Education should not be the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.
In every brutal regime, repression of sentiments is the greatest weapon to hold on to power. It’s more powerful than a nuclear weapon, people are not getting killed but choked to nearly death,every day. The way to control people is to control their future, their thinking and their mindset. The best way to do it, is to suppress the activism in educational institution, or anything that leads to it.
In an occupied state such as Kashmir, education has become a tool to control the sentiment. Where the government doesn’t want the younger generation to know of their history and of their heritage. Kashmir has a history that goes into the BC era. A struggle for Independence which is around four centuries old. Thus an inspiration that would provoke and inspire people even more.
Kashmir University is the highest seat of learning in the state. It was meant to set standards but instead it became a street dog, beaten and bruised by the puppets of the state. Due to which it has become a pet of the government.They don’t even teach Agha Shahid Ali, the celebrated contemporary poet of Kashmir. Or Human Rights in the Law departmentFrom the reign of spoilt-for-money, Riyaz Punjabi who destroyed the very essence of democracy and student activism. He first choked KUSU (Kashmir Universtity Students Union) and then in a very cheeky manner their office was bulldozed. Politics was completely banned in the campus and still continues.
The fear of the persecution of the authorities is such that nobody can openly come out against the authorities. The fear of dismissal and surveillance in the university looms over the lush campus. The arrest of the activism has made the politically educated and passionate youth to avoid the white elephant in the room. All the cultural festivals, and mega feasts in the universities are cosmetic measures. They are an eyewash that “all is well”.
If there cannot be activism in the university, then there is no fun of having one. It’s like going to a air-conditioned,open walled, fancy jail. Where you walk in every single day, sitting in the park, discussing cricket and exams. Or going on facebook and posting rants against the Indian “Occupation”. All the talking and idealistic thinking will not work. It needs action. What the University needs is liberation not poetry contests. The gates labelled with Sir Syed, Rumi or Zain ul Abideen should be renamed to Adolf Hitler, Mussolini and Hari Singh gates respectively. The gates should lead to a free environment not a picturesque concentration camp.
Stop talking about what you want to do, start doing what you can do. We have seen too many a talks and speeches about activism. But who takes action. If the fear of persecution is too scary then don’t talk of breaking the siege. Then be like the dog, petted and treated like a slave, if you think being a Lion is too scary. Don’t give up when you fight, stay there and hold on. If you run away, you will be running forever.
Tell the regime ” Goodbye, It’s time to go home”. Their time is over. Or as we say it Kashmiri ” Wativ Waguv”
- Agha Shahid Ali’s Delhi Years (3quarksdaily.com)