Of Kashmir & Social Problems confronting it
The social revolution has been slow in our country. We have been exempted, not because we have solved the problems, but because we had not yet confronted them. The beautiful Valley of Kashmir is encircled with various social problems whether it is lack of education, unemployment, drug addiction, poverty and militancy. Kashmir has it all. The reasons for all these social problems are various but one of the main problems is political, as one knows “in our independent country there is no longer any line of demarcation between social and political problems. The solution of one depends on how well we understand the other and the extent to which we succeed in doing both”.
Kashmir is a political problem itself, the number of books, articles and various documents written and published about the political problem of Kashmir can fill an entire library! But painfully neither the political problems nor the social problems are getting solved in Kashmir. The people of Kashmir are being deprived of basic necessities of life: their fundamental rights are at stake .They live with fear every day and every night. The social problems are not letting Kashmir to develop. In an era of education, where each state is focusing on education of child, Kashmir is being deprived of education, it’s the biggest social problem in this state and one can say the main reason for various social problems arising thereby. No social problem is as universal as oppression of the child. Main contributories to lessening of attainment of quantity of education include destruction of infrastructure, fear of sending children to schools, recruitment of youth into armed groups, negative economic shocks to households and forced displacement. Every now and then there is shutdown in Kashmir which prevents children from going to schools. In 2016 Jammu and Kashmir suffered loss of Rs 16,000 crores owing to shut downs and uprisings. A report of 2016 (education and unrest in Kashmir) found that 37.5 percent children want to leave Kashmir during the unrest and 12.3 percent migrated in real. In 2016 schools remained closed for approximately five months and as many as 31 schools were damaged in the conflict therefore academic session for 2016 got badly hit to the extent causing irreversible loss to students.
However later on when things panned out well, exams were conducted in the state for class 10th and 12th. Around 99% students appeared in the 10th examination and 95% in 12th examination despite the fact that 31 schools had been gutted. This report reflects that student in J&K are keen to study but the conflict is not giving them opportunity. The other problem in education sector in Kashmir is when it comes to provide quality education, it is very important that the staff should be trained and should possess well qualified degrees. But for Jammu and Kashmir only 40% of faculties in primary schools are trained teachers, in upper primary it’s only 48%, for secondary schools 54% teachers are qualified and 59% in higher secondary schools. By victimizing the education sector, we are also victimizing the future generation in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Economic survey of Jammu and Kashmir, 2016 reveals that due to shutdown, schools were shut for around five months causing immense loss of study to students of J&K. Another problem in Kashmir is unemployment which leads to poverty and various other problems. One can say that unemployment is bigger than a political party. It is a national danger and a national scandal. As one knows hunger is not the worst outcome of unemployment; idleness is, so unemployment makes people of Kashmir to follow wrong path as one human being cannot remain idle for long so they find other ways to be free from idleness. Thousands of youngsters in J&K are idling away without jobs despite having a string of degrees; in a recent survey, the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) in collaboration with the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) found that Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) has the highest unemployment rate of 12.13 per cent. Youth in the Valley maintain that the condition of unresolved conflict is the reason behind the unemployment, corruption. According to the fifth annual employment-unemployment survey at all-India level, about 77 per cent of the households were reported to be having no regular wage/salaried person. It said the unemployment rate was estimated to be 13.2 per cent at all-India level under the UPS (Usual Principal Status) approach. Unemployment rate was 4.9 per cent in 2013-14, 4.7 per cent (2012-13), 3.8 per cent (2011-12) and 9.3 per cent (2009-10). Labor Bureau did not bring out any such report for 2014-15. Unemployment leads to late marriage. The rising rate of unemployment in Jammu and Kashmir is one of the main reasons for late marriages. Unemployment is directly linked with poverty- one who is unemployed faces a lot of different problems. In response to this, he/she indulges in various illegal activities which are against what Emile Durkheim called the ‘’collective consciousness ‘’.
The problem of unemployment is continuously ruining the future of Jammu & Kashmiri youth. Unfortunately, despite being the greatest vice, the suicide rate has increased alarmingly over the past few years in the Kashmir Valley and many see growing unemployment behind it .Some decades back, Kashmir was among few places across the world with very low suicide rates. But over the past two decades the graph of suicides has run north in J&K. Unemployment is what the famous sociologist Emile Durkheim called pathology. The lack of education and unemployment makes the people of Kashmir to be a victim of drug addiction and involve them in other crimes. “Drug addiction reduces a man to a mindless and ridiculous thing, and creates social parasites and criminals. The drug addicts themselves do not know what they are doing. Naqshbandi in his paper “drug addiction and youth of Kashmir” interviewed 270 young Kashmiri people between the age group of 16-30 in different districts of Kashmir. His findings revealed that conflict and unemployment were the mains reasons of drug addiction among the youth. Several studies had shown that 80% of drug addicts get this addiction before the age of 30 years. Another study conducted with related to awareness of drug addiction among college students in Kashmir valley shows that majority of students believe that people started to take drugs in the age group of 20-30. The study further revealed that smoking often acts as a door way to drugs or at least a starting point. This study conducted by Bhat et al. further revealed that above 90% don’t have any awareness regarding the drug de addiction process and only 8% know about the drug de addiction center in Srinagar, Kashmir. The common substance used by drug addicts in Kashmir are cannabis, brown sugar, heroine, SP tablets, Anxit, Alprax, Inhalants like fevicol, SR solution, thinner, shoe polish, paint varnish and dirty socks. The alarming rate of this menace in Kashmir leads the academicians and experts to comment that “We have lost one generation to bullets and we may lose another generation to drugs”. The need of the hour is to work on social problems of the state as future of the children is at stake. The government should work upon providing them with quality education. For proficiency and efficiency, the up-gradation of available facilities and equipment used in teaching and learning in technical/craft institutes, is a must. Meaningful job avenues should be created so that bane of unemployment does not spoil us. A large amount of the literature suggests that enhancing a victim’s social support and inculcate in him or her some positive behaviors can help him get rid of this menace. Drug addicts often feel isolated and sense of alienation, so providing them certain kind of social and moral support help them and make them more empowered to get over this problem. We can see that all social problems are interconnected with each other so if one is solved others will be solved easily. Even though we have given a contingency plan with which we think this issue could slowly be eradicated, the road ahead is stormy. Awareness programs with change in government policies and free education is must to get rid of these social issues that still exists in our society today.
What we must keep in mind is “Nothing is impossible.” If we join our hands together there can be an end to this deep rooted evil. The only thing is it takes time. A little progress everyday leads to a big result one day …may be tomorrow!