Gurmehar, Shehla Interact with Srinagar Youth

Book Reading: ‘Small Acts of Freedom’

SRINAGAR — Delhi University student and well known peace activist Gurmehar Kaur engaged with a group of youth at a book reading function here on Saturday.

Her first public interaction in J&K preceded reading out of excerpts from her maiden book ‘Small Acts of Freedom’ before a diverse audience comprising of journalists, artists and students at a riverside cafe.

Gurmehar read out the last chapter of her book, which is set in Kashmir. “More importantly, she had written this chapter in Kupwara where her father received martyrdom and one can discern the reason behind such a decision after reading the book”, organisers said. 

The book reading was followed by a lively interaction with JNU student and prominent activist, Shehla Rashid. The discussion led to the unravelling of the whole story of how this book came into being and how her childhood experiences shaped her struggle. Her main concern remained the dehumanisation of the lives affected by conflicts, irrespective of the side to which they belong. 

Lastly a Q&A session with the audience commenced in which Gurmehar and Shehla tackled various queries, ranging from the toxic atmosphere of bigotry in the country to the similarities of her struggle with the lives of countless Kashmiris. 

One of the highlights of the event  was her response to a hypothetical on her priorities as PM, to which she replied “From a purely humanist perspective, I’d like to resolve the Kashmir issue so that no child in the future is separated from his/her parents and no mind is brought up in the climate of hatred”

Daughter of a decorated slain soldier, Gurmehar Kaur’s campaign against warmongering brought her to limelight last year. Gurmehar shot to fame when she pushed back against the ABVP (student  wing of BJP) members when they disrupted a seminar held in Delhi’s Ramjas College last year where student activists Umar Khalid and Shehla Rashid were scheduled to speak. TIME magazine recently named her a Next Generation Leader.

Speaking about the participation of young people in politics, Gurmehar said that it is the need of the hour for young people to come to politics and shape the destiny of country. “The older generation has messed up things, so my faith lies in youth of the country and their ability to salvage the present.”  Kaur is currently working on her second book revolving around youth in politics.

Shehla Rashid, herself a Kashmiri, and a renowned student activist, hailed the courage and tenacity of Gurmehar Kaur who has been facing online violence for her views. 

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