Our insensitivity is wreaking havoc on Kashmir
Nature’s Fury & We
Since September 2014, Kashmir has been experiencing strange climatic changes that have made us worried about our very existence. Rains would come earlier also, but never had rains been so frightening as they are today, forcing people to look for safer areas. Cloudbursts did occur earlier also but as frequently as they are happening today. It seems that Mother Nature has given up her ‘motherliness’ for us. And, why wouldn’t she? We have wreaked havoc on her. Gone are the days when Kashmiris would, out of devotion, climb the stairs of the Makhdoom Sahib shrine with their earthen pots, carrying water to seek his intervention in bringing rains to Kashmir. Saserass is no longer cooked to please the Lord so that He stopped the incessant rains. Gone are the days when our prayers would have an effect, for they came from sincere hearts. Now, even after shouting from loudspeakers, our prayers go waste because we are neither sincere nor honest in our worship. We have made our religion, Islam, a ritual, killing its essence by our hypocrisy. We believe that Allah won’t listen to us unless we shout through loudspeakers disturbing everybody. Have we become the incorrigible lot like the Makkan pagans who defied the Prophet (SAW), knowing well that he was ‘ameen’ and ‘sadiq’? How can we be saved from sufferings? With what face do we seek our Lord’s mercy when we know that we have ourselves brought this havoc on us? We played with Nature, destroying our water-bodies, encroaching on forest land, choking drains and canals and fiddling with God’s gifts.
We have become too insensitive to our environmental degradation. We take pride in destroying what God has given us in abundance—the flora and fauna. Our forests, lakes and rivers have fallen prey to our greed, resulting in our living in a constant fear of getting inundated with even a little rainfall. Our insensitivity isn’t restricted to our environment alone but to everything that we should’ve taken care of. For instance, our healthcare systems, our educational institutions and, above all, our governance have fallen a victim to our indifference. The neonatal health facility at GB Pant hospital is devastating, causing death to hundreds of new-born babies, the tertiary care (be it SKIMS or SMHS hospital) is in doldrums; most of the health-care units in Kashmir lack even the basic facilities, but we seem to bother too little about them. Our roads are a complete shambles, but nobody appears to care for them.
Our education system is a wreck. In particular, our school education is a complete mess with many schools lacking in infrastructure while our education minister is talking about quality education. There are schools working in one-room rented-buildings while our Government brags about taking education to the doorsteps of the people.
Our higher education system has fallen prey to politics. One central university given to the valley got politicised so much that even after six years of its existences there are no signs of its coming up. In order to appease his electorate, the former CM gave it a place that is neither usable nor logistically suitable for the campus. Wangaejwor has therefore become the university’s fate. Working from rented buildings spread over Srinagar, it has achieved nothing more than adding another group of unemployed youth to the state. On the contrary, its Jammu counterpart, which is of the same age, has been able to build its infrastructure. There, people didn’t fight for employment; they didn’t encroach on the university land, nor did they stop the university authorities from constructing the campus. Here, everything got politicised. Locals remained defiant, asking for employment before they would allow the campus to come up. It’s unfortunate that this University didn’t get a visionary leader who could bring it to a level where it would impact the higher education. The result is that it is there in the name without any substantial contribution to the higher education here.
Our lackadaisical approach is destroying our own land? See how sensitive Jammuites are to their place. A simple announcement in the Parliament about an AIIMS being established in Kashmir has brought all Jammuites together. Cutting across party lines, Jammu is these days up in arms against the State and Central governments, demanding that the AIIMS be established in Jammu. And, they will get it. It is a shame that our own politicians who we elect to safeguard our interests are taking sides with Jammu. They are openly supporting the communal forces in Jammu, thus polarising the State. God knows whether or not AIIMS will be established in Kashmir. The last Congress-led UPA government had announced some medical colleges for the valley; they never came up. Jammu will surely not only get an AIIMS but also other things that would develop them further. Jammu leaders are not disappointing their voters, whereas our leaders sell only dreams to us.
Need to Introspection
How long will this go, and for how long shall we remain indifferent to the happenings around us? We feel no shame in destroying Nature. We don’t react to injustice, inequality and apathy that we have been suffering from at the hands of successive governments here and in Delhi. There’s a need for introspection in our life. In particular, we must rethink on our believing in the politicians who have been selling us dreams that never get fulfilled. Azaadi was sold for more than two decades and, then, sold to power. According to Dulat, Farooq sold autonomy to save his chair. His son dumped his father, too, for the CM’s post. We aren’t able to make a difference between a dream and reality. We continue to look for a new messiah, but he is nowhere. The Mufti in his new avatar is busy in ‘reaping harvest’, dumping his ‘healing touch’ and ‘self-rule’ dreams—na samjoge to mit jaoge ei kashmir walo!