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By: Gh. Hassan Bhat

It is true that change is the law of nature, what is today shall be different tomorrow. Vicissitudes are part of every community. Here we have seen enough atrocities, have observed repercussion of belligerence and unwanted massacres and all that.

Now a wave of change is seen ubiquitously. Perhaps a new dawn has risen and in this I am presenting stories of the young people of my hometown TangmargBarmulla in North Kashmir areas surrounded by fascinating Himalayan Mountains and in the foothills about 100 of hamlets are situated. Male literacy of this town is just about 61% and female just about 40%. Being hilly area maximum populace is engaged with agricultural activities. Majority of the young people are not permanently employable. Some of the chronic challenges they face are here for all of you.


Problem of Unemployment: Youth of this area are always longing for nation building processes, be it economical, social and political filed everywhere wishing to serve through different capacities. But certain reasons are hurdle to this passion. Despite having different talent but lack of resources and proper guidance it goes unnoticed resulting in destitution, aloofness and alienability. Although having opportunities of different job creation facilities but reasons like paucity of infrastructure, awareness, weather reasons etc. are often severe challenges to face here. Agriculture as primary job is not yielding good result which adds disguised unemployment. Some people have been guiding them in their own way that they became emotionally unintelligent and choose wrong way of life.  “I am an MSC Kashmir University pass out student but I feel extreme hopelessness said one Mushtaq Ah from Drung area”. There are number of other such youths in my hometown having same untold stories like this.

Way forward: There are numerous ways to tackle this challenge. Best entrepreneur schemes with proper guidance, implementation and awareness of STARTUP INDIA, Mission Youth and Skill India are need of the hour to engage higher educated youth at mass level. Furthermore establishment of vocational training centres should also be given priority. Agriculture, horticulture and handicraft sectors should be promoted on scientific lines.

Problem of illiteracy: Illiteracy is widespread here which leads to underdevelopment, intolerance, narrowness, poverty etc. This area is facing this grave issue since long time. Most of the people are having orthodox thought. Actually yet we don’t have recognized the importance of education in our lives. School dropouts of this area are about 500 plus with more than 400 out of school children (OOSC) including several CWSN students.

Way forward: Education has no parallel, schools with good infrastructure like ICT facilities, buildings, sanitation; trained teachers, societal mobilization etc are essentialities to make a difference. Mainstreaming OOSC, care of CWSN students, other counseling centres should also be given priority to promote quality education.

Promotion of Tourism: As the tourism here is grown now by leaps and bounds, lakhs of tourists visiting this beautiful valley especially GULMARG and local people are benefited by this while engaging themselves with this sector. In addition to what has been done till now, there are various opportunities to upgrade and develop this sector on more large scale. Some urgent measures to attract more people here and create more secure job opportunities for local youth. Lack of proper management, planning and less job security on this famous tourist destination of Tangmarg and Gulmarg youth often can be seen running after tourists in haphazard manner. “We don’t need dole, we need proper hand lending by our government” said another youth Arif Ah from Village Sonlipora.

Way forward:  In this regard necessary infrastructural development like road connectivity, establishing of hotel industry, E-facility, environmental sustainability, sustainable and proper working placing for local labours, Ski resort infrastructure, promotion of adventure tourism, development of other snow related games are need to be taken on urgent basis for stimulating economic growth of the UT and local area as well. Last year Khelo India was also organized here in which large number of people participated.

Role of Women: Women as key pillar of every society had been completely ignored or exploited here not only on economical grounds but socially and culturally as well. Thousands of women folk are exploited on the name of Handicraft work. They knew this laborious work since decades but with meager return.

Way Forward:  An exclusive Women Market if established here shall be a great beginning where different women made products would be available for selling to local and outside people. Other Entrepreneur schemes, Guidance and Counseling also need to give importance to involve more and more women folk into economic fold and spur economic growth.

Govt Interventions till date: Govt took many efforts to tackle this situation to augment and eradicate the sufferings of people. Several schemes had been launched. Easy bank loans, establishment of EDI etc have been going on. With respect to education NEP 2020, opening of some kindergardens, free education with some ICT labs, MDM facility in all govt schools etc has also been provided. In tourism several initiatives have also been taken like Gogaldara-Drung road connectivity etc.

Conclusion: Lot has been done and yet lot is undone, more efforts are required from our govt. Youth is waiting to contribute in national building; they need just a direction and path. A young boy Arif Khan from this area represented INDIA in Beijing Olympics. All the people here especially youth want peace with dignity and honour. There are ample opportunities of hope in despair through this diversity only. Only need is to lend them a hand.

The writer is a Govt. Teacher, Resource Person, Tangmarg, Baramulla Kashmir. [email protected]

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