Why We Must Take A Stand Against Burning Of Schools?

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Notwithstanding Hurriyat (G) chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s censure against torching of schools, another primary school was Thursday torched by unidentified arsonists taking the toll of the schools set ablaze during the on-going strife in Kashmir to 21.According to the reports, unidentified persons torched Government Primary School Tapper in Pattan area of north Kashmir’s Baramulla district late last night. The school was gutted in the blaze. Geelani, the senior separatist leader who spearheads the current ‘uprising’ by issuing calendars containing various protest programs, has asked people to be vigilant about such mysterious incidents.

A top police officer, however, lambasted Hurriyat saying ‘they’re playing smart’. “While no one has been arrested so far, we are investigating the case,” he said. “But teachers were threatened last week by some unknown persons for keeping the school open against Huriyat call.”He stone pelters whom he called “foot soldiers of Geelani” were burning these schools. “They want to create an Army of Jahils (ignorant) by disallowing formal education so that a Talbanized madrassa educated army of illiterates is created.”

While KO will not take sides or assess the relative merits of Geelani’s or the police version of events, we will take a strong view and stance on the school burning issue. Education, we believe is not only a right and an entitlement but also a need- both for individuals and society. It is by dint and virtue of education that individuals attain a higher and better level of consciousness, civilization , the ability to distinguish between “right” and “wrong” and a conscientious duty towards the betterment and efflorescence of society. Education also has, to use the jargon of economics, social returns- that is, extra financial returns that accrue to society and enhance the public good. An educated individual and by extension an educated citizenry is the best antidote to ignorance, conflict, the depredations of conflict and leads to a civilized society. there are also economic benefits to both society and individuals by virtue of education. 

WHY THEN ARE SCHOOLS BEING DESTROYED?

While we cannot definitely know the reasons but we can second guess the reasons of the perpetrators. Those who are burning schools want Kashmiris to both regress, deteriorate and degenerate- psychologically, economically, socially and individually. It is a matter of fact that education in the vale- both private and the one provided by the state- is not of great quality but regardless there has been an increase in both the supply and demand of education. People see in education as a route to social and economic mobility and prosperity. But , nay, the perpetrators , want to have nothing to do with it. They appear to want to destroy the aspirations of people and by extension society. This is wrong- morally, ethically and even our religion forbids this. Our religion – through both the Quran and the Hadith – clearly puts a premium on society. It may be worthy to recall a Hadith of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) where He has said that, “ if pursuit of education warrants a visit to China( then a very faraway place from the Centre of Gravity of Islam), Muslims must make this journey”. This is the import that Islam and our beloved Prophet(PBUH) attaches to education. It is then about time that all of condemn the acts of arson against our society and stand united against these. Let education be taken out of the conflict in and over Kashmir and let it proceed on its own accord and momentum.

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