A respite needed
Syed Mustafa Ahmad
We are proving to be one of the most ill-fated communities in the world. Destruction doesn’t leave us. It has become our habit. Some time before, we used to have shutdowns on a large scale, though shutdowns still exist but thanks to Allah that with the advent of new word “lockdown”, the constant use of word “shutdown” has somehow got erased from our minds.
But it doesn’t mean that there is some respite from destruction. I think it will go on and on till good sense prevails. Let us try to know more about the shutdowns that do not leave us. Moreover, we will try to know about the newest lockdown that has engulfed the whole world.
Since 1947, the contentious issue of Jammu and Kashmir in the subcontinent has resulted in innumerable shutdowns. In Kashmir, a year almost passed in shutdowns. Some incidents of very minute nature often flare up and turn into a big fight. It is because in the world of slavery, no common sense is found and if found, that doesn’t do any miracles.
Rumours about fake encounters, fake rape incidents, fake calls, fake political statements, fake braid choppers, fake vaccines, etc, make things come to a standstill. It is in this backdrop that shutdowns happen. It adversely affects everyone. The businessmen suffer the most. The next in this line comes the labour class. They live from hand to mouth. The continuous shutdowns bring extreme difficulties in their lives. They can’t fulfill the basic requirements of life, let alone educate their wards.
If they can, they do it with a lot difficulty. Another group in this line are the students. They get deviated from the main path with the continuous shutdowns. Their careers remain at stake. They can’t understand for what purposes these shutdowns are. If they try to understand, they get different versions which make it difficult for them to arrive at any decision.
They lose interest in their studies. It harms the society at large. The main disadvantage is that human resources are lost. And it can never be compensated. Another thing in this line is our resources. They aren’t fully utilized. They are wasted in the real sense. Take an example of hydro water resources. They are still unutilized. Having the potential of generating more than 25,000 megawatts, we can only get 1,500 megawatts. This is the worst form of administration. This is the direct result of the political disturbance. If this potential is not channelized, the very concept of development will be redefined. The last target of the shutdowns in my opinion is the transport sector. When their vehicles don’t ply on the roads, they become financially unstable. They feel difficulty in surviving. They can’t get some other work very quickly. They are left to fend themselves which takes a heavy toll of their lives and in the long run, the community gets wasted.
In one way or another, shutdowns bring more harm when it is executed without any planning. Let us try to know something about the new word ‘lockdown’.
This word was made a part of our lives in China during December last year and in March this year. It was executed due to a new kind of virus that originated in China. It has almost spread throughout the world till now. It has resulted in lakhs of deaths. Moreover, millions are infected with this disease. Having known its nature, the only hope for the world was to observe lockdown.
India also followed the line. India started its first phase of lockdown in the month of March. Since then, we have gone through five phases of lockdown. Lockdown has both positive as well as negative effects. In India, it acts as the last nail in the coffin. The positive impacts of lockdown are that a lot of lives were saved. If lockdown was not implemented then there should have been more deaths than the present toll.
But the negative impacts of lockdown are manifold. Economy that already was in recession began to plummet unbelievably. A large number of migrants were dead. Hardships were faced by the common people. Labourers died on their way to homes. The most destructive impact was that crores of people lost their jobs. The people belonging to the unorganized sector bore the brunt. They are left without any job and financial security.
In short, lockdown brought unbelievable sufferings to the people. Its impact was also felt in Kashmir. The already shattered economy of the valley was brought to knees. The poor became poorer. Many jobs were lost. Agriculture and its allied sectors faced the wrath of both shutdowns and this strange lockdown. In short, the natives of the Valley face the most deplorable times. The need of the hour is to have some healing touch.
The healing touch should be in the form of addressing the political issue of Jammu and Kashmir. The economy of the valley should be brought back on the track. The poor should be compensated. There should be subsides on large scale in every sector. Tax returns should be made easier. Industrial startups should be installed in the easiest ways, without the much interference of the government. The common people should not be subjected to continuous identification checking. There should be an environment of freedom. We should be allowed to live.
(The writer is a teacher and contributes to Kashmir Vision)