When Danish Nabi alias Daniyal set out on a journey to follow his dreams, little did he know that he would come to be known as the ‘Ibn Battuta of Kashmir’ for exploring adventure tourism in the Valley. A 30-year-old enthusiastic traveller, Danish did not spend a single idle Sunday over the last decade as he set out on foot or on a bicycle to explore the Valley, starting from his own home district — Bandipora.

Danish turned an explorer in his early twenties, same as Ibn Batuta, and hence drew parallels with the famous explorer in the lands of Afro-Eurasia. Danish has, so far, rediscovered more than a dozen Alpine lakes of Himalayan ranges in the Bandipora district, thereby making little, yet significant, contribution to boosting adventure tourism in the Kashmir Valley after a prolonged spell of dormancy because of political strife.

He said tourism in Kashmir was previously restricted to visiting a few select and popular locations, including Gulmarg, Pahalgam, Sonamarg and Dal Lake. However, the real Kashmir is up in the mountains, which used to draw adventure-seekers from Europe by the droves before the Valley came to be racked by militancy from the late eighties.

Every weekend, Danish sets out on a journey to the mountains on his bicycle or on foot, exploring lakes and meadows and finding previously unknown tourist destinations.

“I have religiously followed my schedule. I haven’t wasted a single Sunday. Sunday is my day. Come what may, I set out for a journey every weekend,” he said. So far he has re-discovered more than a dozen alpine lakes in the Bandipora and Gurez sectors of J&K, in the Himalayas, thus lifting prospects of adventure tourism in the Valley.

According to the J&K’s Department of Forests, there are 100 Alpine lakes in the Bandipora district but only one or two, including Sheerasar, have been visited by adventure tourists in the past few years.

Danish has re-discovered Shalpooth lake, 3 Handmarg or Handmenger lakes, Kaul Sar lake, Kiser Sar, two Patalwan lakes, a Kothapatri lake in the Gurez sector and Shera Sar, Sarbal lake, two Kundapani lakes, Chamarsar, Zadsar and Salnai Sar in Bandipora area. He has also explored Chota Amarnath and Bazar Hoi caves in Bandipora, Yemberzalwari cave in Sopore, Sheikhul Aalam cave in Budgam and Kalaroos caves in Kupwara.

Danish captures his expeditions on his GoPro camera and posts them on his YouTube channel for the benefit of other adventure tourists. The ‘Ibn Battuta of Bandipora’ has explored these lakes multiple times and found multiple trekking routes for future travellers. All the routes have been recorded and geo-tagged by him.

“I do record the trails and treks besides posting them on YouTube for future travellers,” he said. Last year Danish became the first person in India and across the globe to scale Razdaan Top (11672 feet) on a bicycle. He cited his passion for mountain cycling as the reason behind his adventure streak.

He said he chose the Gurez sector for his weekend expeditions for two reasons — firstly, Gurez lies in his home district and secondly, it has been ignored by other cyclists and needs to be explored for its immense natural beauty. He said he is in love with the mountains and explores new locations to promote adventure tourism in Kashmir, besides fulfilling his desire to scale mountain tops.

“In the recent past, tourism in the Valley was only about sightseeing. But there is beauty beyond the meadows as there is a huge potential for adventure tourism which can attract tourists from the west,” he said.

He said that during the dark days of militancy in the Valley, adventure tourism came to a standstill and the virgin locations disappeared from people’s minds.

“People sitting at home still believe that there is a war raging up on the mountains. But the fact is that peace prevails in the mountains currently,” he added.

He further added that after travelling solo to these places he decided to record his travels and post it on his YouTube channel. His posts have received an overwhelming response and more and more people have started visiting these places.

The young traveller said exploring new places has helped locals earn a livelihood. He said after his visits to several lakes in Bandipora, many traveller groups approached him for guidance and villagers found a source of livelihood by serving as guides and providing horses and meals to travellers.

Kudara residents have formally started providing traditional tea and Makki ki Roti to travellers besides accompanying them on their treks as guides and renting out their horses,” he added.

His expeditions and following have earned him many nicknames, including ‘Ibn Battuta of Kashmir’, ‘Mad Man’ and the ‘Mountain man’. Danish said he loves his nicknames. It is because of his endeavours that the Bandipora district administration in 2020 roped him in as an advisor to promote adventure tourism and a few locales, including Daetwas, Sheerasar, and Nagmarg routes were prepared by the Forest department for trekking. He said the Valley, especially Bandipora, is heaven for adventure tourists as everything that fascinates an adventure seeker is here.

“I wish people would reserve their Sundays for such travels and work for other days of the week,” he said.

“If people can set out for such treks on Sundays, it will reduce their stress levels and help them stay in shape mentally and physically,” he added. He said, “My friends and relatives think I travel every day but the fact is that I travel only on weekends and work on other days of the week.”

Danish is a government employee posted at the mini-secretariat in Bandipora. He added that he idolises Dr Shariq Masood, a noted doctor at SKIMS and an avid traveller like himself, and urged everyone to follow in his footsteps.

