Opinion 22 February 2021 issue
CHILDHOOD OF THE CHILDREN OF KASHMIR
By Syed Mustafa Ahmad
It is a fact that childhood is an innocent period of life. During this period, child behaves naturally. He or she has no artificialness in his or her behavior. He lives his or her life the way he or she wants to live. There are no political loyalties, social loyalties, economic loyalties, ethical loyalties, etc. But when this sweet period of life becomes the subject of the natural as well as the human tribulations, there are many chances that the innocence of the children may be lost forever. They become what they have to become after decades. They face those situations which are almost experienced after 30 years of age. Their mindset becomes prejudiced. They cannot understand the environment around themselves and feel suffocated in the atmosphere. The physical scars of playgrounds are to heal but the mental scars, particularly in Jammu and Kashmir, are soul touching. They pierce the innocent hearts in the form of cruelest arrows. Instead of tears, blood comes out or sometimes, eyes are without tears. Souls are fried. Gloom and despair has engulfed every child. There seems no light at the end of the tunnel.If this is the case, there must be some things responsible for it. Things don’t take place in vaccum. Why does the innocence of our children is lost? Why are they what they are? Why are the same things taking place every now and then? If change is the law of nature, why does Kashmir has status quo? In our garden, Spring doesn’t come. Oscar Wilde in his work “ The Selfish Giant” talks about the Selfish Giant, who doesn’t let the innocent children play in his garden. He proclaimed on the gate of the garden that no child will be ever allowed to play in his garden. It is my garden and everyone should know the fact. Here, the Selfish Giant stops the innocent children from playing naturally but what about our children? Our children don’t even know who stops them from playing or living! So, in this regard, I would like to throw some light over the loss of childhood of our children.
First is that we have been caught in a dangerous political conflict. Since 1947, the killings have been happening on a large scale. In this atmosphere, any hope of having a peaceful childhood is a fancy. When no day passes without a killing or some other kind of destruction, how can there be any hope on the horizon. When a child is blinded without any fault of him or her, a reasonable person can see himself or herself what the condition of those children is. Furthermore, when a child escapes death very closely, there are meagre chances of an innocent childhood. Apart from these, when a child spends many years in jails, he or she can’t live his or her childhood in any way. Second is that our educational system thrusts things upon the children. Whether children are capable of these or not, is not the concern of those who are at the helm of affairs. George Bernard Shaw said that the school-going children must never be forced to do anything that is contrary to their desires. The modern primary schools were hated by him because they act an obstacle in natural growth of the children. They give lopsided education that only hampers their progress. Instead, first eight or ten years of a child should be utilized according to their desires. They will learn themselves by falling and dusting off. They will get bruised and give bruises to others. They will learn gain and loss. They will learn nature in the real way. So, we can easily deduce that how our educational system produces those children who are living dead. They are forced to learn. If they are provided with any escape from this, they will certainly leave this futile pursuit. Third is that our society is very orthodox in nature. Here, the same line of thinking and doing is recommended to everyone. Any one found against this line, is isolated from the society. Thinking above the existing parameters costs a lot in our society. If a child poses the questions about the status quo, he or she is rebuked and eventually, he or she feels suffocated and despair engulfs them from every side. A child is curious is to know about different things. His or her mindset is created in such a way that he or she wants answers to his or her curiosities. But our society doesn’t accept this. They have been following some mindless customs that are never compatible with the different societies. How can the principles of the 20th Century be compatible with the principles of the 21st Century, particularly in intellectual development? Fourth is that we compare our children with the children of any other area. Psychology says that in any sphere of life, the individual differences should be kept in mind. No two children are same on the Earth. They differ in physical aspect, aptitude aspect, attitude aspect, potential aspect, etc. The same type of syllabus, environment, mindset, etc. are very harmful for the actual development of a personality, particularly the personality of a child. If we can’t give the same medicine to a classroom, how we can provide the same syllabus, environment, mindset, etc., to the different types of children. So, this attitude should be left. It will help a lot in saving the childhood of the innocent children. I have tried to throw light over the causes responsible for the loss of childhood of our children. There should be some tangible solutions for the causes responsible for the loss of childhood. We can’t go on losing our future generations. They need our careful watch. They should be listened to. They should not be hated for being bold. Moreover, political differences should be resolved. They should not be given the chances of elongation because it devours everything. So, l hope our future generations are left to decide their own future: rather than thrusting things upon them. Hope good sense prevails!
By: Syed Mustafa Ahmad
By: Syed Mustafa Ahmad.