The rising discontent across globe
World is tormented by conflicts and nearly all countries, except a few, are witnessing tremendous political and violent upheavals wherein children and youth are exposed to this culture of violence constantly. The scenario thus leads to chaos and confusion among youngsters that hampers the possibility of a prosperous future not just for them but for the entire globe eventually. Exposure to the conflict is creating detrimental effects on physical and mental health as many reports and researches have established a direct link between exposure to violence and fading hopes of future prosperity.
Armed conflicts are no more fought on the well-defined battlefields and have rather shifted to people lives as the world is witnessing guerilla warfare which results in enormous material damage of communities apart from loss of life and has no demarcations whatsoever.
Youth in every community are considered as hope for future but violence usually attacks the very hopes of a community and things aren’t any different here in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, particularly the valley. Since the sprouting of armed struggle in Kashmir in 1989, it's effects on the lives of children have been enormous in terms of direct and indirect impacts that it inflicts upon them and disrupts their natural upbringing.
Many studies carried out here by either local, national or international organizations, have found that a huge percentage of Kashmiri youth show signs of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and some even have full grown depression. According to a study by Oxfam in 2003, conducted on the impact of violence on students population 98% were found to suffer from constrained anger and 64% respondents were directly affected by the violence.
While working on a study titled ‘Impacts of Protracted Conflict on Adolescent age in Kashmir’ I had a chance to meet numerous youngsters and unfortunately maximum of them had clear signs of depression and PTSD. I came across a number of youngsters who had been either directly or indirectly affected by the conflict here.
During the conduct of the study, I was supposed to conduct a door to door research and while having interaction with adolescents, I found the minds of young boys and girls deeply perturbed by the prevailing situation in Kashmir valley. The fear of prevailing violence on young budding minds was such that they were not comfortable while answering few of the questions and hesitated to utter a word. The prevailing situation in the valley has created a permanent room in the minds of adolescents as they witness violence on a daily basis. Many of the respondents narrated that they had been witness to the victimization by many ways like nocturnal raids, arrests, torture etc.
However, while doing research, I came across a stunning fact that few of the students belonging to well off and educated families have memories of the violence but wasn’t as profound as among those belonging to middle and lower class children.
One comes to realize that the continuing and ongoing conflict, whether one calls it a ‘low or high intensity’ was consuming lives and casting a deep shadow over the young and budding minds of the valley.