He said the doctor has never practised on a Sunday over the last two decades as he reserves it for his travels. “He could have earned thousands on Sundays but refused as he likes to keep that day for himself,” Danish added. “Doctors usually recommend walks and physical exercises to their patients but they work even on Sundays,” he said.

Jammu and Kashmir has been expecting fresh boost to tourism and industrial investments from abroad with participation of a high-level delegation of the Union Territory officers in London conclave from December 8-12.
The industrial investments are around Rs 60,000 crore in Jammu and Kashmir after the launch of new Industrial Investments Policy while number of the tourists visiting the Union Territory including the Kashmir valley has also touched all-time high.
Official sources told the Excelsior that the Institute of Directors (IoD), a top level international body, will be involved in five days tourism and industrial promotional programme at London. The Jammu and Kashmir delegation will be led by Chief Secretary Dr Arun Kumar Mehta and comprised Principal Secretary Industry and Commerce Prashant Goyal and Tourism Secretary Sarmad Hafeez.
“It is a major international platform where Jammu and Kashmir will promote tourism and industrial development opportunities in the Union Territory,” the sources said, adding that the visit is expected to be very successful going by the response already being received from abroad.
Number of tourists visiting Jammu and Kashmir including the Valley has touched new highs, which has also found mention in the speeches of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha. And, the numbers continue to go up.
Besides domestic tourists, Jammu and Kashmir has also received tourists from abroad.
Jammu and Kashmir got encouraging response from Dubai in industrial investments after visit of the Lieutenant Governor to the Gulf. Several top Industrialists have assured investments in the Union Territory and signed Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with the administration.
The groundbreaking ceremony of Rs 38,080 crore worth private investment proposals in Jammu and Kashmir was performed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on April 24 this year. However, total proposals for investments received by J&K Government were close to Rs 60,000 crore.
But the Government has exhausted Land Bank by allotting land to the investors whose groundbreaking ceremony has already been performed by the Prime Minister.
The Government has now acquired new land for creation of Land Bank after completion of all formalities.
The private investment proposals, which are pending before the Government, will be cleared after development of Land Bank.
The Government has also approved setting up of 22 Medi-Cities in Jammu and Kashmir at the cost of Rs 4400 crore.
“The Medi-Cities will include private hospitals, Medical Colleges etc,” the sources said, adding that with this the MBBS seats in Jammu and Kashmir will go up by 900.
Sources said the Government is anticipating private investments in Jammu and Kashmir to further go up once the pending proposals are cleared.
Some proposals for development of private Industrial Estates have also been received by the Industries Department from Samba and Kathua districts while many more are in the pipeline. Response to develop ‘Private Land Banks’ for industrial development has been very encouraging,” sources said.
Officials expressed confidence that with development of ‘Private Land Bank’, the Government will be in a position to accommodate more private investments in Jammu and Kashmir as there were reports that investments might touch Rs 75,000 crore shortly as many corporate houses are in touch with the administration for investing in different sectors in the Union Territory.

Amsterdam [Netherlands], November 4 (ANI):

Pakistan continues to be responsible for the terrorism and radicalization in Jammu and Kashmir, experts and the Kashmiri diaspora said during European Foundation for South Asian Studies (EFSAS) Conference at Vrije Universiteit University in Amsterdam.

In the two-day conference on ‘Terrorism and Radicalization in Jammu and Kashmir and the wider region,’ various experts and Kashmiri diaspora said that Pakistan in the name of jihad had continued its activities in Jammu and Kashmir which prompted radicalization and terrorism in the Union territories, according to the press statement released by the EFSAS.

On the first day of the conference, Myra MacDonald, author of books on contemporary South Asian security and Former Reuters bureau chief for India, initially outlined that cultural narratives surrounding Jammu and Kashmir prior to the partition of British India in 1947 were frequently focused on Jammu and Kashmir as a physical space rather than emphasizing the idiosyncratic cultural identity of the region.

She further said that modern Jammu and Kashmir emerged as a result of the 1846 Treaty of Amritsar and has played a key role in the national imageries of both Pakistan and India. Pakistan, MacDonald discussed, has been founded on the notion of Pakistan being the sole homeland for Indian Muslims, with this religious narrative serving as the base for Pakistan’s claim to Jammu and Kashmir. India’s claim, in contrast, is based on the signed instrument of accession and secularism, providing the Indian claim with a less ideological narrative when compared to Pakistan, but with a sound legal foundation. This ideological fixation, she suggested, has resulted in the Pakistani Army dominating domestic politics and preventing democratization in the long run, forming a form of political-ideological prison.

She also stressed the early stages of the insurgency in Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir and said that this was marked by human rights violations by both Pakistan-backed outfits and Indian security forces, with the insurgency enjoying little backing in the population, the statement reads.

