MOTHER DAY SPECIAL
Dr. Simrit Kahlon
Mother’s Day is being celebrated on May, 10, with great enthusiasm despite the lock down restrictions. Messages extolling mothers are flowing on social media; each family has a special programme in place to honour mothers. The love and honour that is being showered on motherhood is well justified since a family can be only as good as the mother of the house; it is she who instills the right values in the children and steers them in the right direction.
Kashmir has a chequered history of foreign conquest and social turmoil. Through all such difficult times the mothers of Kashmir have acquitted their responsibility with exemplary resilience and courage. They have made supreme sacrifices during long periods of violent disorder and successfully overcome insurmountable challenges to keep their families intact, safe and morally righteous.
The cult of terrorism, disruption and divisiveness that Kashmir is facing may well be the most formidable challenge for the Kashmiri mothers so far. It is all the more ominous due to the involvement of a determined foreign inimical power ready to go to any immoral and evil extent to gain control of the region. In his evil designs, the enemy finds support from such locals who are ready to sell their soul and their people for money and political power. The enemy has found in the youth of the region a lucrative target in furthering his evil agenda.
It cannot be denied that the Kashmiri youth, especially teenage boys, have lived under continuous shadow of the gun. A disrupted education and an uncertain future has had a negative impact on their young minds. It has instilled in them a sense of insecurity and victimhood, giving rise to negative emotions of frustration and anger.
Happily, the scenario is changing, Kashmir today is standing on the cusp of unprecedented progress and development triggered by the recent political change. Now, people have complete freedom to chart out their destiny in the manner that they consider best. The entire Nation is standing firmly in support of their fellow citizens of Kashmir.
It is time for the people of Kashmir to introspect, to look at reality in the face and to be honest with themselves. It does not serve any purpose to remain emotionally suppressed. Problems like lack of economic opportunities, unemployment and bad infrastructure are not specific to Kashmir alone. They are prevalent in other parts of the country and the world. The idea is to work consistently towards removing these road blocks and also evolving despite them.
We have many examples of Kashmiri youth excelling in competitive exams and other fields like sports. Their laudable achievements are directly contributing to the betterment of Kashmiri society as they serve as a source of inspiration for others. They have made their families and especially their mothers proud. In every society the energy of young blood has to be diverted towards gainful purposes, in Kashmir, this is literally an existential need.
It challenges that Kashmir faces today can be overcome by involvement of the mothers. They need to shoulder the huge responsibility of saving their wards from inimical and evil designs of the enemy and also guide them towards gainful activities. It is only they who can break the lure of self destructive activities like stone pelting and ultimate graduation to becoming terrorists. They can guide the youth towards the path of honest hard work to achieve prosperity and stature.
The women of the state have every reason to feel empowered and confident now that the shackles that were constraining them stand removed through the latest political developments in the region. They now have full-fledged rights to land and property in the state which was earlier denied to them. Women can now take full advantage of central schemes like Rashtriya Mahila Kosh (RMK), Support to Trainees and Employment Programme (STEP), Swayam Sidha Women Empowerment Programme (SWEP) etc. Benefit and empowerment for women is also bound to flow from the flagship central schemes like Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao; Sakhi, Nirbhaya and others.
Such initiatives will strengthen the hands of the mothers and also ensure that the mothers of tomorrow are more integrated and productive members of society. Kashmiri mothers need to take full benefit from the opportunity that has come their way and leverage the same to carve out a progressive society for themselves and their families.
The scope of the challenge is so huge that mothers cannot be expected to face it alone. They require the support of the Kashmiri civil society as a whole. It is here that leaders, elders, intellectuals, religious teachers’ et al have a big role to play in support of the mothers.
While mothers exercise the most essential element of soft power, it is the elders who will have to articulate the negative impact of the foreign sponsored terrorism and impress the same upon the younger generation. Hence the need for a news, dynamic, selfless, nationalist, motivated leadership that can work hand in hand with the mothers.
It is also time for the youth to realise that it is the mother who is the most distressed and shattered when her son meets an untimely and avoidable end in a gunfight with security forces. Any act of a son that brings tears in the eyes of the mother and breaks her heart is a sin, a sign of ingratitude towards one who has sacrificed her everything to ensure that he lives a long and happy life.
Mothers are the pillars of strength in all societies, if they take a lead others have no option but to follow. History is replete with instances of women having changed to course of society and the same can happen in Kashmir too. It is hoped that on Mother’s Day, the great women of the great land of Kashmir will pledge to save their children from the curse of mindless violence and will, once again, emerge victorious.
(Dr. Simrit Kahlon is a noted academician and social activist)