2016 from the eyes of a student
2016 was year that many of Kashmiris would never like to recall; a year of total loss and downcast. There was no winner at the end of it all but the question stands, who were the losers? With Losses at work, losses at home and more importantly; losses in education, there is no second thought to deciding the looser. No doubt everyone lost but in all fairness it was the students who lost the most. We transited into mere spectators as a whole academic year was torn to shreds for nothing and we stood beside it all watching, unwillingly dragged into a conflict that we had nothing to offer to.
Everyone has dream, to become a doctor, an engineer, a scientist etc but no one dreams to face an unwilling conflict. We rather dream about solving such with peace but what about our dreams?
Can a normal Kashmiri student not dream? Should he/she be raised from the childhood with the realization of the fact that dreams have no place in Kashmir? There is a phrase that has been repeated to me a thousand times by a thousand different people. It goes like this, “Aggar padun chui teli gach nyabar. Kasheir manz hyekyakh ne padith”. The closest translation to this would be, “If you want to study then leave this place. Kashmir isn’t the place for anyone to study”. This comes with a tone of sadness and a bitter realisation every time someone repeats it. It has been 27 years since 1990 and in those 27 years the time that a Kashmiri student attended his school/college would roughly be no more than 18 years. Isn’t this sad enough? And yet somehow we manage to keep on repeating our mistakes. A mistake is when you do something accidentally once or twice or maybe even thrice. After that it would be labelled as stupidity and we as stupid.
The loss that we suffered just the last year was massive and I bet an account of it cannot come better from a student than me. 12th is often referred to as the most important academical year for a student and we spent the better half of that year curfewed in our homes with nowhere to go. How much can we cope up by ourselves? Ultimately someone is needed to guide us. Even if the year is behind us but the scars are still fresh. We appeared in the exams with an empty glass and left with the same. No matter the results, knowledge is what we needed and it became the ultimate sufferer. We cannot say that we didn’t try but ultimately life comes first. Only when you are alive can you dream about something. The saddest part of this long sad story is that we feared people who are hardly educated and have no knowledge and they held us back. We watched as they burnt down the places that groomed our future, the places that once were a palace of dreams for us and we stood there; helpless. We even watched as the educated people holding high ranks in the society weaved the situation to an even worse level and yet again we stood there with no power and our unheard voices. We watched as the people that sat beside us in our classrooms slowly disappeared and we watched as their vision did too. It wasn’t the call for a revolution or a movement but a game between the mongers and the government as each tried to prove their might while crushing the students in between. Why is it that we always come last when it should be other way around? This is no rocket science but mere ABCD for everyone to understand. How do we expect the next generation to be smarter and wiser than the present when we aren’t given a chance to learn? How do we expect our present generation to compete with those of developed countries when we have minimal resources and minimal opportunities? How can a caged bird fly?
Kashmir might not be the place to learn or to dream but the actual dream is to see it as one. I truly believe that all of us have somehow have mounted from the ashes of tragedy stronger than ever before. We now hold the power to dream even further than we did before. It is a famous Japanese proverb that fall down seven times stand up eight and that is we shall do every time. This is say from the heart, it doesn’t matter if anyone tries to break us, we will dream, we will dream till that dream isn’t a reality.
The author is a 10+2 student and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org