Our future, who decides it?

Watch your habits they become character;
Watch your character; it becomes your destiny
The Law of Unintended Consequences goes totally ignored here in Kashmir.
Our youngsters strive to gratify their wants and desires, their cherished goals, aims, and ambitions. Moreover, they are often unable to satisfy their desires or accomplish their goals. Sometimes the ambitions of our Gen Next exceed their abilities, or we misperceive the possibilities. But most often they are blocked by an external barrier that precludes gratification. Whatever the barrier, they seem frustrated. Their lives here in Kashmir are within a matrix of many frustrations -the blockage of their wants or goals. That frustration occasionally leads to anger.
Irony of the situation is that we are not ensuring to hear the voice of  the generation who will be setting the pace for social and economic development in the years ahead. A sense of isolation is creeping among the youngsters in the valley which can lead to negative character growth and negative social attitude.
Across the valley, young people are in the majority in terms of numbers but usually have a minority voice. Need of the hour is to involve young people and encourage them to debate the key issues which affect their daily lives and their long-term future.
They are concerned about their future and their place in a changing, globalized and highly competitive world. They possess skills and talent and are second to none but their skills and talents must be nurtured and developed. The sad truth is that many of them — and with them, their families — have been denied their dreams because of incompetent management, rampant corruption and simple greed. We   are losing those talents. If it continues, Kashmir will sink even further into darkness than it is today.
 Mostly, young minds want to believe, but they don’t want to be pushed or lectured or forced. Convictions are created through genuine involvement. Through a relationship. Give and take. Through a dialogue, not a monologue.
We need to encourage responses and debate around a range of social issues relevant in the lives of young people, ranging from what life is like between 18-25 in this info tech era, parental control, studying outside, friendships, to the search for identity.
We have to appreciate the fact that technology has advanced more in the last half a century than in the previous 2,000 years. So, like it or loathe it, the media on airwaves especially internet has become a force to be reckoned with in young Kashmir’s socio-cultural life.
We have to be on familiar terms with the questions like, are the benefits of new media truly one-sided to individuals and our community, or are there hidden costs that are still to be fully appreciated given the youth of the media in this part of world? Should there be checks on the content and does it distort our social life by forcing attention onto short-term single subject as opposed to long-term broader issues?
We have traditionally been a closed society for a very long time. In order to confront the new challenges and harvest the new opportunities therein we need to open our eyes. We need to kick start the dialogue especially with our younger generation.
At this chaotic juncture of disbelief, confusion and mistrust , their only points of entry to the public sphere are the places where young people meet and mingle, such as colleges, universities, shopping malls, gyms, gossip corners and coffee shops. Perhaps these should be the main avenues for the young citizens to participate in public discourse.


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