The single most important take-away from the unfortunate turmoil that has kept the Kashmir Valley on the boil for three months and more is that the youth of the region need to be given special attention since they tend to get misled.
Parenthood across the world faces the maximum challenge from
adolescents. The difference is that in Kashmir the issue attains a political dimension along with the personal one.
It has been widely documented that the stone pelters during the unrest from 2008 to 2010 were in an age bracket of 12 to 16 years. This amply proves that the boys who had spearheaded the previous turmoil have gained maturity and moved on and a new set of boys, in the same age group, has taken their place.
Those committed to an ideology do not leave it in a short span of a few years; that the previous set of stone
pelters has moved on indicates that they were not committed to the separatist ideology, giving an aura of ideology
to any unrest engineered in the
What is happening in Kashmir is
outright indoctrination of young
impressionable minds. When one
generation crosses the adolescent threshold the incoming generation is targeted. It is something like recruitment in a call centre where the turnover is very fast.
Moods of teenagers swing from euphoria to utter dejection in no time. They are also prone to experimenting with drugs, sex, alcohol and other forms of stimulants.
The inimical forces operating in Kashmir have developed a winning model of exploiting such vulnerabilities of teenagers and guiding them on to a wholly destructive path of so-called revolution – a Jihad (Holy war) for attaining Azaadi (freedom).
The indoctrinated young boys get sucked into the so-called “Jihad”
without knowing what it entails. The more their family stops them from
following such a self-destructive path, the more they become adamant,
belligerent and rigid.
The disruptive and divisive forces then raise a bogey of the youth being alienated. The media laps up this
situation for its TRP value. What
follows is an unhealthy phase of
government bashing by the mandarins of the information domain.
In the Jammu and Kashmir State Board examination, the students have responded with a massive 94.53 per cent attendance.
The unprecedented response has taken the wind out of the sails of the separatist and divisive narrative that has been
projecting alienation of the young school going boys and girls as the reason behind the unrest and strife that enveloped the valley for more than three months.
It has now emerged that the young community of students is more
interested in pursuing their education and not in pelting stones.
What becomes significant, under the circumstances, is to identify ways and means to ensure that the adolescents do not get carried away by separatist
propaganda and indoctrination.
The teachers there, especially in
government schools, do not relate with or assist the parents in monitoring the upbringing and development of their students. Any academician would be shocked to know that the concept of parent-teacher meeting, so common in India not to talk of the world, is almost non-existent. With such basics not in place, one cannot even talk about more integrative aspects like cluster meets, cultural exchanges, sports debates etc.
The government is inundated with fervent calls to “do something.” Government, therefore, is doing what it is required to do; responsibility for upbringing of the child rests with the parents, the community, society and not the state.
“I think our challenge in Kashmir today is to connect to the youngsters who are below 18,” says Waheed Ur Rehman Parra, the head of the youth wing of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). A good, noble statement, only, it does not clearly define as to who
exactly is to face the challenge and
connect with the children!
Parra also terms the youngsters as “stakeholders.” The job of the children is to study, to expect them to be
stakeholders while in school amounts to stretching things too far!!
The Kashmiri people hold education at high priority. They are ready to make any sacrifice to see their children
getting degrees and progressing in life. The government, on its part, needs to ride on the positivity that has been so courageously exhibited by the people by sending their wards for the class 12 examination despite the risk involved. It has to be ensured that quality education through regular classes is provided to the children.
However, it also needs to be
understood unequivocally that caring for children and giving to them a proper value based upbringing along with education is the responsibility of the parents and the society at large.
(The writer is Editor of