A reason to celebrate

Raising of pro Pakistan slogans, flags and celebrating the victory of their champions trophy final are all manifestation of pent up anger in our youth who which each passing day are moving away from mainstream political discourse.
A reason to celebrate
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Sunday June 18, 2017 will enter into calendar of special days in the memory of our young generation as they witnessed a spontaneous eruption of jubilation. It was a moment of joy for a people having nothing to cheer about. Why a Pakistani cricket match can do so much in Kashmir valley? Pakistani cricket team became the champion of ICC CT, 2017 by defeating India at the Oval, London and gave people of Kashmir a reason to celebrate a victory.

People of Kashmir have always cheered Pakistani cricket and hockey teams. There is nothing new in the sport for the Pakistani cricket team but the only new element was the quantum of reaction on the streets of Kashmir on Sunday evening. It was like Eid-ul-Fitr made early, very thin attendance in mosques for Taraveeh prayers. The drums used by Saharkhans in various localities of downtown were being beaten by the youth dancing on the streets exploding fire crackers to celebrate victory of Pakistani team.

These hours' long celebrations have subtle message for all. You cannot leave a huge chunk of population to stew in their own soup for years and not give them any reason to celebrate them any victory. Youth of Kashmir have only walked on the blood strewn streets with no hope of having a better tomorrow. They have a huge back log of pent-up aspirations not being addressed or taken care of. Even the Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti made reference to this depressing scenario of Kashmir. In the recent GST special assembly session she said that the killings especially of SHO and six cops was simply because there is no democracy in Kashmir.  Choked sentiments, lurking within the hearts of our teenagers is looking for some vent. In the Pakistani cricket match they created a reason to celebrate as they have been craving to have some happiness after decades of turmoil and despondency. Perhaps that was the reason; these youth were exploding fire crackers much before India actually lost the match. It speaks about the urgency to engage with these alienated youth who have now a deep seated anger against the government of India and feel happy to tease them by anything that irritates the establishment and their media.

Raising of pro Pakistan slogans, flags and celebrating the victory of their champions trophy final are all manifestation of pent up anger in our youth who which each passing day are moving away from mainstream political discourse. Former Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah was right when he said that the new generation of Kashmir does not identify itself with the very idea of India. Instead of addressing this challenge, the establishment and the huge intelligence grid at the central level is only busy in containing protests, dissent with force. They are not bothered about the results and its consequences. They don't want the true picture of Kashmir to be portrayed in the media especially in the news channels. While the media debate revolved around SHO Feroz Ahmed Dar and his family, there was no mention of the killing of twelve year old boy who was killed by CRPF near the Arwani encounter site. The local media reported how this minor boy was first thrashed and then killed in cold blood. There has been no mention of such devastation of Kashmiri families in the 'North Korean' channels. The celebration for the Pakistani cricket victory is more reaction rather a statement of youth of Kashmir against such attitude. Lack of engagement and continuous muscular approach to deal with growing dissent and disillusionment will only add to the anger and it will always be translated on the streets. Thank God for a change youth of Kashmir gave vent to their feelings by dancing on drum beats and by exploding fire crackers. They have really created an occasion to celebrate as neither the history nor the circumstances have given them a chance to celebrate like this on the streets of Srinagar. This cricket match celebration has a message for political dispensation also, rather than playing to galleries they must try to come out of comfort zones and face the truth that actually their constituency has shrunk. Are they still relevant in the changing political discourse of Kashmir? The treatment to the youth especially to the students with bullets and pallets is only pushing young Kashmir to the wall.       

(The author teaches at Media Education Research Centre, MERC, University of Kashmir)

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