Town/City halls and other place of public interest, homes and businesses.