By Farooq Shah
A disturbing reality grips the youth in Kashmir: a sharp rise in violent behavior, particularly among boys. This unsettling trend, deeply embedded in the region’s social fabric, has profound implications.
Emerging from intricate family dynamics, educational hurdles, and the overarching shadow of societal unrest, this escalating violence paints a grim picture of the youth in Kashmir. Exploring the root causes and unraveling the alarming consequences is imperative to grasp the gravity of the situation.
At the nucleus of this issue lies the influence of parents, the primary architects of a child’s upbringing. The significance of parental guidance cannot be wished away; parents serve as the first teachers, shaping their children’s personalities and behaviors.
Children, in their formative years, absorb not just words but actions, imitating the conduct they witness within the confines of their homes. However, in Kashmir, familial peace is often disrupted by frequent conflicts, especially between parents. The relentless sparring serves as a breeding ground for violent tendencies in impressionable young minds.
When parents have multiple children within a short span, the competition for resources intensifies dramatically within the confines of the household. For instance, the older child might enjoy unrestricted access to a mobile phone, leaving the younger siblings feeling deprived.
This inequality fuels intense sibling rivalry, sometimes escalating to a point where it fosters resentment and even contributes to their subsequent violent behavior. In joint families, where space is limited, the potential for this rivalry to escalate uncontrollably is significantly heightened.
Mothers, too, inadvertently contribute to the problem, particularly in joint families. Driven by concern for their children’s well-being, mothers clandestinely arrange special diets, segregating high-nutrition foods away from the prying eyes of other kids in the family. This act, while rooted in maternal love, deprives children of the essential values of empathy, sharing, and caring.
As these children grow, they emerge as individuals lacking in essential social skills, ready to confront the world with hostility. Others, affected by this suspicious outlook, focus intensely on material accumulation, further deepening the societal malaise.
When a family consists of a single child, several factors can contribute to the emergence of violent tendencies. One significant factor is the child’s sense of loneliness, stemming from the absence of siblings with whom they can share experiences and emotions. This isolation can lead to frustration and aggression as the child struggles to cope with their solitary existence.
Moreover, the parental dynamic in such families plays a crucial role. Often, the parents, especially mothers, tend to shower the lone child with excessive attention and care.
While this affection stems from genuine concern, it can inadvertently stifle the child’s independence and resilience. Overprotective parenting might shield the child from challenges, but it can hinder their ability to navigate the complexities of the real world.
Moreover, the lack of the father’s active involvement in the child’s developmental journey further compounds the issue. A father figure is essential for a child’s holistic growth, providing a different perspective, support, and a sense of balance.
When this paternal influence is absent, the child might miss out on valuable life lessons and coping mechanisms that are typically imparted through a balanced parental partnership.
Compounding this issue is the gaping chasm of communication between parents and their children. In an era dominated by digital technology, parents find themselves struggling to bridge the divide. The internet, as we know is a vast repository of information and entertainment, becomes a double-edged sword.
While it offers boundless knowledge, it also instills isolationist behavior in children. Parents, burdened by daily chores and responsibilities, inadvertently resort to pacifying their children with mobile devices, unwittingly relinquishing direct control and encouraging an unhealthy dependence on technology.
The impact of this digital dependency is painfully evident in a heart-wrenching tale: a four-year-old girl, her vocabulary stunted by a screen, struggling to communicate except through the language of touchscreen buttons. Only through the intervention of the psychiatrists does she begin to relearn the art of human connection.
This story, tragically common in today’s Kashmir, highlights the detrimental consequences of unchecked technology use on the developmental milestones of a child.
The virtual world, too, plays a sinister role, inundating young minds with content steeped in violence. Animated shows and games, easily accessible online, desensitize children, blurring the line between fiction and reality. As they grow, this desensitization morphs into tangible, aggressive behavior, mirroring the virtual violence they once innocently consumed.
Conflict, an ever-present specter in Kashmir, casts its long shadow over the lives of children. Raised amidst perpetual tension, these young souls find solace within the four walls of their homes, unable to explore the world outside due to safety concerns. This confinement breeds exclusionist behavior, severing ties with peers and fostering a sense of alienation.
Yet, the challenges extend beyond the home. Schools, touted as sanctuaries of education and enlightenment, often become battlegrounds for young minds. The educational landscape, marred by archaic teaching methods and unqualified faculty, fails to engage students meaningfully.
In the digital age, where information is a click away, traditional teaching methods falter. Students, armed with smartphones and access to vast online resources, find themselves disenchanted with classroom lectures. The gap between teacher and student widens, leading to disinterest, disengagement, and, ultimately, a disdain for education itself.
Teachers who possess a profound understanding of their subjects and stay updated with the latest advancements establish a more meaningful rapport with their students in contrast to those who squander their time idling on the campus. This emphasizes the fact that a positive teaching environment can indeed have a significant impact.
Tragically, for many, education becomes a privilege accessible only through exorbitantly priced coaching centres. Those left adrift, outside the hallowed halls of learning, seek solace in self-destructive behaviours. Substance abuse and delinquency become their coping mechanisms, perpetuating a cycle of violence and despair.
This triggers a series of rivalries among the boys, and when blended with the early lessons learned at home, the situation can escalate beyond the control of law enforcement
A recent incident at Government Polytechnic College Bemina saw a 19-year-old hospitalized after an alleged stabbing. Similarly, in 2018, a clash at Kashmir University led to at least six students being injured, with three reportedly stabbed by a fellow student.
Amidst all these challenges, the Kashmiri youth grapple with an unconducive external environment. The heavy presence of security forces, a reminder of the region’s volatile past, contributes to their psychological distress.
In this atmosphere, devoid of constructive entertainment, they succumb to dark temptations, further entrenching themselves in a web of violence and self-destruction.
In this tragic narrative of youth violence in Kashmir, the responsibility rests on society’s shoulders. It demands introspection, empathy, and proactive measures. Only through concerted efforts, both within homes and in the broader community, can the cycle of violence be broken.
It is a collective duty to pave the way for a brighter, violence-free tomorrow, where the children of Kashmir can flourish, unburdened by the scars of the past.
- Views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the editorial stance of Kashmir Observer
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