MacDonald narrated that the highest possibilities for conflict resolution were witnessed under Manmohan Singh and Pervez Musharraf in the 2000s. Singh and his predecessor, Prime Minister Vajpayee, had started promising talks with Pakistani envoys that included an agreement on the legal transfer of territory, the LOC becoming an international border, and the permission for cross-border flows of people and goods. Maximum autonomy would be given to respectively held areas and frequent discussions would be held between Pakistani, Indian, and Kashmiri representatives. The negotiations ultimately failed due to Musharraf’s removal, the lack of public support in Pakistan for the agreement, and the 2008 Mumbai attacks carried out by Pakistani-sponsored Terrorist organizations. The attacks, she stressed, were so impactful because they targeted ordinary Indians rather than security infrastructure.

Since then, MacDonald concluded, Jammu and Kashmir have become even more fragmented. The revocation of Article 370 in India in 2019 has effectively rendered the division of the state a fait accompli, meaning that any conflict resolution can no longer focus on Jammu and Kashmir in its original borders. Resolutions could focus on establishing the LOC as an international border, formalizing the end of Jammu and Kashmir, the statement added.

The last speaker for the day, Daud Khattak, Managing Editor of Mashaal Radio, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, discussed the ongoing terrorism and proliferation of extremist outfits in South Asia. He discussed how the contemporary issues of radicalization and terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir could be traced back to the use of proxies and the support for Kashmiri insurgents in the name of jihad by Pakistan. While Pakistani meddling in Jammu and Kashmir continues till the present day, the deep state has shifted its proxies from the tribal areas to Punjab, Khattak argued. Thus, the militancy started in the 1990s is composed of non-Kashmiri jihadists, such as Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad, including Afghans and people who had previously fought in Afghanistan, such as members of the Haqqani tribe.

He further said that after the 9/11 incident, terrorist groups active in Kashmir increased their presence in the Pashtun tribal areas, ultimately also leading to the emergence of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan. While Internal instability and international pressure seem to have limited the scope of Pakistani support for terror groups at the moment, its continuous assistance is visible through the protectionism they have extended to terrorist commanders. Despite being arrested and charged, Hafiz Saeed is still moving within Pakistan. Similarly, Masood Azhar is also hiding in the country despite contrary information in the media, Khattak added. He argued that other regional dynamics such as the building of the CPEC, the ongoing Baloch insurgency, the presence of organized crime groups and relations with Iran and the Central Asian States might bring further changes in Pakistan. Yet, when it comes to the Pakistani policy vis-a-vis terrorism and Kashmir, Khattak concluded by warning that ‘the dragon is fragile and sleepy but away from dead, and could wake up anytime, according to the statement.

On the second day of the conference, the panel include Kashmiris from both sides of the Line of Control (LoC).

Inspired by the university setting and the potential of students to shape the future, Shaukat Ali Kashmiri, Exiled Chairman of the United Kashmir Peoples National Party and Secretary General of Jammu Kashmir International People`s Alliance, spoke highly of the benefits of democracy. Kashmiri was adamant about the necessity of democracy to recognize people as inherently valuable despite any conflicting ideological or identity-related markers. Seeing the use of terrorism in his own home state of Jammu and Kashmir as both a foreign and domestic policy by the State of Pakistan, Kashmiri recounted the Pakistani military recruiting students to disseminate State propaganda and recruit other students to join so-called ‘Jihad’ in Jammu and Kashmir. Thus, Kashmiri claimed that it is the duty of the students to investigate and protest against injustice. The distortion of history by populist politicians and war-mongers is insensitive to those it harms and as such requires direct action.

He called for Pakistan to stop facilitating terrorism both within and beyond its borders, for it to recognize each citizen as human beings regardless of their ideological differences and for the international community to hold States like Pakistan accountable for their actions.

The final speaker, Junaid Qureshi, highlighted the privilege that comes with living in Europe. Qureshi, who is the director of EFSAS and is himself a Kashmiri, queried if the Jammu and Kashmir issue would still be as contentious as it is today had it taken place in closer proximity to Europe, like the war in Ukraine. A key element of Qureshi’s speech was his push for narrative change within the region which outlined the responsibility of individuals to accumulate knowledge and determine the truth for themselves. Emblematic of this is the radicalization process within the region, although the solution for this is collective as opposed to individualistic. Despite the issues of the region, Qureshi is emphatic that future peace is possible – as evidenced by the past century of conflict within the EU and now peaceful present. Ultimately, Qureshi struck a note of hope for the future if the necessary mechanisms of accountability and truth-verifying processes can be established.

On both days the events were followed by vibrant Question and Answer sessions with the students, who were avid to learn more about the issues the region of South Asia faces and how they themselves could get involved in finding fresh tangible solutions to those weary years of conflict.

Two Day EFSAS Conference at Vrije Universiteit (VU) University in Amsterdam started on November 1 and ended on the very next day.

Source: ANI

Kashmir has remained in the global spotlight for seven decades. Most of that narrative has been bloody, controversial and run by Pakistan. With the guns doing most of the talking, Kashmiris themselves had little to say all this while.

Local Kashmiri politicians, despite being intertwined with mainstream Indian politics, have only contributed to the marginalisation of Kashmir through their shady brand of politics – pretending to be loyal to India while parroting the Pakistani line. A book, ‘The Two Kashmirs’, released recently says that despite the shadow of terrorism, Indian Kashmir is way ahead in progress and Indian Kashmiris much better as compared to people in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK).

