ABID HUSSAIN RATHER
People in developed regions of the world have risen to high levels of education and lifestyle and there is much attention paid to the welfare of fellow citizens. The socio economic conditions in these regions are favorable to superior forms of livelihood. On the other hand, the socio economic conditions in developing nations are so unfavorable for development that most people are hardly able to make both ends meet. Have we ever noticed what makes a nation progress over a period of time and why its youth touch the zeniths of success and make breakthroughs in different fields of life? A little contemplation will help us realise that among many things, it is the free thinking ability and freedom of expression which opens new doors for a nation’s advancement. Unless and until a free thinking environment is created for the youth, a nation can never advance in the fields of knowledge.
A nation is made up of its people and its progress depends on the progress of its people. If the minds of the people are caged and their voices choked, if such an oceanic blunder is committed, a nation is bound to remain in darkness and will ultimately vanish from the annals of time.
Kashmir is known for both its beauty and brains since ages. From ancient times it has given birth to philosophers, scientists, poets, authors, and many famous personalities. Kashmir has a rich history and the environment here was for a long time peaceful and favorable for realising the potential of all people. People were free to think and to express their ideas. This paradise on earth was famous also for its scenic beauty, cool climate, and salubrious environment, which, in turn, helped the mind feel joyous and inspired. But the story has changed now. The paradise is caught in the world’s worst political turmoil. Normalcy has become a phantasm here. This political unrest has badly hit each and every corner of our lives. It has affected our psychology and our behaviour and our mental faculties. Our youth are in utter frustration and they can’t think rationally. While the world is exploring new arenas of knowledge, all we discuss is whether internet will be blocked tomorrow and whether the data speed will be 2G or 4G. While people across the world are sharing thoughts and discussing new ideas on social platforms, we are searching for VPNs to illegally access social media.
Our minds have been caged and we can’t think freely beyond a limited circle. Our children remain in doubt whether they will go to school or whether it will be a strike call or an administrative order to shut down schools. The development of our young generation and the progress of our nation has become untenable in this situation. There should be a stress-free environment to increase the proficiencies of our children, but the mental frustration of our children is increasing day by day.
The work culture of our valley has also been badly affected by the political unrest. The valley usually remains closed wholly or partly for two to three days every week due to shutdowns, curfews, encounters, etc. To add to these miseries is the inability of people to express their opinions freely. They are prohibited from sharing their thoughts even on social media. Every day we have to face new restrictions which violate our fundamental rights, but what can we do express to bemoan our helplessness.
A cursory look at other parts of the country will show that no other region is victim to such political turmoil as Kashmir is. This is the main reason why Kashmir lags behind other regions in terms of welfare and development. Commentators say that it is not only Kashmir but the entire Indian subcontinent that is bearing the cost of the political turmoil in Kashmir. The need of the hour is to create a peaceful atmosphere in Kashmir, so that its people can freely express their ideas. Let their minds be stress-free to develop rationally and be able to think of solutions to their problems themselves. Let this land once again become an abode of scholars, scientists, writers and poets. Let us all pray for peace in Kashmir.
—The author teaches Geography at GDC, Kulgam. He can be reached at [email protected]
ABID HUSSAIN RATHER