An idea for Kashmir

By | September 18, 2010

I only hope someone who matters reads this.

What Kashmir needs is a way of engaging the youth. What the government is doing is saying nothing and inviting any faction to talk. As if that is going to happen. Even if it does, we are going to end up talking to the destroyers of Kashmiri peace on their terms. Bad, bad ground.

What we need is interaction, engagement, listening. Not formal interaction invitations in triplicate, but direct, immediate listening.

Just read in the Times of India that teenage stone pelters are thrown into jail with hardened criminals and terrorists. While it can’t be disputed that their actions – rioting, stone pelting attacks, arson, vandalism… are criminal, we need to have some compassion for a generation that has no concept of peace. They have been demeaned by armed forces, militants. Desensitized by continuous violence and the presence of armed people and the accompanying attitudes all their lives.

Kashmiri Men

Image via Wikipedia

Putting these kids into a prison with hardened criminals is simply an opportunity for them to get further radicalized. We might as well rent out jails for terrorist recruitment purposes.

What we need is a creative solution to the detentions. A way that doesn’t demean the kids. A way that allows them to do something unexpected, possibly fun. After all, doesn’t good will need someone to take the first step?

I’d have said put them in a room with video games, but uh…. might be expensive with those vandalizing tendencies and anger.

However, what if the kids rounded up were simply put in large rooms with white walls, some buckets of paint and other materials? WITHOUT telling them to do anything. Likely the “art” would be anti-national. However, we would have achieved quite a few important things:

  • Provided them with a way of venting their anger safely.
  • Rather than a demeaning cell, it would be more like a group dormitory. In other words, not labeling them criminals for being angry (let’s also remember that some of that anger is well earned)
  • The walls could simply be photographed before being painted blank white again. The photographs SHOULD be shown to people deciding on actions to be taken – that IS your talks with the people. A direct “to do” list of grievances for addressing.
  • Parents would feel less angry with the government if their kids were not abused for getting angry over abuse. It could possibly open dialogues with the parents as well.
  • If absolutely nothing, it still would be an imprisonment with less indignity to it.

Other choices for engaging the pelters:

  • Football or some other sport?
  • Self-defense instruction by some army guys. It would help them feel less vulnerable. Also build those all important ‘macho’ relationships. Show the kids another side of the army – a side that they could possibly like.
  • Video interviews. Forces them to think and interact. Also gives them special attention, listening, being on record.

In any case, they shouldn’t be there with the terrorists.

Perhaps, there could be an area for youth detentions – simple large dorms with whatever security is appropriate.

Above all, it is important to remember that there is no land without its people. We need to stop thinking of Kashmir as ours and Kashmiris as the squatters on it trying to mess things up. These kids are going to live there after the soldiers are gone. We need to start building a world with possibilities.

If you like this idea, do share it around. Perhaps someone who can apply it will see it.

How many roads must a man walk down
Before you call him a man?
Yes, ’n’ how many seas must a white dove sail
Before she sleeps in the sand?
Yes, ’n’ how many times must the cannonballs fly
Before they’re forever banned?
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind

How many years can a mountain exist
Before it’s washed to the sea?
Yes, ’n’ how many years can some people exist
Before they’re allowed to be free?
Yes, ’n’ how many times can a man turn his head
Pretending he just doesn’t see?
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind

How many times must a man look up
Before he can see the sky?
Yes, ’n’ how many ears must one man have
Before he can hear people cry?
Yes, ’n’ how many deaths will it take till he knows
That too many people have died?
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind

2 thoughts on “An idea for Kashmir

  1. Pingback: A decision of trust | Aam Janata

  2. Pingback: A decision of trust | Aam Janata

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