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Young Blood
Kashmiri youth need leaders who inspire

Kashmir youth

Even as rage frequently spills over on the streets of Kashmir, courage remains in short supply.

The contradiction inherent in this statement is reflective of the society, where young people with the promise of a life ahead are willing to die an ignominious death in street protests but not express his or her opinion freely and be counted. Just as in the streets, in private conversations people want to go along with the mob, reluctant to take a position. Or maybe they are scared to even feel something which doesn’t have the consent of the mob. So how does one explain this? You are not scared of death, but you are scared of expressing yourself or saying no to the mob?

Kashmir youthMember of the All Party Hurriyat Conference (M), Prof. Abdul Ghani Bhat puts it down to the nature of a Kashmiri. He says, “A Kashmiri has suffered so much in life that he doesn’t want to take a stand on anything. He will say something to you on your face and the exact opposite of that to me.” Doesn’t that amount to doublespeak? “No,” he insists. “It’s self-preservation. It is his mechanism for survival.”

Given that they are on the streets throwing stones at the slightest provocation, and sometimes even without provocation, self-preservation doesn’t seem to be a big priority for them. “That is different,” insists Prof. Bhat leaving the difference hanging in the air.

What is this fear that nobody wants to put a name to? Fear of religion? Fear of being wrong? Fear of censure? Fear of being ostracised? Fear of being made fun off? Or simply, fear of living?

Of the many things that the people of Kashmir lost in the 25-year-long violent conflict, the most profound loss has been that of a sense of youth — carefree thinking, innate rebellion, pleasure-seeking and the spirit of experimentation. True, this is a cruel statement to make; after all, in a state where life is uncertain, even a mention of such frivolities smacks of not only insensitivity but also displays complete lack of understanding. But having admitted that, it is necessary to understand why frivolity of youth is important for a society.

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