UMAR FAROOQ VEERI
“There is no denying of this fact that the ongoing unrest in the long run will implicate upon the psychological & sociological makeshift of children in the valley who at this crucial juncture find the pro- sloganeerinag as only means of refreshging their souls & rejuvenating their thrist of freedom”
India and Pakistan have disputed ownership of the Kashmir Valley region for many years, resulting in high-handed exposure of violence among the larger populace of Kashmir. It was before the India’s partition into two separate nations that the Kashmir conflict related tensions escalated but post-partition was the start of a long history of dispute between India and Pakistan for controlling Kashmir for an exclusive interest and to satiate their greed, which today remains divided into three parts governed by three nations India, Pakistan and China. The war at times between these two nations has damaged the very fabric of the societal setup, not only its physical structure but also disrupted its entire social tissue, its environment and the normal routine of life for which people account several reasons. Kashmir has been witnessing a chronic socio-political unrest for the last 2½ decades now. The conflict has had an enormous impact on different aspects of Kashmir’s society. Indeed, there has been a colossal damage to the property and infrastructure, however, its impact can be felt nowhere more than on the mental health of the people of Kashmir. Deliberating upon the human sufferings, the conflict has not only left thousands dead and orphaned, unleashed and unmitigated violence on women and children, but the alarming increase in the psychiatric morbidity in general, is among the worst possible forms of suffering. A household survey done in some frontier areas of North Kashmir by Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada and Department of Clinical Psychology, Utrecht University Netherlands in 2008 published a report in “CONFLICT AND HEALTH JOURNAL” that the upsurging levels of violence confronted by the Kashmiri population have resulted in high prevalence ( nearly about 33%) of mental health problems. In another report published in 2013 states that Poor self-rated health and likelihood of poor socio-economic functioning were associated with high levels of psychological distress. For the last more than two decades now, Kashmir Valley has been the scene of conflict between Government forces and extremist & separatist factions who are at the crossroads with indian establishment to get Kashmiri’s out of this violent phase & disturbance through one means or other. This unrest and turmoil of decades have made inhabitants to see the brunt of historical attacks, mass disappearances, custodial killings, bomb attacks, shoot-outs, pressure from both sides have affected the daily lives of ordinary Kashmiris. Human rights abuses from government forces are reported in the form of arrests, extra-judicial killings, house to house searches, abductions and torture. Violent incidents could happen everywhere at any time and the risk of getting caught in the crossfire is always present. The ongoing violence, the constant threat and poor future perspective put a heavy strain on the natural coping mechanisms of the people in Kashmir. A lot of people suffer from stress (normal or related to traumatic event), high amount of psychosocial problems (substance abuse & distrust) are registered and disorders like anxiety, mood and post-traumatic disorders are mounting. Most of the mental pain is presented as physical (somatization). Mental health experts in the state’s summer capital, Srinagar are of the belief that there has been a staggering increase in the number of stress and trauma related cases in the Kashmir valley and these psychological problems have also given rise to general health problems like diabetes, cardiac problems and hypertension. Medecins San Frontiers (MSF), one of only two foreign aid agencies in Srinagar, is focused on managing this overwhelming problem. According to MSF representative Paul van Haperen, There is barely a family that has not been affected. There’s been tenfold rise in the past decade in the number of cases of trauma. Considering the daily traumas these people endure. it is not surprising that the state of Jammu and Kashmir, where the rebellion is raging, has one of the highest rates of suicide in India. Mental disorders in both men and women have shown an alarming increase when compared to pre-conflict days in 1989.
Children barely in the age group of 4-9, resort to social networking sites and express their emotional and psychological traumafications in the form of painted pictures, poems, cravings and blood stained pro-independence & pro freedom slogans. Small kids playing with each other are held with wooden toys in the makeshift of guns and ammunition, find internal sooth and pleasure in holding up these pseudo- armed tools in their non state of violence. They participate in ongoing protests and pro-freedom rallies making sure, there presence should being felt everywhere & elsewhere with utmost emotional sentiments. If not now & they seem to us in their normal state of psychological setup, but surely and certainly in the long run, a deep intruding change will implicate their psychological & sociological makeshift who at this crucial juncture find the pro- sloganeerinag as only means of refreshging their souls & rejuvenating their thrist of freedom”
Author is PG in Biotechnology with Gold Medal of Excellence, currently Working at CSIR IIIM Jammu as Research Scholar in the department of Toxicology & Pharmacology,