Piggy ride on students may backfire (Commentary)

 

Binoo Joshi              

 

Jammu, November 15

The start of the class X and  XII  examinations in Kashmir  is good news.  It is seen as a turning  point on the analogy of  2010 when the opening of  schools  brought  back a sense of normalcy  and there was no trouble until July  this year  when  life consuming  protests broke out  at a large scale   across the Valley .

Jumping to any  conclusion that  the unrest has come  to an end  with the examinations  and it has marginalized separatism is  patently wrong. Nor should separatists  see that their “freedom struggle” is intact .  This view is also wrong.

Examinations that began on Monday– November 14 – the Children’s Day in India – should be seen as a necessity for the students, their parents and  teachers . Having missed the regular classes  for  over four months , the students were finding themselves in a dilemma . Their confidence was jolted by the trouble on the streets . They were also not immune to the narrative  propounded by their age-group boys  battling security forces in  streets and facing bullets , but at the same time they were  made aware of  the danger of  consuming their lives  in street fights .  Their road map to future ran through books and examinations, the necessity of  educational system.

Those reading  these examinations as a  move to  end the cycle of protests in a bid to piggy ride on the students and their pursuit of careers  to peddle the narrative of Kashmir’s yearning for normalcy and a rebuff to all  who were behind the  troubles,  is  not the whole truth .  Normalcy is necessary  for conduct of  crucial test like examinations. The class XII examinations hold special significance children, schools and  parents  in  the system. It is a threshold to jump to bigger avenues in professional pursuits , be it law, engineering , medical or skill development .  But to view examinations as a watershed moment  in  changing the whole narrative of conflict to conciliation  would be stretching things too far.

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Taking a cue from it , however, could put the things in  proper perspective in which these examinations  are seen  purely an academic affair , guided by “save the year” thought process  to build the careers, for which normalcy not the semblance of  it, is a necessity . It should be in perpetuity not as an  on and off affair.

It would be better if the Central and the state establishment keeps quiet  on the issue. Let the examinations and situation take its own natural course , their  harsh words against separatists have not brought   children to examination centres . The situation is still fragile. Schools are still being torched .  These  examinations is a success story  under extraordinary security measures . This point should not be forgotten.

These leaders who have become Kashmir experts by  virtue of their positions  can threaten muddling of the situation once again. Doors  to future steps should not be shut by claiming victory  when those are yet to open fully.

Kashmir issue is different  and that should be resolved by  dialogue  not by  counting students in examination centres, because then counting of the protestors  since July too would have to be done. This kind of rush to conclusions may backfire then.

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