The ‘Other’

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Stepping outside Jawahar tunnel is not always a trip to remember. Some hindrances do play a spoilsport. And the matter indeed becomes pivotal given the bulk movement going out of the valley each year. Massive chunk of the movement is formed by students. Outside the boundaries of Kashmir, many perceptions keep following the track. And the sad part of the story remains that most of these perceptions have been shaped by parachute journalism extensively practised outside to project the state of affairs in the valley. These media-fed perceptions when trickled down to grassroots give rise to pre-conceived notions. The glimpse of the same perception was ominous when scores of Kashmiri students pursuing their studies in Himalayan Group of Professional Institute Himachal Pradesh staged a massive protest inside College premises demanding immediate rustication of those students allegedly involved in misbehaving with Kashmiri female students. Few Kashmiri students said that it has become a common sight for them that students from Haryana and Himachal tease and harass Kashmiri female students. They said few days before when some of the Kashmiri students resisted and resented their action; they in league with other outside state students beat them mercilessly. Such incidents aren’t starling given the history of such incidents happening in Indian mainland. And the course of action that usually follows after such events is simply outrageous. Like in this recent incident, the institute dismissed the matter by saying that it was not a serious issue. Besides they didn’t shy away to term the female harassment allegations as baseless. Instead of taking a strong note of the matter, the authorities aptly shrugged off the issue. As if taking cognizance of the matter wasn’t their business. Such instances are potent enough to spark up a sense of alienation among Kashmiris. True, some degree of that sense is already there. But then, there are many who believe in moving on in life. And indeed some don’t want to crumble present with past. But whenever such incidents surface, that old pent up feeling race up to express. Already prime minister’s scholarship farce is playing at the back of many young minds. And then denying expression outside simply shatters all goodwill measures in force. The manner Kashmiri youth were attacked by rightwing youth in New Delhi on Feb 9 this year further beefs this notion. So the question is how Kashmiri youth are going to deal with all perceptions which often denounce them “other”. Already many youth have taken to social media to counter the propaganda launched by nefarious perceptions in mainland India against Kashmiris. The task here isn’t to repeat a lie hundred times to turn it truth. But the challenge is to set many enslaved perceptions free from mainstream propaganda by upholding the truth. It isn’t a cakewalk, but then, countering something obnoxious demands some form of slog.     

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