A teenager pens her concerns about religious plurality, reservations and our obsession with tuition centres

By Tamana Ajaz

Coming from a place where sometimes people are even afraid to step out of their homes, I share the fears and concerns of common Kashmiri.

As a 15-year-old girl, I want to share my feelings about the things that trouble me from inside. I want my valley to know:

Firstly, Kashmir is not just for Muslims. It is a land where people of different religions live. By different religions, I strictly mean every religion. The other day I heard that it has come to some Imam’s notice that FM radios are playing vulgar songs and they have requested that every day one-hour khutbah should be broadcast. I have a question my best friend is a Sikh and she is purely a Kashmiri. She is more patriotic towards Kashmir than me. If one-hour khutbah would be broadcast then one-hour sermon from every religion is a must.

My second point mainly focuses on the privilege which has been granted to people of SC and ST. We all are pretty familiar with these terms, where a well-deserving child loses by one or two points while another child qualifies having four, fourteen or even forty points less because of this privilege. I donʼt stand against ST or SC. I stand against the fact that there are people who are well off now and they still get such privilege. Nothing can be more unfair than this. There are people from ST and SC who are at par or wealthier and are still enjoying such privilege. At the same time, there are so-called people from “high caste” who are ruling as monarchs. They have corrupted the district officials and are ruling like hounds.

Thirdly, the most important one. Nowadays tuition centres flourish more than schools and despite the efforts of the Education Department to stop the huge expansion it still continues. I go for tuitions too where it costs my parents quite a lot. To be honest I really didn’t want to go for tutorials but this trend of sending kids to tuition centres has flourished. The village kids leave their homes and study in cities and towns in order to get a quality education. Wouldn’t it have been better if the Education Department would have looked after government schools running in the valley?

Government schools have reached such a level that it has become the trend to opt for good tutorials and the attendance in the schools can be managed by good relations with the principal of the school. I find it totally futile to talk about NEET and JEE. Kids these days are pressurized to study medical or non-medical. They are left with no other options. My results are yet to come and I have opted for Medical not because of pressure but out of my own wish. I am not looking forward to become a doctor. I want to become an administrative officer so that I would put in action what I have shared here in writing. I am requesting all the parents to stop pressuring their kids to opt for medical or non-medical. The world is beyond such two terms. There is more to discover and more to learn.

 We should make this world a better place to live. We were all born free. Why bind ourselves in chains?



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