Altaf Bukhari has a big role cut out for him

Neetu Singh

JK News Today 

Altaf Bukhari is more than a doer . Not only has he helped restore a sense of confidence among teachers in the state  who were finding them beleaguered  as   they were portrayed as  largely incompetent and  burdened by other activities other than teaching .

No doubt that the Rehbar-e-Talim teachers  have  their own stories and some of them have   more activities  than in class rooms , partly because of the  low pay. But they were the willing recruits , pushed by the prolonged spells of  unemployment and  need for money to survive in the conflict zone .

Teaching in Jammu and Kashmir, especially in the  Valley and remote areas has become a dangerous  profession . They are caught in a situation where they have to teach the children and at the same time bow to the societal and pressure from militants  to tell the children , who they are ? Here it is also important for them to inform the children what is going on  and why soldiers are militants are fighting each other . There are so many atmospherics that converge in the classrooms – the  crackdowns, stone throwing , gun battles,  “ martyrdom” of young boys or their school mates.

A teacher cannot escape  from telling the children, what was happening around . There he becomes part of a narrative that is  beyond the  text books and the world affairs . His/ her job is to sharpen the appetite of the children for ambitions to accomplish something great in their lives . But when the local surroundings  peddle the idea of conflict , things are clouded . Teachers  and student relationship changes. They tend to become  rebels  for the local considerations  weigh far more heavy on their minds than the  ambitions  spelled out  in the normal circumstances.

Altaf Bukari has  a bigger task ahead . He should  work for changing the  overall scenario. First as a  citizen of Kashmir as it is their responsibility to  free the next generation from the idea of violence as liberator .  And, as Education Minister , he has fulfilled some responsibility by freeing teachers of so many pressures  like doing census or the poll duty ,  but they need to  be the real guides of the children. He has to stand as a hope for  the children all across the state . That would define  his real role  in the right perspective .

His predecessor moved on some of the issues, but unfortunately,  a substantial period of his tenure in Education was  consumed by the unrest. But, now Altaf has to face all the challenges. As Education Minister , he holds key to peace in Kashmir.

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