My Aim in Life

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By: Syed Suhail Yaqoob

It was something that every Matric student mugged up precisely because that was the most probable question to be asked in the examinations. From MBD guides to everything that our sights focused on, we used to mug up every essay on “My Aim in Life”. Some boys mugged the essay “My aim is to become a doctor” and others similar to this.

That time we had to think a lot what we wanted to become. It was a tough exercise of mind and it was only after providing a lot of time to this very question that we used to come to conclusion what our aim of life is. And we did it only for getting some extra marks in exams. We had no more passion beyond that. We used to make it sure that that the adjacent roll numbers don’t write the same essay on this very topic lest we would be blamed for copying. So my friend would write his aim as “doctor”, me engineer and the next one “Scientist.

Representational Picture

If by chance we wrote the same essay and that mugged from the same guide, we expected less marks. The thought was heart-wrenching.

Today the same questions are repeated in day to day conversations in Kashmir. The child when he starts to speak up is asked ‘What you have to become? The child is always trained by the parents what to say. He says exactly what his parents have told him. The year 2016 was totally a break from the past. It so happened that the killing of Burhan Muzafar Wani provoked wide spread anger on the streets of Kashmir.

Hundreds were killed, pellets smashed the skin and the almond eyes of Kashmiri youth and many thousands were injured. It seemed as if the Lucifer had come to burn the heaven that Nature had created on the earth. It was mayhem, and no day passed without the killings and the injury. For exactly three months dance of death continued to roam around the valleys of Kashmir.

Even though physical violence was severe, psychological effects got entrenched. More over education was the worst hit during those days. Kashmiri’s, however, found a unique way of educating the children in the most comic ways. The traditional schools were named as “Curfew Schools”.

These schools sprang everywhere. Every one participated in one or more ways. There was a one school that was nearby. Students flocked the premises to get their syllabus completed as they had an intuition that the authorities will make sure that the examinations happen at any cost. It was the first time that we saw small children moving towards the “Curfewed Schools” in such joyous way, otherwise they are always pushed and they continue to weep until the school reached and they keep quite because of fear of teacher.

The one other thing that kept them quiet was that shop which fell between their homes and the school. Get something for them; they will remain quite as the night.

It was after one month that they were going to school. The teachers of the school were picked up from this very village with no experience at all in teaching. They were still students after all but passions at that time ran high so everybody leapt to do so for Kashmiri people in whatever way.

This image is of the resumption of classwork in Kashmir after 2016 uprising. Photo: Mehraj Bhat

The classes, as against the formal schools, were quite lively. There was chatting everywhere and nobody took us seriously. But every school boy as well as girl wanted to read something for the day. There was a serious competition who to study first. Punching and lying started on this very note. Almost every student made some excuse to get his studies finished first and leave quickly.

Where? Nobody knows. We guessed that they will get themselves hurt by going close to stone pelting sites, so we forced them to remain in the “Curfewed School” premises. They were very much willing to leave as soon as possible. We were not about to let them move until half of the day passes. So we thought of providing them ‘Home work” so that they will get absorbed into the work for the next half of the day. We, somehow, managed to make it sure that the work was done on the next day.

Suddenly, one of our colleagues hit an idea. Why not make them write “My Aim in Life”. We laughed at this as this was a novel idea and we remembered our own school days. We told them to write the essay on ‘My Aim in Life” and the leave.

The boys pounced on their copies. One wrote “Brhun”,a mistake of name. Other corrected him and both wrote “Burhan Wani”. The third punched both of them and all corrected and wrote “Burhan Muzafar Wani”.

We did not allow them to write more but we were very much sure that they will not worry about the marks as we used to, they will not worry about copying and they will write similar essays in life, if not in essays, whatever the implications.

The third punched both of them and all corrected and wrote “Burhan Muzafar Wani”.

We kicked in our exams not to write the same thing, they kicked to write the same thing. Their aim was not Burhan Wani, but they were Burhan Wani’s and society has made them, the surrounding injustice has made them.

The author is a Ph.D scholar in Dept. of Economics at Aligarh Muslim University and can be mailed at suhail029@gmail.com. Ideas expressed are his own)

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