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.
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.