LOCKDOWN AND CHILDREN
By Syed Mustafa Ahmad
Being a student as well as a tutor, I am close to students. I know their body languages more than others to some extent. Having been teaching for 6 years, I have come across thousands of students, who are quite different from each other. Tastes are different, so are likings. However, one thing that I have found is that schools are loved by most of schools. Today, I teach about 60 students. 90 percent students want to go to school. They have become lazy at their homes. Dullness has engulfed them from all sides. Today, I was teaching a class 6th student from the government school. He is my neighbour as well. As mentioned earlier, I am a learner, learning from everybody, he was talking to me freely. We were discussing about the length of chapter in Science textbook. Suddenly, he told me that he forgets things. I was bit perplexed. How can a child of 12 years can forget things, when he doesn’t have apparent illness? Pondering over this situation, I came to conclude that it is the handiwork of lockdown for 16 months. It is the result of shutdowns and lockdown that has made the lives of children hellish. In the coming lines, I will discuss some consequences of lockdowns and shutdowns. The first is health. Both physically and mentally, the children are suffering. They have become lazy and are mentally retarded nowadays. Since Covid-19 hit the world, there is fear looming large in the lives of children. They have been evident of situations, where young people died of novel Corona Virus. This has made them to look at death each time. Moreover, in Kashmir, there are shutdowns now and then due to many reasons, which have taken heavy toll of the lives of students. The second is social distancing. Students used to meet each other and enjoy every moment. But for a year and more, they are isolated from each other. They have become strangers in their own lands. In this way, they long for those days, when barring some distances, everything was almost good. They would touch and hug each other. Now, they are advised not to touch or hug each other. They can’t share their lunches. Sanitizers and masks have become new norms, though they are necessary. The third is indifference to studies. They take their studies quite lightly. They believe that appearing in an examination is the need of the hour. The question of learning something is secondary in nature. In this way, the main aim of education is thrown into winds. How can these students compete in the world, where technology plays the main part? So, the result is that students are enjoying their lives in the hazardous ways. The fourth and last is burden for family members. Remaining in schools for 5 hours, was a peaceful time for family members. Now, living for hours together, has made students a headache for their families. It has resulted in domestic violence and chances of snapping of relations. In short, there is need for something tangible in order to get them out of frustration. I am still thinking how can the sixth grade student fight more lockdown days, if there is no way out. How long shall we go on losing our brilliant minds for the sake of nothing?