From Radical Angst To Rational Action, The Journey Of Kashmir\'s Youth

From radical angst to rational action, the journey of Kashmir’s youth

Srinagar, Dec 15 : When separatist violence started in Kashmir in 1989, the local youth were used as its cannon fodder.

As is generally known, there is no power more motivating to push the youth towards violence than religion.

This was the main reason that although the insurgency began in the name of seeking so-called independence for Kashmir, it was quickly steered by Pakistan into an Islamic struggle (Jihad) for merger with Pakistan.

Radicalisation of the local youth was not possible as long as the eclectic, co-tolerant character of ‘Kashmiriyat’ remained alive.

Thus, the first step towards the radicalisation of Kashmiri youth was achieved by forcing the minority Kashmiri Pandit community out of the Valley.

Assisted by the local clergy, the slogan of ‘Jihad’ against the ‘Hindu’ India was fed well into the formative minds of the local youth.

A perverted view of history was presented to them.

They were not told the basic reality that over the centuries the local Pandit community was better educated than the Muslims and that was the main reason this minority got a bigger share in government jobs.

Radicals told the local youth that they were denied government jobs because the Pandits had usurped them.This led to the assertion that Muslims and Pandits could not co-exist.

Religion became the driving force and Kashmiri Muslim youth became its furnace fuel.In the name of religion they took up guns against an ‘infidel’ police and army.

The agenda of the enemy was achieved.Violence was fed with the blood of the youth and each time a local militant was killed, the cycle of violence became self-sustaining.

The enemy had to do very little by way of stretching its resources.

Just money and weapons made the removal of its own criminal elements possible by pushing them across the border to fight the ‘holy war’.

All criminals serving prison terms were given a one-way ticket to fight for the holy cause and get their boarding pass to ‘Jannat’ (Heaven).

Hardly any such criminal who entered Kashmir was expected to return alive to bother the authorities in Pakistan.

The fact that Kashmiris stewed in their own juice was no issue for the forces which trained and gave weapons to the Kashmiri youth.

The naive Kashmiri youth hardly realised that they were fighting a dirty war against their own country in which religion was never an issue.

More Muslims lived in India and practised their religion freely and with absolute devotion.This fact was hidden from the eyes and minds of the armed Kashmiri youth who were pushed into violence.

As all evil designs are limited by time and space, the local youth gradually realised that Kadhmir was plunged into misery and suffering rather than attaining any divine goal.

The well-to-do families and also the separatist leaders sent their children outside to study and remain safe from the fires of violence.

It was the poor man’s son who was getting killed for a reason that did not exist.

The average Kashmiri realised this, but after paying a heavy price.

Separatists were becoming richer and more influential while the common man was being pushed to death and destruction.

Some among the middle classes also started using their meagre resources to save their children from violence.

More and more local youth started moving out.

This gave the new generation of Kashmiris a world view which they had earlier lacked.

They looked at the youth from even poor states like Bihar competing at the national level exams and making it to coveted civil services like the IAS and IPS.

Boys from average middle class families from Kashmir started making it to these services after they had moved out of the Valley.

Interestingly, more Kashmiri Muslims made it to the civil services after violence started waning here than had ever done since 1947!

With the BJP coming to power at the Centre with its strong leadership, the bluff of the separatists and their bosses sitting across the border was called.

Instead of craving to go across the border to get training and weapons, the local youth looked at places outside J&K to get better coaching and facilities to compete in services, sports and other highly competitive fields.

After August 5, 2019 when Article 370 was abrogated, separatist leaders and their sympathisers were put on a tight leash.

The government under the Lt Governor started engaging in youth interactive and participative activities.

The youth were given free coaching in sports, for civil services exams and other progressive activities.

Violence not only waned, but was pushed to the fringes where incidents of separatist violence have become few and far between.

Stone pelting and separatist called shutdowns have vanished completely.

From radicalisation to rationalisation, it has been a long, but steady journey for the local youth.

Today, Kashmiris are seeking the return of their Pandit fellow citizens and trying to re-establish and regain their lost roots of co-existence.

Examples of their attitudinal and mindset change are available in the large numbers of local boys and girls becoming leaders in their fields of attainment.



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Disclaimer : Editorial Team not involved in creation of this article & holds no responsibility for its content..This Article is Provided by IANS, Please contact IANS if any issues in Article .

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