Introduction to Blog

I launched the website and the Blog after having spoken to government officials, political analysts and security experts specializing in South Asian affairs from three continents. The feedback was uniformly consistent. The bottom line is that when Kashmiris are suffering and the world has its own set of priorities, we need to find ways to help each other. We must be realistic, go beyond polemics and demagoguery, and propose innovative ideas that will bring peace, justice and prosperity in all of Jammu and Kashmir.

The author had two reasons to create this blog. First, it was to address the question that was being asked repeatedly, especially, by journalists and other observers in the U.S., U.K., and Canada, inquiring whether the Kashmiri society was concerned about social, cultural and environmental challenges in the valley given that only political upheaval and violence were reported or highlighted by media.

Second, the author has covered the entire spectrum of societal issues and challenges facing Kashmiri people over an 8-year period with the exception of politics given that politics gets all the exposure at the expense of REAL CHALLENGES that will likely result in irreversible degradation in the quality of life and the standard of living for future generations of Kashmiris to come.

The author stopped adding additional material to the Blog once it was felt that most, if not all, concerns, challenges and issues facing the Kashmiri society are cataloged in the Blog. There are over 1900 entries in the Blog and most commentaries include short biographical sketches of authors to bring readers close to the essence of Kashmir. Unfortunately, the 8-year assessment also indicates that neither Kashmiri civil society, nor intellectuals or political leadership have any inclination or enthusiasm in pursuing issues that do not coincide with their vested political agendas. What it means for the future of Kashmiri children and their children is unfathomable. But the evidence is all laid out.

This Blog is a reality check on Kashmir. It is a historical record of how Kashmir lost its way.

Vijay Sazawal, Ph.D.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Who is Protecting Human Rights of Children?

Zeenat speaks to educators and rings alarm bells

Azadi without education – USELESS!

Zeenat Zeeshan Fazi (Kashmir Images)

Srinagar: The prolonged denial of schooling to the students could develop them into “negative” individuals with anti-social and aggressive behaviors, warn experts.

Educationists caution that the prolonged closure of schools in Kashmir in the wake of ongoing unrest could be the cause of severe adverse effects on the overall development of school-going children.

Renowned educationist of the Valley, Prof. A G Madhosh says the absence of schooling was depriving students “not only of academic but also co-academic and extra-academic part” of school education which are must for their personality development.

Elaborating on it, Madhosh informs that the ‘academic’ part includes learning through teaching which pupil can recover at home; ‘co-academic’ part involves personality development through symposia, seminars, debates, et. al. while ‘extra-academic’ part involves excursions, camps, etc., which teach a child basic principles of living.

“Absence of school education has affected latter two parts related with education and at the same time the component of personality development of the child also gets shadowed,” he adds.

Consequentially, children will turn more violent, undisciplined, disobedient, and irritated besides developing love for loneliness and adverse behavioral changes. “We can say they will groom into a negative generation,” Madhosh says.

Madhosh, who himself runs one of the schools in the outskirts here, said, “I personally observed that some of my students could score better this time in the examinations than last year but there is nothing to feel elated about it as it can be because of their seriousness towards studies and the responsible approach of their parents which otherwise students lack.”

He says educational institutions are important for the over-all development of the child as “student gets its formal education only in school, college or university and long-drawn strikes effects the over-all development of the students”.

Meanwhile, noted psychiatrist, Dr. Mushtaq Margoob told ‘Kashmir Images’ that besides depriving students of school education, the ongoing unrest has had other negatives to offer to the psyche of the children. These include killings of many school-going children, teenagers, attacks on school buses and arrests of people ….

Margoob sees all these factors are developing a fear-psychosis among the children. Time is far when they will suffer of “free floating anxiety disorder”, a kind of depression which will be a challenge for the mental health experts as well as the society in general in the coming time, the psychiatrist forewarns.

Education is the basic human right as admitted even in UN Convention on Child Rights, noted social activist and lawyer Abdul Rashid Hanjoora said.

“It is unfortunate on the part of the separatist leadership that by not allowing the children to attend schools they are denying this basic right to them (children).”

Asking students to fight for their basic right of education, he adds, “There should have been appeals from students’ community to these leaders but unfortunately we don’t have organized students’ unions here. Why are the students and parents both silent about the issue?” asks Hanjoora.

It is the prime responsibility of the state to ensure safe passage to school-going children and once state fails to deal with the crises, then it becomes the responsibility of the civil society to come forward, he points out.

Hanjoora laments people’s silence over the issue. “Unfortunately the civil society here is unaware about its role; it is disorganized and will take some time to get organized.

Counseling separatists to consider students’ rights – their education - while issuing protest calendars, Hanjoora says, “Students should not be made to suffer; ‘Azadi’ can’t be at the cost of education of our children. Unless we provide education to our children, how can we claim Azadi?”

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