India Narrative catches up with author Sheikh Khalid Jehangir to discuss Kashmiri politics, Kashmiri people and the state of Kashmir over the years. Jehangir is also the secretary general of the Delhi-based think tank – International Centre for Peace Studies (ICPS) and has been an international journalist.

Excerpts from the interview:

IN: What motivated you to write this book comparing Indian Kashmir with PoK?

SKJ: I wrote the book because I want to share Pakistan’s debilitating role in Indian Kashmir and what Islamabad did to us-the Kashmiri Muslims. Pakistan has tried to end our prosperity, our education and what we are.

But I have to first tell you about my life in Kashmir.

I was born in Srinagar and saw a complete circle take place in the lives of Kashmiris in the Valley. The cycle of living a normal life, followed by strife and now a changing Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370.

Born in 1976, I had my schooling at Burn Hall School in a very normal J&K where Hindus, Kashmiri Pandits and the wives of army officers were our teachers. Our classmates were Hindus, Sikhs, Punjabis and we used to celebrate Diwali, Eid and Christmas. Our morning prayer was the national anthem and the principal of our school was a Roman Catholic. This was that peaceful Kashmir when I had my schooling.

In 1991, our school principal Father Dominic announced in the assembly that three blasts had taken place. I remember him announcing that this would be the last Jana Gana Mana.

Kashmir was in the throes of a massive change.

Students were beginning to carry guns and grenades. By the time I joined college, full-fledged militancy had taken root.

I was the vice president of the SP College students’ union. One day I organised a seminar on Gandhi and politics in 1994. Militants, probably from Hizbul Mujahideen, fired shots outside the college. We were not scared as other groups of militants were supporting us. Srinagar was overflowing with guns. A totally different kind of atmosphere began to develop in Kashmir.

Foreign militants started coming in. Besides terrorism, they were also interested in local girls, and that is how information about them leaked out.

While in college I also began to visit Geneva to attend the UN human rights conferences as the student ambassador for India. Once Sartaz Aziz, the Pakistani minister offered me money to speak against India at the UN but I refused.

IN: Tell us more about what Pakistan has done to Kashmir?

SKJ: Pakistan sees Kashmir’s integration with India as a threat to PoK. The Pakistani army and ISI are not interested in the welfare of the Kashmiri people. They are interested only in our lands.

Pakistan’s involvement in Kashmir is to keep the two-nation theory alive among their people in PoK. All that Pakistan has been telling people in PoK is that Muslims cannot live in India and they are third-grade citizens in India.

Kashmiri Muslims are different from Muslims in the rest of India and Pakistan. We are far ahead of other Muslim communities in the continent as we are more liberal and practice Sufi Islam.

IN: Has life improved in Kashmir after the removal of Article 370?

SKJ: Our Prime Minister says the abrogation was a historic process. But Pakistani politicians and the mainstream Kashmiri politicians say it is a failure.

The leaders of the mainstream political parties in Kashmir are trying to undermine the government of India’s development plans. They do not want benefits to come to the Kashmiri people. They are not supporting the development plans in Kashmir.

Our own Kashmiri leaders from 1947 till now have opposed India. All mainstream Kashmiri politicians want to defeat India in Kashmir. The dynastic politicians take favours from India but parrot Pakistani propaganda. However, these issues are not understood by the powers in Delhi.

People do not realise that Kashmiri Muslims are deeply integrated with India. This is perceived as a threat by Pakistan. We are in fact more integrated with India than are other Muslims.

There are families like ours which are stoutly nationalist. My grandfather was the zaildar to the maharaja of Kashmir while my father was in his army. He later joined the defence ministry.

IN: One can understand that you got information about development in Indian Kashmir, but how did you obtain information on PoK’s development indices?

SKJ: My team at ICPS was able to procure good research papers on PoK from across the border. People in PoK gave us credible information and then we cross-checked the data provided to us.

IN: While writing the book and comparing development in Indian Kashmir with PoK, did you come across any surprising revelations?

SKJ: There is a big difference in the quality of life in the two Kashmirs in terms of health, education, travel and housing.

Muzaffarabad, which is the capital of PoK does not have an airport. To be able to travel out of PoK, Pakistanis have to travel to Islamabad by road from where they take a flight to other cities in Pakistan. Here, the Srinagar airport is an international airport with nearly 100 flights every day to various Indian cities.

There is no central university in Muzaffarabad. Even their health facilities are poor. All of Muzaffarabad has less hospitals as compared to one district on our side of Kashmir.

About 14,000 dropouts rejoined their schools during the just concluded fourth phase of Back-to-Village (B2V) programme in Jammu and Kashmir, officials said on Tuesday.

The information was given at a meeting chaired by chief secretary Arun Kumar Mehta who was here to review the achievements of the programme held from October 27 to November 3, a government official aid.

Readmission of 13,977 school dropouts into schools, with quality education assured, stands out as the biggest achievement of the programme, official said.

