Of pebbles and politics: Impressionable young minds in an escalating situation

Vaibhav Karajgikar

Following up on the conditions in Kashmir, there seems to be a reckless drive by authorities in both the Indian and Pakistani camps to engage in measures that put the most vulnerable sections of the population in the middle of a situation spiraling out of control and veering dangerously close to an all-out war between the two nuclear capable nations. The Indian Army claimed to carrying out surgical strikes across the border to locate and destroy terrorist camps (The New York Times; September 29,2016) that may have been planning to carry out further attacks like the one on the Indian Army camp at Uri which resulted in the death of 18  Indian soldiers on September 18,2016 (CNN.com; September 19,2016).

The fallout in terms of impact on education in the region is alarming to say the least. Families are being evacuated under the threat of violent confrontations (Rising Kashmir; September 30,2016).Students are being forced to relocate to areas with functioning schools. To add to the trouble, the capacity of such schools remains limited to enroll displaced students half way through the academic year (NDTV.com; September 24,2016). A letter to the editor (Rising Kashmir; September 30,2016) outlines the many issues faced by students in terms of the uncertainty and poor conditions to prepare for important examinations, the results of which dictate the future enrollment of students to a large extent. The State government’s outrageous directives to continue with conducting such examinations reflects on the ineptitude to understand the psychological damage and fear inflicted on children living in high pressure war-like conditions (Rising Kashmir; September 26,2016). It seems then that students are between a rock and a hard place, risking personal safety to follow through with examinations or losing out on an academic year, perhaps even more.  The very fact that government policies are forcing students to choose between such dire alternatives shows the willingness to forfeit the future of a generation as collateral damage.

From the other side of the border, Pakistani authorities are encouraging their youth to engage with Kashmiri youth on digital platforms and create an environment that encourages Kashmiri youth to partake in further protests and incite violence in a region that is dangerously unstable (Pakistan Observer; October 1, 2016). Such overt aggression that aims to involve the youth as a dispensable tool  to further political propaganda is a matter of grievous concern. With high unemployment and lack of access to education, such conditioning would only lead to violent clashes and the death of many young people in the cross fire between narrow ideologies that aim to keep the cycle of hatred going.

How do we save an entire generation from wasting away? The first answer that comes to mind seems to be the last concern for authorities.


  • Ellen Barry, Salman Sood, “India claims ‘surgical strikes’ across Line of Control in Kashmir”; The New York Times, September 29,2016; Retrieved October 1, 2016


  • Mukhtar Ahmad, Rich Phillips and Joshua Berlinger, “Soldiers killed in army base attack in Indian-administered Kashmir”; CNN.com, September 19,2016; Retrieved on October 1, 2016


  • “IndoPakTension: Thousands evacuated within six miles of de facto border”; Rising Kashmir, September 30,2016; Retrieved on October 1, 2016


  • Sheikh Zaffar Iqbal, “As Schools Remain Closed In Kashmir, Students Are Forced To Relocate”; NDTV.com, September 24,2016; Retrieved on October 1, 2016


  • Hamaad Habibullah’s Letter to Editor, “Students under pressure”; Rising Kashmir, September 30,2016; Retrieved on October 1, 2016


  • Suhail Mehraj’s Letter to Editor, “Suffering Education”; Rising Kashmir, September 26,2016; Retrieved on October 1, 2016


  • Webmaster, “Youth asked to establish digital connection with Kashmiris in IOK”; Pakistan Observer, October 1, 2016; Retrieved on October 1, 2016



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