Building youth for future

Home Minister’s encouragement to Kashmiri youth is a shot in the arm of their self confidence
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Representational Image File: FREEPIK.COM [Creative Commons]

It was heartening to come across the statement of the Union Home Minister, Amit Shah, that the Kashmiri youth have the capability of not only leading the country but also the world.

Such a statement from none other than the Home Minister is a huge morale booster to the youth of Kashmir. The statement will have a great impact to restore their confidence to get on board with the national development programmes in the long run.

I am sure the statement - Kashmiri youth is capable of leading the world – must have brought smiles on the faces of the Kashmiri youth, who otherwise were hitting media headlines for all bad reasons highlighting their pitiable past, pathetic present and uncertain future.

Remarkably, the Home Minister stated this during an interaction with Kashmiri youth and children in a programme organised by an NGO Sarhad at Pune on Saturday. Sarhad is a known organization for its commendable social work for the last few decades in Kashmir.

Historically speaking, from time to time the past has scripted innumerable miserable tales of Kashmiri youth. The tales are testimony that they have always been exploited by the powers around, whether the mainstream politicians or the so-called separatist cadres. Their sentiments and feelings were always exploited by the powers at the helm of affairs to paddle their own political boats.

A leaf from the past reveals that most of our political set-up fashioned the mentality of the youth to suit vested interests of those who held the reins of power and hardly channelized their energy for overall development of the region. Strengthening the relationship between a government and the youth has never been a priority in the past.

People at the helm of affairs were not listening enough and not seeking participation of the youth which led to declining confidence among the youth on the governing system.

Favouritism, nepotism and encouraging corrupt practices and legalizing it by bending the rules have remained hallmarks of the previous system. Now the current system of governance is rightly using the whip to eradicate the menace and bring relief to the common masses. Of course, the youth have been the major beneficiaries of the renewed policies.

It’s also a fact that allegations of poor quality of governing institutions, the high level of corruption, influence of special interest groups, lack of competition, dedication, competence and sincerity on the part of all who were in powerful positions in the past always dominated the narrative.

No doubt corruption is all pervasive and no society is free from it, but here in Kashmir, the terrible nature of its size and the haughty manner in which it was treated, had accelerated the youth’s distrust in the system. 

Precisely, in the last three decades, the region suffered from a stagnant economy and high unemployment menace. The system failed the youth to translate their dreams into realities and no light at the end of the tunnel was haunting them for all these decades. 

When compared to this situation, the present for the youth of Kashmir is no more pathetic. Major corrections in the system have opened a new era for the youth where a bright future is guaranteed once they help themselves to capitalize on the opportunities to board the bus of nation-building.

Here I would reiterate, as I have been mentioning in my previous article, that Kashmiri youth too have a responsibility to pull themselves out of the uncertainty.

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.

They have to get involved in productive ventures where they can contribute to the growth of their region, the country and of course to their own self. They don’t have to waste their time in a rewardless competition of achieving fame that too without achieving anything.

For instance, with the advent of social media platform, most of our youth force has transformed itself into a Facebook community A quick glance at the engagement of many youth on social media networks sounds a matter of concern as the platform is simply used by them 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 or an influencer. Almost every one of them runs his/her own show on the platform which means there’s no one to watch them.

So, the youth need to explore their capabilities on ground not only to earn their livelihood but also achieve real fame and should not turn themselves into fake junkies. Let their talent speak for them. Otherwise, this is nothing but a kind of social aberration.

In the rest of the world, countries have devised programmes to channel the promise and power of youth to change their communities and their regions for betterment. We are living in one of the most difficult socio-economic and political environments.

So, while pursuing youth development and livelihood programmes, there is a need to ensure safe space for them. Once safety parameters are taken care of, the power of youth in a scare-free environment will automatically drive peace, prosperity and profits.

In short, amid a lot of social and political ills nurtured in Kashmir in the past, the only way forward is to understand and guarantee a prosperous future to the Kashmiri youth. Thereby, it demands to handle them with care.

Meanwhile, the encouragement of the Home Minister to Kashmiri youth comes at a time when the ground situation in the J&K region, particularly in Kashmir, has changed drastically for betterment.

The performance of the current governing system in the last three years has successfully identified the loopholes and plugged most of them to bring relief to the common people.

A ray of hope is now visible for the Kashmiri youth to explore their potential for making their present prosperous and future bright. At the same time, it’s also a fact that now channelizing the power of Kashmiri youth deep into the mainstream rests on the intentions of people at the helm of affairs. 

This is the time to continue to instill a sense of safety in Kashmir youth that their exploitation and persecution is a thing of the past and they won’t face challenges in carving a safe space with dignity for themselves anywhere in the country.

To conclude, a beautiful quote of Franklin D. Roosevelt is worth sharing. ‘We cannot always build the future of our youth, but we can build our youth for the future.’

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

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.

The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.

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