The programme has been successful in providing self employment opportunities to 21,329 individuals, according to the officials.

A total of 277 cooperative societies were also registered in fields such as poultry, housing, transport, and health, they said.

In the agriculture sector, they said 14,567 soil health cards and 5,914 Kisan Credit Cards were issued during ‘Jan Abhiyan.’ They said thet 24,179 labourers, including migrant workers, were enrolled during the programme with generation of 4,063 e-Shram cards.

The scheme was 88 per cent complete so far in the Union Territory, the officials said.

In the health sector, they said that 95,959 PMJAY-SEHAT golden cards were issued granting health insurance to 49,526 families – covering 93 per cent of the target in his sector.

The revenue department, according to authorities, was successful in issuing 6.6 lakh land passbooks during the programme.

During B2V4, 8.46 lakh people were introduced to ‘Apki Zamin Apki Nigrani’ portal enabling them to access revenue records from the comfort of their homes, the officials said.

Additionally, to foster connection with the youth, 23 musical talent shows from all over J&K were hosted on YouTube during the programme, the officials said. Fifteen role models have also been identified to inspire youth through a contemporary digital format, they said.

The social welfare department digitised 5,159 Disability Cards (UDID) and seeded 30,231 Anganwadi beneficiaries and 11,313 ‘Ladli Beti’ beneficiaries with Aadhaar, they said, adding that 211 ‘divyang’ Camps were also organised by the department.

In addition, more than 1.55 lakh e-challans were issued by the mining department with a QR code equipped payment system for sale and purchase of minerals, the officials said.

The chief secretary asked officers to visit their panchayat at least once every quarter to assess the change on ground and act as Panchayat Prabhari for the area during the next one year.

Mehta asked for implementation of e-Contractor registration system, an online billing system, and promotion of digital payment systems across all works departments. 

Pakistan and China are having a harder time defending the suppression of local dissent coming from the Baloch ethnic group in the Balochistan region, through which a significant portion of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) passes, according to Geo-politik. Meanwhile, the two governments continue to highlight the advantages of the (CPEC) for Pakistan’s economy.

By building modern transportation networks, many energy projects, and special economic zones, CPEC aims to quickly update Pakistan’s necessary infrastructure and boost its economy.

The presence and completion of CPEC have come under increasing scrutiny as resistance to it has increased from both inside and outside of Pakistan. Pakistan’s internal security situation has deteriorated, which makes it less likely that the CPEC will be finished.

A recent study demonstrates how the Chinese perceive—or, more accurately, wish to perceive—the CPEC initiative. The author of the ‘Construction of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) under the BRI Vision: Opportunities, Challenges and Counter measures’ is Wang Junchao, who is a post-graduate student at the Centre for School of Anti-Terrorism of Northwest Politics and Law University.

The opposition is because it does not address any of their main problems, according to Geo-politik. Conveniently, China and Pakistan are labeling the villagers’ ongoing resistance and struggle for their rights as acts of terrorism.

The Baloch people number around four million, making them the least represented of the four major ethnic groups in the nation in terms of population. Balochis with insufficient rights do not have many opportunities to participate in the decision-making process. According to Geo-politik, Balochis only hold 5% of the police positions even within Balochistan.

The Baloch minority has limited access to the Central Cabinet Ministry and other critical positions as a result of the Punjab region’s population controlling more than 60% of Pakistan’s administrative resources.

Jammu and Kashmir is facing silent epidemic of drug abuse as it’s rising dramatically around the surroundings and no one seems to know how to stem the tide. Over from few years, the percentage of drug use has reached an all-time high. Substance abuse is rapidly assuming epidemic proportions in our society engulfing a significant population of our youth including the young females. Statistics regarding magnitude of the menace of substance abuse in our society emerging from various de-addiction centres of J&K are quite worrisome and alarming and therefore call for a systematic and scientific approach for countering.

Drugs are one of the major problems that the nation has been facing.The use of drugs from bedroom to classrooms has been increasing tremendously causing serious concerns into all parts of the society. Education provided in schools plays an instrumental role in educating children and teens about the problems of consuming drugs. Education on how to successfully deal with the youngsters who are mostly inclined to consume drugs, should be addressed in order to produce future potential young generations. Drug abuse in schools is strictly prohibited, but ironically most drug abuse starts from schools. One of the factors why that happen is that school teachers lack the knowledge to talk about it in their classroom and school environment.

“Teachers can play a significant role in curbing drug and substance abuse because they spend much of time with the students in schools. The teaching competency of teachers is needed in drug and substance abuse prevention. Some studies found that the school teachers still have lack of knowledge to talk about drug abuse in their classrooms and school environment. Teachers must have to step up from pedagogical conceptual knowledge and set up the experimental teaching practices and must have to show commitment to help, to avoid and control drug abuse and especially for young adult teacher’s are important role models and unfortunately if teachers are assuming that parents are only options for handling the drug abuse and the parents are not stepping up to the plate, then the kids are being left more at risk for substance abuse.”

