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The doomed garden

The doomed garden
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Imtiyaz Ahmad Shah
Snow capped cliffs enclosing and nurturing aged townlets; rivers sprinting calmly through forests and the air so healthy and crisp touches the edges of the extensive paddy fields in complexions of green scattered between meandering paths and golden orchids.
Night skies crammed with shimmering luminaries and the amicable hum of nature offended only by the rush of everyday life, the periodic howls of wolves or the rustle of leaves by a passing whiff. Everywhere we look, there is only beauty — yes, that is Kashmir.
Despite the magnanimity of nature and the stunning geographies that we have here, today’s Kashmir is more about chaos, bloodshed, injustice and many such profanities. Let us take a closer look and discuss some of these questions that appear to have tormented the beautiful Paradise.
Kashmiris, especially the younger generations, seem to be losing their sense of folklore and culture. The culture, tradition, and language of Kashmir is distinctive and intriguing in all its aspects, but unfortunately, it seems to be fading away with the advances in technology.
Young people are losing respect and pride for their roots and heritage and are thus beginning to acknowledge western identities, considering such foreign values as more preferable to what is ours.
The safety and liberty of women is also a major concern. It is tragic to realize that our mothers and sisters cannot walk freely without facing the prying gaze of men staring constantly, without any respect to the traditional and cultural values that prohibit us to do so.
Women seem to live with constant apprehension everywhere they go, be it in schools, colleges, or even markets. It appears to me that we are quickly forgetting the morality scenario that has been imbued within us through hundreds of years of transition.
Regarding technology and its use, we often have a tendency to abuse, rather than use, technological advances. The Internet, for instance, is a blessing when used correctly and judiciously. But the same thing becomes a crime and immoral practice — if it is used for dark and horrible purposes.
Our civic sense has also degenerated drastically as we leave no rock unturned when it comes to spoiling the much-hyped beauty of Kashmir, our villages, our city, our mohallas and our lanes are all, but trash bins and the trash doesn’t come from any unfavourable heavens but straight from our homes. We have pointed out that our rivers, lakes, and ponds are completely clogged and drained in human vandalism pits.
Unfortunately, we tend to disregard all these gross blunders and keep on living our lives without regard to the place that has frequently been applauded for its beauty. Education has been identified as the primary source of change and transformation.
However, the education system remains plagued by weak performance and structural gaps in the valley. Thus, this institution is also useless, or of lesser utility, when it is characterized by such fundamental faults. We have not been able to educate people about the immediate environment and how to keep the balance, how can we claim that we are highly educated?
Kids need to learn ‘HOW’ to think rather than ‘WHAT’ to think, and if a society understood this statement, it would only lead to greater success. People try to thrust their opinions and way of thinking onto others without considering any other perspectives, and such behaviour results in a closed-minded society dominated by deprecating understanding, destructive criticism and hatred.
Companionship and the way of thinking within society plays a major role in the success of any country, but unfortunately, there are many faults to be found within the Kashmiri society in general.
Although we are living in the 21st century, it still seems that Kashmir is stuck in an ancient time — a forgotten paradise. Because of the political turmoil, the war, and the ignorance and narrow-mindedness of the people, Kashmir is always far behind when it comes to accepting modern ways of thinking.
Forced marriages, caste systems, lack of education especially for girls, poor development, corruption, competition for wealth and jealousy as well as greed in general are very common among us. It is important to define these challenges for a better community and a better country.
Once again, due to the present turmoil and erratic constraints in Kashmir, success and development is threatened. The international media, in my view, cannot shed light on Kashmir in the world. Many people abroad do not know much about the dilemma and occurrences in Kashmir, nor do they know anything about its outstanding culture and history. We need to take responsibility and start taking Kashmir to the world, despite all odds.
(The writer is a student of English Literature and a research scholar)

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