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  • WisdomStrength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will. - Mahatma Gandhi

Kashmir: Youth for Change

5/17/2016 10:19:48 AM

We are our leaders, let’s lead ourselves for the change
Akhter H. Bhat

Youth power is the greatest power on this planet. Young minds filled with immense enthusiasm and creativity can change the whole world.  As, very rightly, said by Benjamin Disraeli, “The youth of a nation are the trustees of posterity”. They have always been the backbones of every revolution that took place on earth. However, very unfortunately for us in Kashmir the political and economical instability, that the state has been going through for decades, has deluged our youth and transformed them into numb entities. While initially young Kashmiries readily accepted all violent approaches to settle the issue of their land by joining various militant outfits, they also quickly understood the fact that by doing that they were actually destroying their own future and their own nation. The guns and grenades that the lords of war were handing over to them were not killing any outsiders but the brothers and sisters of their own land. Then what replaced those guns and grenades were stones and bricks.  Here the people of Kashmir ignored the very basic fact that what couldn’t be accomplished with guns and grenades was least expected to be done by stones and bricks. What they received in reply was bullets and shells and this phenomenon of reprisal continued killing hundreds and hundreds of young Kashmiries, most of them being innocent kids. Thus the only option that Kashmiri youth found themselves left with was controlling their emotions and calmly filtering their ideologies in order to have a better understanding of what they had been doing and what they ideally should be doing. On the other side, the world had been moving ahead very fast. Youth all across the world had moved far ahead by joining the race of development and prosperity. They had immense opportunities and avenues to grow as individuals and as nations. Inspite of walking through the tunnels of darkness, youth of Kashmir could easily sense the light on the other side. Speeding up their run of reconciliation in hope for a better world, they ran through darkness but only to jump into another dark zone. Unfortunately for them, there was nothing that could reward them for their courage of reconciliation. There lied a state that had been ruined by inadequate system of governance and run by a gang of goons who would sell anything like land, water, air and even their mothers and sisters in order to maintain the crown on their heads. Those goons could deliver exhilarating speeches on development and prosperity but could hardly show it up on ground.  Caught up in such a situation, these young minds got transformed into extremely numb entities. Instead of moving around their limbs for a change they rather preferred to remain static and speechless. They became the typical victims caught up in the hazardous spiral of silence. For all those years I had been outside Kashmir. I had never thought Kashmiries will change as quickly as they did. Now I see loads of enthusiastic young Kashmiries running from pillar to post in search work options. Most of them have lost their interest in the Kashmir conflict and seem very desperate to join the race of progress. However, for most of them their search for a job hardly yields them any results. The ambit of private sector is so small that it simply cannot accommodate such a huge populace of unemployed youth. So the only option they there see for themselves is government sector. As I observed it, they can go to any heights of compromise to get one. They can sell their small pieces of land to be able to pay bribes, cook, clean etc for government officials, and even bray in support for political party to make sure that they get a government job.  To my knowledge, there is not even a single country in the world that has provided government based work options to all its citizens and incsase any country does that, its economy is most likely to shrink in a small period of time. So it becomes very imperative for every young Kashmiri to understand this fact as soon as possible. Economy of a state like Kashmir can only be developed when the state is able to, first identify its strengths in terms of its resources, and then utilize these resources in the most appropriate manner. In my home town Bandipora I can see hundreds of young Bandiporians indulging themselves in local businesses. Some of them deal with fruits like apples, cherry, peer etc while others have engaged themselves by setting up small handicraft and printing outlets, digital labs, computer institutes etc and that is what I feel needs to be done and for me, it remarks the sprouting of renaissance within our young Kashmiri minds. The constant process of ‘betrayal’ that young Kashmiries have been experiencing has clearly explained them that there is no one who is going to reward them for their courage of reconciliation and if there exists anyone who could do that, it’s only they themselves. Now the tiny role that government can play in this situation is only ‘encouragement’. CM Mehbooba’s recent interaction with the young entrepreneurs of the valley seems to be a great initiative. However the process should not stop there. The state needs take some substantial steps to built and craft its own private sector The first and foremost step on government’s part would be identifying the state’s biggest strength’s in terms of its natural and human resources and assisting people in transforming these resources into small businesses. Simplifying the business loan processes and concentrating on supplying small business outlets in Kashmir with adequate government support in terms of money and other technical expertise would be another milestone. A much bigger step would be providing people with constant electric current so that the working hours could be increased. Afterall people of Kashmir have all the rights to enlighten their homes and work places with the electricity produced from the waters of their own land.
The current PDP-BJP government, which largely rests on the basket of expressions casted by the millions of Kashmiries aspiring for a big change--the one that PDP’s manifesto talked about in its election campaigns-- it becomes essential that this government leaves no stones unturned in their efforts to bring that change on ground. And if it, like all its predecessors, fails to do so, people would definitely lose their hope in both, the system of democracy (in general) and PDP-BJP led collation (in particular).  As for as the responsibility of youth is concerned, the final wake-up call would be standing up and making a few promises, this time not to anyone based in the hills of Pakistan or in the domes of Srinagar or Delhi, but to themselves:
?That they will wake up to shed away the rust of numbness and make themselves aware of their rights and duties to ensure a multifaceted development of their state.
?That they will not let themselves get washed away with any wave of propaganda aimed at destroying their society and their nation at large.
?That they unitedly stand against all those goons and lords of war who have been selling them and their state for nothing other than maintaining the crowns on their heads.
?That they keep themselves away from drugs and other addictions to ensure that their fresh and creative brains are not destroyed.
?That they prove themselves to be the members of one of the most decent and civilized tribes on this planet who would never opt for any violent and unjustified approaches to push forward their need and deeds.
?That, we do not let anyone disturb or distort the basic structure and the piousness of democracy as an institution and the spirit of Kashmiriyat as an emotion.
?That each one of them plays his/her bit to put their state on the path of peace, progress and prosperity.
The answer lies within our heads. The change lies within us. Let us lead ourselves for the change. It doesn’t take much to make a difference. It’s all about standing up and playing our bit. Bits can make real mountains.

Comments

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