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Even in this Global crisis, Our Right to Education in the hands of Autocrats

S.A Rasheed

It is not for the first time that Kashmir is passing through the darkest days. In fact, its darkness is seven decades old and it has since been losing many and much. Trade, business, transport and almost everything and everyone has suffered but the education sector here has been the worst victim. Our education sector always remained at the receiving end and has been pushed to the wall. May it be because of the agitations of 2008, 2010 and 2016, devastating floods of September 2014 or abrogation of the article 35-A and 370, which almost handicapped the education system of the valley for more than 8 months, education over here was badly hit consequently leading to a state of mental depression and sense of despair among the blooming buds of Kashmir. As the classrooms remained locked, there was no access to internet, so no schools and colleges for more than 8 months. The brilliant minds of Kashmir were virtually left to get defunct, arising in them a fear of losing opportunities and golden chances of building their careers in this selfish and fast growing world which is now a global village.
The current challenge that the whole world is facing today is the fight against the deadly Covid-19 pandemic which has spread all over the world and giving a tough time even to the super powers. The helplessness of the world including these super powers is no secret now. While schools, colleges, markets, industries and factories etc are shut and transport missing, a good initiative has luckily been taken by the countries to educate the children through e-classes or online classes. India in this regard is in no way lacking behind. It has also started educating students through online classes. But the irony is that Kashmiri students have been denied this privilege. Even amid this global crisis Kashmir has been pushed to the wall by denying the access to high speed internet which is alike the wind pipe for the students who are left with only one option of switching to the online classes. Though the slow speed internet is available (not considering the frequent and sudden withdrawals of this outdated service) but it hardly allows a teacher and student to interact clearly. On one side the educational institutes are shut and on the other hand e-classes have been made impossible, students are entering a state of depression and are worried about their future. In this situation any brightest mind can become a “devil’s workshop”, Hopeless and frustrated these students may take a wrong step which will be very disastrous for the society, if such a situation becomes a reality who will be responsible? It is up to the administration of Jammu and Kashmir and the central government to ponder upon this issue and think about the future of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
It is rightly said that we can wait for electricity, roads, drinking water and other things but we can’t wait for education which is not less than the oxygen for the present generation. Let the government of India not make us suffer at least in this regard, let its leadership behave like statesmen and give us access to internet, at least till the Covid-19 goes away and virtual class rooms are restored fully, so that we can build our future and compete with the rest of world. Let the government decide whether it wants more Burhans, Musas, Naikoos or youth icons like Shah Faesal from the valley. Let them prevent us from taking any wrong step and choosing any wrong track. If not so then it is all ending up with strengthening the anti-India statement in the valley.

(Author is Pursuing B.Sc Hon’s from ICSC, Srinagar)