The Generation of Change
Two Boys, Two Stories – One Inspiration, One Yearning Change
HOPE BY JUNAID AZIM MATTU
Mary Robinson, the seventh, and first female President of Ireland famously said that “Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending”. Nothing could perhaps be a more inspiring statement for a generation of young Kashmiris who have inherited their State of disempowerment. In a world that has been changed of its axis by globalization and technology, Kashmir lies abandoned behind the walls of political technicalities. A generation born into political turmoil has come of age in Kashmir. Riddled by misrepresentation and uncertainty, Kashmir’s young men and women have been deciphered and re-deciphered into disconnected perceptions by crusaders, well-wishers and many a blindfolded analysts. Branded as the youth of conflict and rage, the imagination of an entire generation has been generalized into clichés, imprisoned within the walls of political train tracks that come back a full circle.
In the course of my venture into politics, I have met a lot of young Kashmiris who have as many dissimilarities as is common between them. Behind the ambiguity of their futures, their eyes are witnessing the world around them being changed by opportunities and possibilities. Permeable minds, exposed to the hope of prosperity and maximized collective happiness, have started to churn and, I believe will change the destiny of the Kashmiri nation. Recently I met two amazing young Kashmiris – Manan and Khalid, boys who in my opinion are great indicators of a future that will see the empowerment of a disempowered nation – an empowerment that will bring us at par with the surging world of changing destinies. Khalid, a very articulate young boy from Old City, Srinagar is a student of computer applications and loves reading fiction – from Khaled Hosseini to Chetan Bhagat. Khalid has this conspicuous spark of unrest in his eyes – positive unrest. He, with great articulation, describes how his generation has been exploited to prove the improvable points of inherited history. He unapologetically talks of the injustices of the past. He also talks about the importance of change – a change in the way we expect and dream, the very pleasant possibility of ushering Kashmir into a corrective era of development and prosperity. Khalid’s restless eyes have this power that can move the most cynical mind out of its self-reassuring negativity about how we shouldn’t bathe, eat, earn and live till some external puzzles fall into place to result in the resolution of our political issues. Khalid wants to give back to a society, a nation that has not given much to his generation beyond the glorification of sacrifice and helplessness. Khalid, I hope and believe, will be a nation-builder in whichever manner and field he chooses.
The second young man I met this week took me back into my own recent past – an avid debater, Manan an amazingly articulate and earnest young boy from a humble, working-class background – who proudly states that his roots are in Bandipore - left Kashmir in 8th standard and went on to attend an illustrious residential school in Dehradun. At Wellhams, Manan found a new world of academic opportunities and exploration and took great interest in debating and co-curricular activities. Manan, based on his remarkable performance, talent and intelligence, was recently offered a full-ride scholarship to complete the last two years of his schooling at The Wasatch Academy, Utah, USA. The Wasatch Academy, founded in 1857, is a premiere college preparatory boarding school in Utah, USA has a 100% acceptance rate to US universities – sending its graduates to some of the world’s best universities like Northwestern University, Carnegie Mellon, Harvard, Columbia, UC, NYU, UPENN, Oxford, Purdue and Hamilton. I have no doubt that Manan will go on to attend one of these illustrious institutions and will attain remarkable success. The highlight of Manan’s grit and potential is yet embossed in something he told me with the same restlessness that I saw in Khalid’s eyes – “I want to go and explore the whole world, learn from the most illustrious and enriching places of excellence and then come back a full circle to give back to Kashmir, to serve and be a part of Change”.
Khalid described his meeting with Sajad Lone on Twitter as a “life altering moment”. I knew exactly what he meant. That is how I felt when I met Sajad for the first time and heard him talk about the need for hope and Change in Kashmir with great articulation and earnestness. Manan told me that he finds hope in the fact that people like me are returning to Kashmir and are plunging head-first into politics to change what we could have rather chosen to whine about in our living rooms. I was and am humbled. More importantly, we are thoroughly encouraged and assume that we are on the right track to change the course of our destiny against all odds and elitist cynicism. This is the generation that will change the reality of Kashmir and lift it from the clutches of dynastic exploitation and persecution to the heights of development and hope – for hopelessness is a sin.
(Junaid Azim Mattu is the Srinagar District President of Jammu & Kashmir Peoples’ Conference. Ideas expressed are personal. Feedback at email@example.com)
Lastupdate on : Fri, 13 Apr 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 13 Apr 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 14 Apr 2012 00:00:00 IST
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