Will this year be any different for Kashmiris?
Purely from the point of view the residents of Jammu and Kashmir, let it be said that despite certain changes in the mood in the year gone by, not much has changed in the state in terms of the situation that exists in our minds. The fear of the past should have given way to the optimism that Kashmir was looking forward to. It has not happened till date.
The measurement of the situation through statistics never shows complete picture. Unfortunately, that’s the way our politicians and security forces view their successes. But when, it comes to failures, they have a lot many excuses to offer. This is not an attempt to sketch a gloomy picture of Kashmir, because those who view that the cycle of the change has turned full circle, have failed to realize that the ground situation is still volatile.
Three generations have been badly affected by the turmoil that the Valley has seen during the past 22 years. One was the generation of the middle aged people in 1990s, who had seen a beautiful childhood and listened to the fairly tales from their grand parents, enjoyed picnics with family or their schoolmates in different parts of the Valley.
Second generation was that was in its childhood in 1990s, who had not experienced full pleasures of the childhood. Their childhood was cut short by the violence that swept the Valley, and their grandparents and parents , instead of telling the fairy tale stories only cautioned them against venturing out in the open. They were restricted to the four walls of their homes, and what they say was horrible, midnight knocks, guns of militants and the security forces. It grew up with the bombs and grenades and bullets. They developed their instincts to distinguish between a bomb and sonic boom. They could easily tell you what was the difference between a bullet from pistol and that of the AK47s.
Third generation was born during the turmoil, fearless of grenades and bullets. They have their own vocabulary of the situation. At the time when the electoral politics was returning to the Valley, this generation saw what was happening in the rest of the world. This generation is fearless and active, reactive to the things that land before them. Now, this generation inspired by Arab Spring, has developed its own individual leadership. They trust their abilities to connect to the rest of the world. It’s Facebook and Twitter and Youtube generation, which is using this medium to put across their point of view to the world.
Where do we go from here? That’s the question. There are three generations whose concerns will have to be addressed. Some problems are common and others different from one generation and the other. That would bring a change, not the numbers as to how many militants were killed or how many of them have been arrested. For this, a genuine leadership has to emerge. There is a need for the leadership to grow and there is a complete vacuum at the moment. It is despite the fact that the leaders of various political groups claim that they represent the genuine aspirations of the people. But when it comes to pushing a cause or translating their words into action, they are found stranded in their tracks. This is where they have lost the credibility with the masses. The youth of Kashmir feels further alienated by the fact that Pakistan, the country mired in its own troubles, not knowing where to move and how to survive, where sectarian killings and the bombs killing people in dozens, is no longer a greener pasture for them.
Within the country, the Kashmiri youth (Jammu and Kashmir) are suspects.. They are suspects as if they were human bombs. Their vehicles are stopped and searched. That’s what is making them feel alienated. They find Delhi, Mumbai, and other cities good for shopping and studies, but hardly they feel comfortable there. That comfort level is missing there. This is a perfect recipe to make them feel that they are unwanted.
A collective assault of sorts on them from within and outside their own state on their identity is a big threat to them, and still bigger for those who want Kashmiris to fully integrate with rest of the country. Will this change in 2013?
Lastupdate on : Mon, 31 Dec 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 31 Dec 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 1 Jan 2013 00:00:00 IST
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