Better education can change narratives

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By: Faizan Ahmad Beig

Kashmir is a very beautiful place. God has endowed it with immense natural beauty – lush green forests, lakes, rivers, meadows and mountains apart from its scintillating villages and suburbs. We have enough natural resources and an economy which is good enough to sustain itself. But, unfortunately, Kashmir has been the subject of a conflict for the last more than thirty years. The enormous loss of human lives during the decades old conflict coupled with collateral damage to properties here caused one of the worst and widespread mental traumas challenging the wellbeing of people irrespective of gender and age. The economy too suffered immensely and could not reach its full potential even to this day.

The unending cycle of violence left severe injury marks on the psyche of the people, particularly the younger’s who could not whole-heartedly participate in the responsibilities that the society deserved and needed of them. Chaos and confusion engulfed many a brilliant minds and people resigned to lives determined by the conditionings and the overall hopeless scenario around them.

Now, when things are slightly better and there are chances of engaging people into the process of peace building, the role of schools and peace education becomes very essential. Schools in Kashmir have a moral obligation to instill peace and peaceful thought in the minds of Kashmiri youngsters as it is imperative to challenge the narrative in Kashmir and usher a new dawn.

‘Peace studies’ is essentially required in Kashmir in view of the overall conflict scenario and the kind of radicalization that the valley has witnessed till date. The overall mental makeup of the young students needs to be addressed in a very professional manner in order to make sure that violence has no room here and that people start believing in peace and the long term prospects of it.

The future generation cannot be left unattended and our schools as well as higher educational institutions must play a crucial role in addressing the concerns of the students and shaping their ideas in such a manner so as to make them peace loving citizens. Who knows the worth of peace better than those who have suffered conflict and radicalization!

Schools in Kashmir have a moral responsibility to help bring peace to the valley. If violence, chaos and confusion continue in Kashmir, it will be a loss to Kashmir only. Teachers in Kashmir are responsible for making our future generations peace-loving and law-abiding. If teachers fail in their duty today, our future will be dark and there will be more death and destruction and many more households will be devastated.

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