Kashmiri Youth Venture Out To Shape Their Destinies

Kashmiri Youth Venture Out To Shape Their Destinies

17 December 2011
The Hindu
K. Balchand

Srinagar: Even as the night dew crystallises to ice, the ice is obviously melting in the Valley. The youth are feeling the winds of change sweeping the State. Young women are now set to cross the borders of the State for the first time to shape their destiny which, in turn, will usher in a turnaround in the State's sparkle. It underlines the changing perception of their parents and neighbourhood in accepting that the time had come to march with changing times. On Saturday, Union Minister of Rural Development Jairam Ramesh and Chief Minister Omar Abdullah gave away appointment letters to 1059 youth of the State under the Centrally-sponsored Himayat project, which aims to provide employment after imparting free skill development training to one lakh school dropouts to break the vicious circle of poverty. At least a dozen of them are young woman who, along with their families, are breaking old social constrictions. They, along with young men, are willing to go out to make an earning quite different from their parents, be on their own, and also shape the destiny of their brothers and sisters. Some are charting the new course willingly, while others blame the government for its failure to provide them with a job in a State where the government is the prime employer, with 2.5 lakh people on its rolls, and not in a position to overreach into its purse already burdened with a wages bill of Rs. 14,500 crore against an internal revenue of Rs. 4,500 crore annually. Nargis is happy that her daughter Abeeda was getting a job. But Ghulam Nabi Anghar, a carpenter from Dadungpur, Badgam, who has two daughters and three sons, openly stated that he was forced to send his son Md. Nawaz Anghar out of the State to earn. He told the Chief Minister that Finance Minister Abdul Rahim Rather was responsible for his plight as all the attempts to procure a job for his son, who would now be travelling to Chandigarh, failed. “I got tired running to him. Do what [job] here when the land has nothing to offer. I'm forced to send my son,” he says. Kajinder Kaur of Kungarh village of Anantnag, who is undergoing training at the centre operated by ILFS, said financial problems compelled her to share the family burden with her father who worked as a driver. “I will be doing something and build my life and take care of my younger brother.” She told The Hindu that her parents approved of her decision as education had changed the situation. People are now broadminded, she says. Maroja Hassan, who hails from Amargarh, Baramulla, too will be travelling to Chandigarh for a job with KFC. She said her parents were happy that she would be independent. Her father works as labour and she being the eldest wants to support him and help her younger brother in pursuing his studies. Young men like Junaid Rashid Bhat from Bijbeezaru, Anantnag, the eldest son of a shopkeeper, says his migration was a sacrifice for the betterment of his young brother and sister. “Here [Kashmir] it is a dream to get a job. A job here is not possible.” It is perhaps for the first time after two decades that young people who have not studied up to the graduation level will be moving out to work across the country, though for the time being they have been placed in Punjab and Haryana. They have been imparted training in their area of domain, mostly retail and sales marketing, English, different attitude skills and IT literacy. It will now be a question of adaptation, as they step out into their new world on Monday. However, there is a fear of people looking at them with suspicion in other parts of the country. Cautioning the youth, Mr. Abdullah said it was not an easy decision to go out of the State. “I'm anxious and so are your parents.” He, however, assured them that he had asked his counterparts not to see Kashmiris with suspicion. Mr. Abdullah told them of their responsibilities and said all eyes and hopes were on them.


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