Untying the knots

Tarique A Bhat

Other than absence of permanent peace, Kashmir is picture perfect. The moral and socio-cultural horizons of the valley are shrinking rather than expanding.
Okay, first things first. I’m not going to say I told you so – mainly because I didn’t. The story of a generation in difficult circumstances who are trying to live their lives in the middle of it all is not very much positive. And they will be setting the pace for social and economic development in the years ahead. The destructiveness of Kashmir conflict is reality for our younger generation. Content and discontent are still vying for my devotion.  I admit to giving discontent a little more attention. The distrust and disgust in the minds of youth have been building up during the years of turmoil in the valley. We are losing those talents. If it continues, Kashmir will sink even further into darkness. Their frustration should not be allowed to get the better of them.
How can I have a firm grasp on contentment while youngsters have again come on streets pelting stones? I simply can’t find the place in my heart yet, but I am still searching.  It is that ever present fog that settles around me…hope and despair intermingled so well that it is hard to have one without the other. But I know it is only when one can’t free him or herself from despair that the problem becomes serious. The hopelessness and self-bashing has almost become our culture now. Psychologists tell us that identity is firmly rooted in one’s culture and, at the same time, it reflects one’s culture.
There is a new aspiring young Kashmir out there, looking for new answers and new methods. But unfortunately, they are not in the right place at the right time. In our understanding of Kashmir conflict the lack of detailed attention to emotions and relationships of the younger generation is the biggest gap. Our elite talks of Identity crisis that our future generations may have to face. But identity is quite a complex phenomenon determined by a multiplicity of factors. When a person has a clear and stable sense of self, we can say that he or she has an “identity”.
Some recent research indicates that issues of individual identity have become a problem in societies that do not prescribe clear roles and life philosophies for their youth. We could not produce intellectuals here who could challenge the traditional and existing societal values that left people in a state of questioning the meaning and purpose of life and finding their real place and identities in the society.
There is also no doubt that the writings of some pseudo intellectuals, religious and half baked “scholars” confused many lay people and, at the same time, diverted them from their philosophical, ideological, and even socio-cultural bonds.
As early as 1897, Durkheim (1951) pointed out that loose links between individuals and their cultural communities may cause great distress leading to suicidal tendencies, especially among the youth. Our younger generation has developed ego identity when we refer to the psychological disturbances in their lives due to huge generation gaps.

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