Nayeem Showkat Khan
Unemployment has been a constant threat to the Kashmiri society and is increasing at a fast pace. But the government has not taken any solid initiative yet to tackle the problem, which is why many of the youth are falling prey to mental depression. And the examples are many…
Aasif shah, a friend of mine, was the least worried about his life, being employed. But when last week we met, it was after a gap of three years and long after we had finished out bachelor’s degree. I was surprised.
The lively and always cheerful person I knew as a friend was gone.
Aasif was never bothered about his future, not a bit. Why are you tensed up, he would ask me. “Just wait to complete your grads and we’ll surely get a job.” But I would always share my worries about government jobs not being an easy affair here in Kashmir. He wouldn’t pay heed. “Study.” And that was the only thing he did.
But one never knows what turn life takes, and how. The same happened with my friend. At our meeting, when i approached Aasif and slowly patted him on the shoulder, I knew he was a changed man. Forever. Somehow he was not happy to meet me, his best friend.
At first I thought that a change in behaviour was natural with human beings. I also offered him a cup of tea which he readily accepted. I again realised that the colour his face had was missing. So I did not rest but pestered him with questions about what had happened to him, what disturbed his carefree life.
Finally, he opened up. “Nayeem, mai ab zindagi say thak chuka hun (I am tired of my life now),” he replied, his eyes moistened with tears. I didn’t know why, but the moment he said that I missed a breath. Then he would tell me how after college he struggled for a job, but was still unemployed. He couldn’t leave home to move outside the valley seeking a job because his mother and younger brother, his only family, wouldn’t let him to.
How he told me that he felt depressed about not earning for them created a scene of his life, colourless, filled with pain of being a failure.
After a while he left. I recalled some of the moments he and I shared at college. I compared it with now.
At that time one thing that really struck my mind was our government. Omar’s manifesto before we elected him the Chief Minister.
These politicians would always promise jobs to one lakh, two lakh people before the elections. Now they sit in cosy rooms, enjoying their luxuries, while the common, lesser mortals are a forgotten lot.
The youth, hundreds of thousands like Aasif, are the worst sufferers of mistrust by the government.
I am writing this article because I want you to decide your future, find out the best way to tackle this problem. What is the alternative for us? We can’t demand from government as they seem to be taking us lightly. And if we come on the streets, we will receive a gift, a bullet.
Some time back our chief minister Omar Abdullah said that he himself has worked as a stringer in a company. May be you are right but i don’t think you worked in any company for money .You can continuously work as a stringer for your whole life and i don’t think you need to earn money in order to survive because you are son of a former chief minister of the state and currently an MP, Farooq Abdullah and grandson of Sheikh Abdullah.
Your ancestors have earned enough for your seven generations.
But have you ever thought that some people here manage their bread and all basic necessities in only Rs. 2000 or 3000 a month. What about those who have lost the charm of their life due to unemployment.
This is a big question. My friend Aasif is a big question for you. And you can’t help yourself but answer.
(The author is a student of Journalism, Islamic University of Science and Technology)