Drug education is to be taken seriously and is a crucial factor in addressing deep seeded menace in our society and hence the teachers have a great role and responsibility to play in eradicating this social menace. Following are the ways teachers can do in eradicating drug and substance abuse.

1) Teachers should educate the youth by warning them that using drugs substance can be fatal to their lives.

2) Teachers should focus on imparting a proper moral education to students during the morning assembly.

3) Teachers must encourage the students to take part in different sport’s activities and can channelize their energy towards the constructive idea’s.

4) Teachers should assist the govt, police, Doctors, civil society, & NGO’s in the campaign against drug abuse & drug addiction and those addicted should not be isolated or discriminated.

They should be treated as patients and can give orientation on vocational, educational and personal adjustment so as to make them healthy and wealthy. The school authorities and parents should watch out for bad companies and symptoms of drug and substance abuse among the students and if found any, parents of such students should be counseled first and then the person who got indulged in this menace. The magnitude of the menace of substance abuse in our society is increasing dramatically and are quite worrisome and alarming and therefore call for a systematic and scientific approach for countering and can be handled though community based interventions, a multi dimensional approach and strategies needs to be devised and adopted to counter the menace. Moreover, Govt must introduce a comprehensive policy within the school curriculum that can provide a deep knowledge about the effects of drugs among the young generation.

The govt must emphasise that school institutions must be actively involved in drug prevention and the school administrative department can release a guidelines for teaching competencies of classroom teachers in certain subjects for curbing drug and substance abuse. The time has come that the education for drug abuse prevention should be seen to be included in school curriculum/syallabus and the formal start must be initiated at an earliest which will help in the creation of a safe and healthy school environment as well as involvement of the family and community in the planning and delivery of policies and programmes to stop this menace in the society. Schools are important places and can play a pivotal role in implementing different prevention programmes that seek to reduce and eliminate the risk of engagement of young generation in this deadly menace and their outcomes should be evaluated regularly to provide evidence of their worth and to improve the design of future programmes regarding this menace. In Conclusion, an effective partnership, coordination and collaboration between Govt, school authorities and other stake holders like Parents, Teachers, Doctor’s, &NGO’s, Different organisations need to be fostered and these exercises can plays an important role in shaping and keeping our young generation safe from this drug menace and other social evils.

The drug related activities are increasing day by day thereby giving serious challenges to each and every responsible citizen of our society and when everyone irrespective of sex or age takes it as a social not individual responsibility to fight drug abuse and correct its consequences, a healthy society can be developed and the lives of many who have fallen and may fall in the deadly grip of drugs can be saved.

Courtesy : Mohammad Eqbal

The separatist Hurriyat Conference is finished in J&K but attempts are being made to keep it alive from Pakistan, and the militancy in the region is on crutches.

Most of the madrassas (Islamic seminaries) are doing a good job but a tight vigil is being maintained on such institutions whose students have become militants in the past.

Hurriyat (Conference) is finished in Jammu and Kashmir. To keep it alive, its chapter was opened in Pakistan and they are giving bandh’ calls from there.

“People gave a tight slap on their face by rejecting their bandh calls, which was evident from the fact that there was no strike on August 5 (the third anniversary of revocation of Article 370 and bifurcation of J&K into two Union Territories) and August 15.”

August 15 was celebrated in a befitting manner all across the J&K, from Kishtwar to Kathua and in the Kashmir valley with people hoisting the national flag on their homes.

“The remote Karnah and Keran along the Line of Control (in north Kashmir’s Kupwara) where the tricolour is still seen fluttering from top of every house,”.

The people of J&K want peace and they have understood the criminal folly of Pakistan which is trying to instigate the youths against their own country.

Pakistan is misusing social media.”

Recent arrest of a madrassa teacher in Kishtwar, most part madrassas are doing a good job.

“Some people from madrassas joined militancy in the past and so it is imperative to have a close watch on them, and change their mind set.”

Youngsters with positive thinking are always welcomed.

On September 3, a 25-year-old madrassa teacher was arrested under Enemy Agents Ordinance Act’ for allegedly passing on information related to security installations to Pakistani intelligence agencies and terrorists.

“About the terrorists active in Kishtwar, the guardians of peace’ are more active than militants who are almost wiped out from the region.”

The militancy is on crutches with one or two active members, and they too will be neutralized’.

The Self Help Groups (SHGs) are scripting a new chapter in ‘Naya Jammu and Kashmir’. The government has provided wings to the aspirations of rural women in the Himalayan region by introducing various schemes under the SHGs. The J&K administration has embarked on a mission to form 11,000 new self help groups in the Union Territory by the end of this year. At present, there are more than 56,000 SHGs in J&K and as many as 5 lakh women are associated with these groups. Last year, J&K Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha had stated that under the guidance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home & Cooperation Minister Amit Shah, the country is witnessing renaissance in Cooperative movement to address the developmental needs of underprivileged sections of the society. He had asserted that the J&K Government won’t leave any stone unturned to carry forward the mission of PM Modi and Amit Shah. “The new self help groups will be formed to give new impetus to entrepreneurial women organisations,” LG Sinha had said.

