Silent Classrooms Of Kashmir

“Dear student due to the orders from police the tuition centre shall remain closed for a week.” This is an uncanny but usual message that I get from my tuition every other day. The reason apparently appears that I’m being considered a threat, my books are taken as bombs and my classroom an abode of rebels. For a moment I completely forget about myself being a student. These frequent messages not only setback the rhythm of my studies but also make me feel as if I am some terrorist carrying a Kalashnikov rifle in my bag marching towards a training centre where I’m taught how to use it. But how shall I prove that I carry nothing else except books in my bag and a hope in my heart? And if that’s a crime then let me say I’m a ‘criminal’.

I don’t know where my career stands right now. Perhaps in some police station withering in the corner of a dark cell. They may not have physically jailed my body. But my future they have jailed. There may not be an F.I.R against my name but there is against the existence of my books. My pen has not been snatched. Its ink has been sucked out. Let me write. But how shall I? Let those spider webs cast on the doors of my classroom define my rights!

Photo: Daily Mail

The time I should have been spending on my studies is being wasted on writing this stuff, which no one will perhaps even care to read. My future is being played with. Does anybody care? If the war is between armed rebels and military. Why are students being sandwiched in between?

They tell us to hold a pen in our hands and throw the guns down. But where shall we wander with this pen if our classrooms never remain open? Yes, there are incidents of stone peltings outside tuition centres very often. The police provide this as a reason to close tuition centres for as many days as they like. But they never provide any reason as to why this stone pelting happens? Why doesn’t it happen in Delhi? Why don’t students in some other States of India pelt stones at army and police outside tuition centres? There is some reason behind it. And whatever may be the reason, closing the doors of classrooms will never solve it.

The common victims of these frequent closure of tuitions are always poor people. The children of elite and bureaucrats are sunbathing in fancy educational institutions outside the state. And these politicians advocating such policies are the fathers and mothers of these very children.

These days the honourable education minister remains in much news for his dynamic student-friendly approach. I wonder where he is right now? Students outside Kashmir get 4 holidays in a month. And Kashmiri students have nearly just 4 working days a month! I wonder about the credibility of this very ‘Education Minister’ word. The honourable minister should not just behave like a ‘blue fish’. This matter is about the career of students. It’s the matter of Kashmir’s future. No one has a right to play with it for any reason.

If the children are continuously kept away from their education for one or the other reason the day is not far away when the dark spider webs spreading across the doors of closed classrooms right now will be ubiquitous everywhere and at every place in Kashmir. If these webs are not soon done away with, it will be impossible to escape from them in the near future. Let not those spider webs define the future of Kashmiri students. I fear the locks on classroom doors may soon give birth to lock breakers!

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