By Farooq Wani*
For how long are the Kashmiri people ready to suffer in the hands of violent forces that are attempting to break down their age old civilisation? A civilisation stands on the shoulders of its youth and it is this very category of the society that is being targeted by the evil forces.
The suffering being caused has a destabilising effect which is, in turn, leading to a chain reaction of distress and anguish for the whole body politic of the region. The proliferation of drugs, crime, and indoctrination of youth on to the unacceptable path of militancy leads to reaction by security forces in the form of counter-operations and thus forms a vicious circle that has the potential of threatening the very existence of the society.
Corruption in government circles, which is a result of the non-existence of regulatory bodies like the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) oversight and a loose political dispensation that is not wholly responsible to one single Constitution and set of laws, is a big cause for the burgeoning dissatisfaction among the people, especially the youth. Lack of job opportunities and dependence of the fast depleting government job outlet is another big challenge being faced by the younger generation that is educated and wishing to lead a productive life. Presently there is a marked absence of male worker in the families leading to deeper income inequality.
There are other societal factors like frequent deaths of youngsters that cause great distress. Death of a single male child becomes a collective disaster for at least four families and it has repercussions for many decades hence. The elimination of the young boys is causing a warped demographic pattern where the women are being called upon to become bread winners in the families.
Kashmir has lost more youth than what any society can afford. Undoubtedly, those who have laid down their lives for a cause that they were convinced about deserve respect. We honor those who have lost their lives and we respect the emotions and the suffering of our people. But, Islam is not all about unplanned war for the sake of martyrdom; it is about the Islamic tenet of “Hikmah” that advocates wisdom, philosophy, rationale and underlying reason. Islam teaches us to take every decision with Hikmah, particularly considering thinking about the present and the future. The continuing depletion of the youth on the mantle of violence must not become a cause for an irredeemable change of our demography which is already at the edge of the cliff! The problem should not be allowed to get complicated to an extent that is becomes the harbinger of a dark future.
Apart from fighting Jihad, Islam is also about teaching our young generation to be alive to face the beautiful hardships of poverty and do Jihad of living their life piously and righteously, despite difficulties of neediness, joblessness and hunger. All of this leads to a remembrance of struggles of Prophet, his family and pious Sahaba (PBU all)). It gives the opportunity to spread Deen, which is another most important duty on the shoulder of every Muslim as ordained by Beloved Prophet Muhammed (PBUH).
Every other day an encounter breaks out and our Kashmir ends up losing young lives with nothing even close to victory nor any kind of strategic goals. Today, those pursuing the path of militancy need to come home. This is not because west calls it terrorism. This is neither because we are afraid nor because we are less in number; also, neither because it is banned in UN Charter nor because of any other reason. If we keep giving wrong reasons, it will amount to hypocrisy for which we will be answerable to Allah.
If we analyse closely we will find that even countries like Russia, China, Pakistan, US, Britain etc. have only misused/exploited the current situation of Valley for their own geo-political conspiracies and prosperity of their weapon industry. Kashmiris’ are being used as mere pawns in a larger game. They have become mere involuntary customers of the weapons industry required to indirectly boost the wavering economy of the big powers. It is well known that these countries create new wars in different countries by which innocents lose lives day by day! Those who live, get poorer, get humiliated every day in the name of militants and at the end do not even get to express their victimhood. Surely Kashmiris’ are intelligent and educated enough not to fall in this evil trap. We cannot be their customers and then helplessly watch them and their economies rule over us directly and indirectly!
In Kashmir, we are at the point where any step we take today directly determines the path to be adopted by our coming generations tomorrow. We are losing at an exponential rate in this false one sided battle. We must not get carried away by the pain/agony and neither should we allow anyone to misuse our emotions. It is time to reanalyse our steps and find a middle path which would help us save the dignity and lives of our innocent brothers and sisters. We need to look at a bigger picture: We have a bigger responsibility of acting wise enough to also prepare ourselves educationally, religiously, economically and become a source of protecting the lives of all the innocents not only in Kashmir but across different parts of the world as well.
Let us all come together with righteous intentions and collectively rethink a course for the years to come. The youth are the purest and the bravest of our people and we cannot afford to lose them, let them come home and engage in productive pursuits. Let us collectively plan what course of action would be better for us in these times and apply it to our advantage. Let’s together start a new way forward to overthrow misrule, tyranny and change the system from corruption to protection. This is the time for introspection for all Kashmiris’!
*Farooq Wani, Kashmir senior journalist and a political commentator
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