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    Youth, trustee of prosperity-JK Latest News

     Youth, trustee of prosperity

    they too have a responsibility to pull themselves out of uncertainty

    Youth, trustee of prosperity


    Continuing last week’s focus on 

    Kashmiri (J&K) youth, I am 

    reminded of a very important 

    line of former Governor Satya 

    Pal Malik of erstwhile J&K State 

    who at a financial inclusion function 

    picked the power of youth to achieve 

    peace, prosperity and secured future 

    for generations to come in Kashmir. 

    Otherwise also, it has been a uniform 

    line from all those who assume power 

    at the helm to highlight the importance 

    of the power of youth in socio-economic 

    and political governance in a region 

    like ours. But that day, Satya Pal 

    Malik’s line seemed different. It was 

    different in a sense that his concerning 

    voice was echoing pain over the plight 

    of Kashmiri youth.


    A new dawn was set in motion some 

    decade back when the central govern-

    ment despite being struck by two mass 

    uprisings in 2008 and 2010 observed 

    patience while handling Kashmir 

    affairs. They tailored rehabilitation 

    and pro youth developmental schemes 

    in such a fashion that Kashmiri youth 

    was lured to move out of the valley to 

    shape their careers. Over a period of 

    time the opening of career paths saw 

    a crowd of Kashmiri younger genera-

    tion coming out of the conflict-ridden 

    home place and getting mingled into 

    the Indian societies/culture to such an 

    extent that they started forgetting their 

    pain back at home.

    As the seed of getting young Kash-

    miri generation into the mainstream 

    had started germinating, things sur-

    prisingly started getting reversed. A 

    wave of religious intolerance swept 

    across the country. Kashmiris who 

    were either working in different parts 

    of the country or were pursuing their 

    studies were targeted to an extent that 

    they were forced to leave and come 

    back to Kashmir. This left Kashmiri 

    youth disillusioned.


    Unfortunately, three-decade of 

    armed conflict has consumed army 

    of Kashmiri youth and has adversely 

    impacted their mental ability. Today, 

    when the youth looks at his predeces-

    sors, he gets disillusion; when he looks 

    at his future, he encounters uncertain-

    ty awaiting him and when he look at 

    his present, he finds himself in most 

    pitiable condition. Precisely, he’s not 

    independent at all and is confronted 

    with safety issues even at home, which 

    is otherwise considered as the safest 

    place to live in.

    There’s a phrase: “Problem-free 

    isn’t fully prepared. And fully prepared 

    isn’t fully engaged.” Supporting youth 

    development should not just be about 

    building their competencies and con-

    nections, it should be an act to actively 

    engage them in their own development 

    and that of their societies, communi-

    ties and the nation. So, make the youth 

    partners in tackling pressing problems 

    confronting us. They alone are the 

    architects of the safe and prosperous 

    future.


    If we historically look at the devel-

    opment of Kashmiri youth force from 

    time to time, we are dismayed to find 

    that the past of Kashmiri youth has 

    always remained pitiable. He has 

    always been exploited by the powers 

    around, whether the mainstream politi-

    cians or the separatists cadres. We only 

    see their plight as all have been exploit-

    ing (and continue to be exploited) their 

    sentiments and feelings to paddle their 

    political boats. 

    Exploitation of youth's sentiments 

    and feelings is not a new phenomenon, 

    but it’s always remained there as an 

    integral part of the system. A leaf from 

    the past reveals that most of our politi-

    cal 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. Strengthen-

    ing the relationship between a govern-

    ment and the youth has never been a 

    priority. People at the helm of affairs 

    were not listening enough and not seek-

    ing participation of the youth which 

    led to declining confidence among the 

    youth on the governing system.

    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 com-

    petition, dedication, competence and 

    sincerity on the part of all who hold 

    powerful positions have always domi-

    nated the narrative. No doubt corrup-

    tion 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 is treated 

    accelerated the youth’s distrust in the 

    system. 

    For the last seven decades we still 

    continue to look for a roadmap for 

    Kashmir as far as its economic devel-

    opment is concerned. Throughout 

    all these decades Kashmiris suffered 

    from a stagnant economy and high 

    unemployment menace. The system 

    has failed the youth to translate their 

    dreams into realities and no light at the 

    end of the tunnel has haunted them for 

    all these years. 

    Now channelizing power of Kash-

    miri youth into the mainstream rests 

    on the intentions of people at the helm 

    of affairs, especially those in Delhi 

    Darbar. The most important thing is 

    that exploitation and persecution of 

    Kashmiri youth has to end. We have 

    observed that routine space required 

    for routine activities related to their 

    diverse needs and interests is most of 

    the times unsafe. Anything happening 

    anytime and anywhere is a norm in 

    Kashmir. Under these circumstances, 

    carving a safe space with dignity for 

    themselves has always remained a big 

    challenge for Kashmiri youth.

    Meanwhile, there is need to focus 

    on youth’s potential to change and 

    improve. Allow the youth to face the 

    formidable challenge of transforming 

    Kashmir from a mediaeval and back-

    ward society into a modern, mecha-

    nised and positively emancipated soci-

    ety. This task will become easier only 

    when there is end to strife and coercion 

    in all forms is stopped.

    Meanwhile, Kashmiri youth too has 

    a responsibility to pull out themselves 

    of uncertainty. They should not get 

    themselves engaged in a rewardless 

    competition of achieving fame that too 

    without achieving anything. With the 

    advent of social media platform, most 

    of our youth force has transformed 

    itself into a Facebook community and 

    many of these young people do nothing 

    but sell themselves. They have dedi-

    cated their lives to self-promotion and 

    have own desperation to be famous not 

    for their values but for their visibility.

    A quick glance at the engagement of 

    many youth on social media networks 

    sounds a matter of concern as the plat-

    form 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. Almost every 

    one of them runs his own show on 

    the platform which means there’s no 

    one to watch them. 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 door-

    step. During the course they lose time 

    to garner opportunities in life to live in 

    peace and prosperity.

    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 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 live-

    lihood programmes, the government 

    needs to ensure safe space for them. 

    Once safety parameter is taken care 

    of, the power of youth in a scare-free 

    environment will automatically drive 

    peace, prosperity and profits.

    In succinct, we have nurtured a lot 

    of social and political ills in Kashmir 

    and these cannot be set right through 

    primitive methodologies. The only way 

    forward is to understand and guaran-

    tee prosperous future to the Kashmiri 

    youth. So, handle them with care.

    Let me conclude with a beautiful quote 

    of Franklin D. Roosevelt. ‘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)

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