After August 5, 2019, when the Centre announced its decision to abrogate J&K’s special status and bifurcated it into two union territories-the helmsmen in the Himalayan region have been working hard to truly realize the Prime Minister’s vision of ‘Sahkar se Samriddhi’. They are focusing on agri-marketing, food processing, branding, supply of seeds and other innovative activities in dairy & handicrafts and the women have become an integral part of the mission. According to the official figures, about 55 per cent gram panchayats have been covered under women SHGs in J&K and the efforts are on to expedite the initiative to make women financially independent. The formation of SHGs has helped in bringing transparency in selection of beneficiaries of government schemes. In order to popularize the SHG concept in J&K, the government has involved women from SHGs of Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Bihar as resource persons. They are reaching out to women in the rural areas and explaining to them the benefits of joining the SHGs. The target is to cover the remaining 45 per cent gram panchayats by the end of this year.

In January this year, the Institute of Rural Management undertook a study for the rural development ministry to assess financial progress, quality and sustainability of institutions built and financial services provided to women SHGs. The impact of the initiative, under the DeenDayalAnyodaya Yojana National Rural Livelihoods Mission, was found positive. The reforms introduced by the government after abrogation of Article 370, a temporary provision in the constitution of India, to identify women’s potential in the leadership role and providing them opportunity to scale up their businesses have changed the lives of the fairer sex in J&K. The initiatives like Saath, Hausla, Umeed, Tejaswini have laid a strong foundation for financial independence of rural women.

Technology, market dynamics and financial inclusion are providing an opportunity to transform the women Self Help Groups. These groups are creating a niche for their products in a fiercely competitive global market and are proving to be an inspiration for the other women. The women SHGs in the far-flung rural areas are keeping the wheels of socio-economic progress moving. This has helped the government to reduce disparities, inequalities in the society and create employment. On the occasion of Independence Day (August 15), the government is all set to honour 75 progressive women entrepreneurs from Rural Livelihood Mission Self Help Groups as an acknowledgment for their contribution towards women empowerment. The SHGs are organising workshops for women in different areas to boost their confidence. The success stories of women are being shared to make the fairer sex in the rural areas believe that they have the potential to become like their counterparts. Many women during the past two years have turned from job seekers to job providers. The SHGs have connected thousands of females and have provided them with an opportunity to interact with other women, to know their thoughts, livelihoods as well as about several government schemes. The SHGs are working hard to inculcate the habit of saving and banking among the rural women, to develop a relationship of trust between the rural women and the bankers, and to develop group activity so that women can become successful entrepreneurs. Women like Kaushaliya Devi of village Bali, Chenaniin district Udhampur have become role models. Her story from rags to riches is just one of the examples about how SHGs have changed the lives of women.

While sharing her experience, Kaushaliya Devi while talking to a local newspaper revealed how difficult her life was. “I was a housewife and my husband was unemployed which made our lives very difficult. In 2013, I came to know about the UMEED scheme and joined SHG group Shri Mandir under the aegis of this scheme.” She stated that her life changed after the government started to infuse funds into SHGs. The members started to utilize the funds to start their own small businesses. She started a small business of dairy farming and after taking help of government funds, small loan through bank linkage she started earning around Rs 8,000 per month. Getting inspired by the success of dairy farming, Kaushailya also started to look for alternate business to earn more money. After that, she started the business of tailoring and bag making which turned her into a successful member of the group. With the assistance under the UMEED scheme she bought a dumper after the government provided Rs 10 lakh loan to their group. Currently, Kaushailya is handsomely earning more than Rs 50,000 per month making her life and that of her family very happy. Her children are studying in a good school and she is living happily with her family. “Earlier people in my village used to tell women can’t do anything but after my success, the same people are giving my examples,” she said. Atiqa Wani, of Ramhal, area of Kupwara district in North Kashmir after completing her post-graduation thought to stand on her own and decided to start an educational institute. With the desire to do something big in life, she got associated with the SHG eco-system to augment her otherwise limited financial resources. She received a “Revolving Fund” of Rs 10,000 initially and later on a Community Investment Fund of Rs 20,000 and then three times a total loan of Rs 1.40 lakh. Seeing her performance of repayments etc. and her commitment towards her mission, she was recommended for bank linkage which helped her in running the affairs of the institute successfully. She started the institute with only five students in 2019. As on date, hundreds of students are enrolled in her institute as the financial support from the UMEED scheme has helped her to reach the top. “We are not only earning a decent living but we are proud to become job-givers rather than job-seekers and are able to provide gainful employment to fifteen persons in our institution so far,”Russia@3833 [Atiqa told a Srinagar-based daily. Janna Begum, a SHG member, hailing from Singhporain North Kashmir’s Baramulla district, established various livelihoods for herself and also engaged her entire family in it. “UMEED provided me with a platform to overcome my financial difficulty. I started cosmetics and a fodder shop and both the units were a good success. I now earn more than Rs. 25,000 profit a month,” she said. NaseemaBano of Newa area in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district wanted to extend a helping hand to her husband but every time lack of financial resources would stop her “I not only now created a livelihood opportunity for myself but engaged my entire family with it. UMEED provided us with an appropriate platform for overcoming our financial difficulties we were facing for quite a long time,” she asserted. With the financial help and bank linkage, she was able to establish a full-fledged workshop and a retail copper shop in her vicinity. The shop is a successful venture and she is earning more than Rs 30, 000 profits a month. Sheetal Kumari, hailing from village Sultanpur of Bishnah block was struggling on a daily basis for her livelihood. “It was very hard for us to make both ends meet. I used to make paper bags all night and sell them to the nearby vendor. I joined the UMEED programmeand did my best to revive our economic condition,” she said. Kumari in a short span of her association with UMEED has generated quite a few assets for her family. She is a role model for the women in her village as well in her own community. She has at present a Kiryana shop, a load carrier, 2 to 3 cows and works as an AMC operator in her village. Anju Bala of Mathwar, Bhalwal area of Jammu region was imparted a number of trainings by the sakhiswhich opened her horizon. Currently, Anju is running a general store successfully and earning substantial income for her family.

