Having been under the shadow of the gun, Jammu and Kashmir has suffered tremendously for the last decades. While the resultant violence coupled with frequent and prolonged shutdowns called for separatists has affected one and all.
Educational standards, skills, efficiency and merit of the youth will always remain decisive factors in maintaining the pace of development and economic advancement. (Photo source: IE)
By Farooq Wani,
Having been under the shadow of the gun, Jammu and Kashmir has suffered tremendously for the last decades. While the resultant violence coupled with frequent and prolonged shutdowns called for separatists has affected one and all. However, it’s the youth of this region who have suffered the most as their education has been severely disrupted as they have out on employment opportunities and their dreams to do well in life have come to nought. Due to this, the unemployment figure in Jammu-Kashmir currently stands at 16.2 per cent, which is the second-worst unemployment rate among states/union territories in the country.
Educational standards, skills, efficiency and merit of the youth will always remain decisive factors in maintaining the pace of development and economic advancement. Thus, while the Government is doing what it can, it is also the societal duty of civil society, elders and role models to motivate youth so that they can take adversity in their stride and overcome this handicap through their initiative. This will ensure that the frustration amongst the youth, which at times makes them vulnerable to be misled into taking the path of violence and self-annihilation is instead channelised into other meaningful pursuits.
Youth empowerment is the key to peace, progress and prosperity. It is heartening to note that some very progressive steps have been taken by the center in 2020, like ‘Skill, Empowerment and Employment in Jammu & Kashmir’ (SEE J&K). This programme will benefit 1 lakh youth in the next 5 years and will be implemented through competent training providers from the private sector and non-profit organizations.
The selected candidates will range from school dropouts to graduates and postgraduates with each empowered in accordance to his education and capability. Placements would be across the entire country. Thus, not only will such schemes prevent youth from taking the wrong path, but also encourage who have gone astray to return into the mainstream. It would also make youth self-sufficient workers and entrepreneurs and thus become a source of pride and succour for their respective families and inspiration to others.
After the abrogation of Article 370, the central government has been doing its utmost to provide youth with knowledge and skills to make their career in different streams and Indian army too is doing yeoman service in this regard and ‘Shaurya’ (fame), an ongoing musical talent hunt is its latest initiative. Aimed to promote musical talent amongst the youth by giving those with exceptional aptitude in this sphere of activity a platform to showcase their abilities and explore new vistas in the music industry this event has been coordinated by Udhampur based Northern Command with the famous “Mausqui Studios.
Renowned Bollywood celebrities and legends like Sukhwinder Singh and Dilshaad Shabbir Shaikh have promoted the talent hunt, which has been a grand success. Over 2000 talented youth of Jammu & Kashmir joined the online audition which was spread over seven days. This was followed up by offline audition for four days (two days each in Jammu and Srinagar). Finally, ten of the most talented youth comprising vocalists and instrumentalists have been selected five each from Jammu- )Raghugeet Singh, Reema Devi, Shobit Gupta, Rajinder Kumar and Rahul Kumar) and five from Kashmir (Umar Majid, Adnan Manzoor, Mansoor Pandit, Aasif Fayaz and Anees Yosuf Qurashi ) to form the J&K Band. This Band will be groomed before they showcase their talent on 18 Jan 2021 in Srinagar. While the entire Band will share the stage with famous singer Sukhwinder Singh, the top three contestants will be performing with him. Post this performance, the Band members will be travelling to Mumbai for training and further grooming before undertaking contractual performances.
Besides helping those selected by making them celebrities, such programme will certainly do wonders in future as it will inspire other youngsters will follow in their footprints and this new vista will also open doors of employment generation and enhanced economic activity.
This is also a huge opportunity for the youth of J&K to look at a new future and break away from the patterns of the past which no longer serves anybody’s interests. There is hope for weaning away misguided Kashmiri youths to dream about a better life. Hope needs a nurturing environment, it deteriorates with age, gets ossified by cynicism. It is fragile hence it’s crucial that the right environment is created for its success. So, such joint efforts by the centre, local administration and army to create a positive environment in J&K is a welcome step, especially when the public has largely lost trust in both local political structures and leaders.
Hope is a belief it cannot be forced or pushed. It’s linked to trust in systems and institutions working as they were meant to be, it means new opportunities in the environment. It takes time to build this. This can only be demonstrated by actions by such youth who through their hard work and dedication will serve as role models for others.
This is the high time when the youth of Kashmir should shun the cult of violence and opt for peace and prosperity. It is time for the complete leadership of Kashmir to respect their sentiments, drop politics of agitation and work towards rehabilitating their lives disrupted by decades.
(The author is an Editor, Columnist, Political Analyst and TV Commentator. firstname.lastname@example.org Views expressed are personal and do not necessarily reflect the official position or policy of Financial Express Online.}