Children are the future of any Nation. They are the most precious of God’s creations. Children are, in fact, the foundation on which strong, vibrant and dynamic societies shall be built. Every child has the right to be loved, cherished, and supported. I am spending my vacation in the valley since last few months and mostly it has been bandh (strikes) in the valley. I have hardly seen markets and institutions functioning in proper ways. Every time we come to know about an encounter somewhere and precious lives are lost and huge properties are perished. More pity is to witness our kids suffering in terms of their value building and proper education. Every morning and evening, my son asks me-Papa pagah cha meh chuty?-(Translation-Papa tomorrow is it holiday for me?). Knowing the situation terribly, at maximum, response from my side goes that yes it is holiday. How our children will develop interest and be active in studies when we have such frequent strikes and hartal calls given in our valley? I have also found some of the teachers of high worth becoming casual in approach because of those strikes. They too are puzzled that tomorrow it will be a holiday or not. On meetings with some of my teacher friends they reveal that it is always hard to remember what they had taught in earlier lectures and sometimes they revise the earlier lecture. The call of a Hartal and turning it into a holiday has made a strong connection on the minds and working of our Kashmiri work force. They too don’t have to be blamed for our system is day by day getting more rotten. Hartals and bandhs on one side, we never know who is going to be hit by stones now. Recently, after many days strike it was speculated to be a good day, some shops started functioning in my town and it was pathetic to see a poor person hit by a stone. He had come from a village for some work and was rushed to a hospital. This terrible stone can come from any side now-justified or unjustified and no one can be put responsible. In Kashmiri, Yemis lagih tamis lagih sarkari- (Translation – If someone is hurt, it is official).
Adding fuel to the fire, our administrative giants have failed miserably and hence made mockery of the system. Being in Kashmir, they never seem to have observed the conditions of our valley and added to the pains of our lovely students. Majority of our schools in the valley are lacking basic amenities to offer to its students. It’s harsh and cold climate now in our valley and the days are very short. The administration was highly exposed when the board exams started in our valley. It was bad to see the preparations and carelessness on part of the authority. More disappointment was to see the wrong exam timings fixed for the students. Some of the exam centers had to offer lanterns and candle lights for its students when there was no electricity available. Ah! Some have rightly put it next best to a candle light dinner. Some of the centers were deficient of good and warm facilities and students were found shivered with cold. It was good to listen that one of the exam center was shifted to a mosque for the betterment of our students. With miseries to their credit from all sides, we must salute our students for their power and courage.
What is the future of our lovely children? In Kashmir-where our innocent children are leading towards-God knows better? Here on earth no one yet has taken any responsibility for the sake of our beautiful children. They are the children of conflict in our paradise. Our children must be taught good values and morals to guide them in life. They need to be empowered to realize their full potential and treated with respect and dignity. They must receive responsible care and be handled with kindness. Our children need to be encouraged and nurtured emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually and their physical needs must be adequately met, including nutrition, housing, and medical care. They must receive a good education that provides competence and empowers them to be self-sufficient. It’s our high responsibility that our children must be treated fairly and justly, and, without discrimination. Most important our children need to be groomed in a safe environment and be protected from harm and danger. Even animals and birds train and protect their children properly. It is only among intelligent human beings that we have started neglecting our beautiful children who are the future of the society. We have made their present a worse which may worsen their future. We should not only point out that it is a political situation. If our lovely children do not receive right teachings and molded carefully they can become ugly in their character, in their attitude, in their behavior. As a result a big chaos may come in their/our future. The remedy is with us. We must sense our responsibility now and give enough respect, reverence, true love and affection to our children.
(The author is Assistant Professor, ITM University Gwalior and can be reached at: [email protected])