After August 5, 2019, lives of women in J&K have changed. During COVID-19 pandemic, fairer sex played a lead role in sustaining the economy of J&K. Women made lakhs of masks and contributed immensely in the fight against the pandemic. The support offered by the government turned the women into key agents for the development of the society. Self-Help Groups especially for women helped them to start entrepreneurial activities which led to eradication of poverty. These groups have proven to be effective tools for women empowerment in J&K. The women members of the SHGs in J&K have set an example in repayment of loans with less than one per cent NPA. Union Rural Development Minister Narendra Singh Tomar had stated that women self-help groups in rural areas had set an example for the country in repaying loans. J&K women are on a way to change their destinies through the Self Help Groups and they have proven their mettle through the dint of their hard work, sincerity, dedication and honesty. They are contributing immensely towards building ‘Naya J&K’ and the government is providing them with all possible support.

According to the recent data released by Atlas of sustainable development goals (2017) that states, the world’s population is young: 42% people are under age of 25. If we talk of India, India is considered to be the youngest country in terms of its number of youths; therefore, India has a massive, huge and surplus opportunity to harness the potential of this multitude of youth that will in turn prove beneficial for India’s social, political, economic and cultural development.

The youth is in fact an asset that if invested properly can bring a massive change in almost all fields of life and will further push the societies as well as the country they belong to, to the higher standards. In fact, in contemporary times, the young generations have got such a great importance, that the future and the destiny of nation is now entirely dependent on the skills and the strength of youths. In almost all the Countries of the world from time to time, Young generation has been playing an important role in defining the destiny and the fate of nation they belong to.

It is said that if any country or nation wants to develop, then it is essential for young people to have positive thinking. Although a young man is said to be the architect of the nation, he has certain responsibilities as well, he can’t be called an architect of a nation unless he has put his position into practice.

The need of the hour is to make the best out of the potential and strength they have got. Science has made a great progress in the last few decades and has an important role to play when it comes to the skill development among young generations.

At the same time social enthusiasm among the youth has decreased particularly with the arrival of digital devices that have completely restricted and manipulated their use of mind, which is unfortunate. Today’s youth are leaving their responsibilities behind, and is absorbed in his private life. Today the younger generation is going to fall, which is tragic. In today’s generation, the moral decline is at its peak. Education is becoming more and more common, but moral declines are taking its toll. Knowledge however plays a vital role in shaping humanity and moral character.

That’s where the negative effects of the body are coming from. Although knowledge works as light, it is getting darker day by day .Parents who are an important asset and it is our duty to serve them on humanitarian and moral basis, but in modern times, their rights are also being discriminated ,even less attention is paid to them. In fact, today’s generation lacks the light of morality and character. Only when a person has moral character, he can know his lord and his parents. It is only then he could develop a positive mindset. When a person has a moral decline, he is definitely going to start thinking negatively which is a disastrous indication.

The character and character of humanity are manifest in the Holy Quran, but today’s young generation has also left the Holy Quran behind. On the contrary they have wasted their precious time on useless things and useless Jobs. So it is said that Holy Quran is alchemy and so life is the only version of our guidance, but unfortunately, the Muslim nation especially the young generation have abandoned the commandments of Allah . On the contrary, non-Muslims are benefiting from this prescription. Non-Muslims are practicing this in their lives. Today is the time to wake up, today is the time to test yourself, today is the time to rectify yourself, today is the time to reform yourself. Because even today, our young generation is unable to improve, then God forbid, we will have a lot of trouble in future and disastrous consequences ahead.

Today is the time to awake your conscience, today is the time to change your thinking that has deteriorated considerably, especially the thinking of the young generation. The younger generation can revolutionize society, if they want to as there are bundles of examples where youths have contributed for the betterment of nations and societies.

The younger generation can take society to new heights if they want to. Only young generation work in nation as light, if they know their responsibilities. In the end, this is the prayer to Almighty to show our young generation the straight path. May Allah help our young generation to reform, so that our nation can progress and prosper day by day, Ameen.

Courtesy : Nasir Ahmad Shah