Hartals/Bandhs; road blocker for growth of Education

Education is yet another equally important casualty of terrorism. Schools shut down for months because of hartals and curfews, leading to loss of class time. Many of the government schools that cater to children who cannot afford private schools, have been burned down by terrorists. In 2015, the Jammu & Kashmir administration closed 3,000 ‘surplus’ schools, where teachers outnumbered students. In eight districts, including Srinagar, Kargil and Jammu, there were 127 schools with teachers but no student enrollment Not only is the curriculum followed by the Jammu & Kashmir State Board of Education outdated but it also lacks the strength to expose the learner to threads like communal harmony, religious and cultural diversity. Education is one of the strongest drivers of economic progress and the most powerful and effective tool to reduce poverty; youth demand jobs, but both the education system and educators lack the efficacy to make students “job-ready”. Human resource which is one of the biggest assets of any society, has suffered enormously. Terrorism has been the main reason for the displacement of several non-Muslim communities like the Kashmiri Pandits (Hindus), Sikhs, Buddhists and other minorities. Many Kashmiri Muslims have also started migrating to mainland India and other parts of the world for better job prospects and peaceful environment, depriving the State of its human resource.

With killings, rapes, and other forms of crime becoming the order of the day in the Kashmir Valley, psychiatric disorders have seen a sharp rise post 1989. Several human lives have been lost over the past three decades and the State is in danger of losing its younger generation, majority of which is in the grip of drug hurricane, weakening the morale, physique and character of the youth. The women have become increasingly suicidal resorting to temporary means of comfort like sleeping pills, inhalations and injections. There is an urgent need to understand that mental disorders are not medical conditions but deep-rooted social issues. Apart from disrupting ecological balance, education, employability, economy, people, culture and heritage, health and hygiene, terrorism has also led to disruption of law and order from the Kashmir Valley providing a fertile ground for corrupt practices.

A study by ‘Transparency International’, a non-government world body in 2005, declared Jammu & Kashmir as the most corrupt State after Bihar (India). In the State of Jammu & Kashmir in general and the Kashmir Valley in particular, gun is not simply used to address the threat of crime, but to negotiate positions. The gun in Kashmir today has become bigger than the law enforcing bodies and the law itself. The person carrying it has the power to buy loyalties, to threaten government officials and have them grant the permission to convert water stream into an agrarian piece of land or to buy examination question papers. Timber smugglers stripping the forests and yet maneuvering around without any fear, shrinking of water streams, fake schools and teachers, unabated encroachment of land, illegal hotel constructions, and several other acts of crime are an outcome of terrorism and subsequent lawlessness in the Kashmir Valley.

Prior to the advent of terrorism, a separate budget was allocated towards the infrastructural development of the tourist resorts, which is no more a priority for the authorities responsible as the funds are currently being directed towards counter-terrorism activities Cross border terrorism has bred financial and political corruption which can be witnessed in the form of a declining economy, paralyzed education system, burnt school buildings, broken down places of worship and mind boggling looting in the system, and it seems to have become a socially accepted evil. There is a need to build effective and accountable institutions at all levels, where people take ownership and are answerable to the system and promote a sense of belonging. Terrorism has only created a terrorized society losing its very existence due to the ongoing pretexts of independence, merger with Pakistan and establishment of violence under the false called Islamic Caliphate. Human beings have always tried to battle with nature, ignoring the essential fact that nature can put back an equally tough fight. The people of the State need to realize that a healthy, productive natural ecosystem is essential for economic sustainability, which in essence translates into freedom.

430 thoughts on “Hartals/Bandhs; road blocker for growth of Education”

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