'Safe space for youth'

Power of Kashmiri youth succumbs to safety issues

Sajad Bazaz
Srinagar, Publish Date: Aug 10 2018 11:37PM | Updated Date: Aug 10 2018 11:37PM
'Safe space for youth'File Photo

Every year, we see commemoration of International Youth Day on 12th August, which is just a day away now. The day is celebrated as a way to promote awareness of the world programme of action for youth.  The theme for this year's International Youth Day is 'Safe Space for Youth".

In the context of a conflict-ridden  state like ours, it's the most relevant issue under the given circumstances to ensure safe space for youth. Here routine space required for routine activities related to their diverse needs and interests is most of the times unsafe. Anything happening anytime and anywhere is the norm here, especially in the Kashmir valley. Precisely, at the moment carving a safe space with dignity for themselves is a big challenge for Kashmiri youth.

Almost a three-decade armed conflict has consumed army of Kashmiri youth and has adversely impacted their mental ability. Today, when the youth looks at his predecessors, he gets disillusion; when he looks at his future, he encounters uncertainty awaiting him and when he look at his present, he finds himself in most pitiable condition. Precisely, he’s not independent at all and is confronted with safety issues even at home, which is otherwise considered as the safest place to live in.

Let's not get into politics of safety issues confronting them at their home place. There are some significant situations where youth power is wasted. While struggling for a safe space, most of today’s youth remain mentally the most disturbed persons that too in a most polished physical outlook. May be this is a new norm here. Majority of them have engaged themselves in a rewardless competition of achieving fame that too without achieving anything. Most of our youth force has transformed itself into a Facebook community and many of these young people do nothing but sell themselves. They have dedicated their lives to self-promotion and have own desperation to be famous not for their value but for their visibility.

Our youth has lost passion of being famous via talent. He shows his hunger for fame but only for fame's sake. And have turned themselves into fake junkies. Isn’t this a kind of social aberration?

The situation here is alarming and sounds a matter of concern. Social media platform is simply used as a fame machine where majority appear sad, lonely, desperate, narcissistic browser who only want acknowledgement, even if it is from other sad, lonely, desperate, and narcissistic browser. This is the real tragedy.

Today, every youth via social media like Facebook is engaged to become a celebrity. Almost every one of them runs his own show on the platform which means there’s no one to watch them. Youth constitutes more than half of our population and the irony is that most of the members of this youth generation are waiting for the future to arrive at their doorstep. During the course they lose time to garner opportunities in life to live in peace and prosperity.

In rest of the world, countries have devised programmes to channel the promise and power of youth to change their communities and their counties for betterment. We are living in one of the most difficult socio-economic and political environments. Government needs to ensure safe space for youth so that they explore their youth power for their peace, prosperity and profits. 

There’s a phrase: “Problem-free isn’t fully prepared. And fully prepared isn’t fully engaged.” Supporting youth development should not just be about building their competencies and connections, it should be an act to actively engage them in their own development and that of their societies, communities and the nation. So, make the youth partners in tackling pressing problems confronting us. They alone are the architects of the safe and prosperous future.


(The views are of the author & not the institution he works for)


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