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What Ails Our Youth?

(The article has been published in “KOSHUR SAMACHAR, Delhi” in its August 2005 issue with some minor changes)

That our youth are displaying admirable qualities of head and hand in every field, wherever they are, is a matter for great pride. Their sprinkling presence on the highest positions of the corporate world throughout the globe is not a small achievement and definitely an occasion to rejoice. But the million dollar question is whether they are able to nourish in them any of the choicest traits of our KP personality, not essentially in their daily routines of eating, dressing, language habits but in their mental capacities that would get them an upright life, peaceful existence and contentment, to crown all. Many of our youth would be interested to know that the secret of our glorious past was the strict observation of certain essential elements of our rich cultural heritage spiritually transmitted from one generation to another without any deviation whatsoever.

The most tragic phenomenon that the community is facing currently is that our youth are distancing from their roots, e.g. their cultural interaction with parents and grandparents, elders, neighbours and various cultural and religious festivals while they keep busy in the pursuit of their professional excellence and material advancement right from the day they are out of school. As a result our boys and girls are adopting a hostel culture highly susceptible to the modern western influences in place of Indian traditional values, not to speak of what is peculiar to KP lifestyle.

The most cogent impact on the preservation of KP culture was the observance of certain day to day routine adopted by KP family comprising of the people of all ages. The prime influence started with the wearing of the sacred thread (YAGNYOPAVIT) at a tender age (9-12) by boys at a grand ceremonial YAGNA (HAVAN) which continued at least for two days attended by all relatives, neighbours and friends. The main purpose of the ceremony was the formal entry of the child into observing certain essential codes of conduct according to Hindu scriptures in day to day life. The first and foremost was putting in the habit of offering regular morning and evening prayers with the formal recital of GAYTRI MANTRA (JAPA) every morning invariably along with washing of the sacred thread (YAGNYOPAVIT) in fresh water before doing anything else or eating something. It had to be a lifelong routine and had thus a strong impact on the person wearing it as the sacred thread was worn invariably every time which proved to be a permanent accompanying deity with enormous spiritual powers to ward off all misfortunes and sudden mishaps. Unfortunately the modern KP youth are ignoring the sanctity of this essential accompaniment, as most of them are unaware of the great spiritual power that the GAYATRI MANTRA and other SIDH MANTRAS possess. The fault does not lie with our erring youth but especially with their parents and other elders in the family who ignore fulfilling this prime responsibility while grooming their children for their successful future. Generally now most KP parents delay this most important ceremony in respect of their sons and perform it very late just to complete a formality such that its very purpose is lost.

KP culture is enormously rich in terms of an established religious and social order with sound foundations laid and enriched from time to time by great RISHIS and SAINTS of the highest order for thousands of years. The uniqueness of the order thus established has been a source of great pride not only for the Kashmir Hindus but for the masses of the rest of India who treated Kashmir Hindu way of life a prime example in the field of religious and spiritual excellence. Thus the KP is the sole heir to this rich heritage inherited by them directly from their forefathers developed through a long history of TAPASYA and SADHANA of numerous RISHIS of the highest order. With the total displacement of KPs from the land of their origin during 1990 this rich heritage has been at severe peril because of the most unfavourable circumstances they are forced to live in. A lot of damage has been done and much more is expected if things are not taken care of and set right. Unfortunately the worst victims of the damage are our youth, our future hopes, who are suffering for want of a sound cultural foundation which is essential for their healthy development. The reason, as already said, is that they are detaching from the mainstream of our cultural background. 

To me, this is the main reason for the deterioration of moral attitudes in our community resulting in the loss of mental peace among our people and also the rash decisions taken by our youth in the selection of their matrimonial partners. The bitter relationship in our families along with a strange escapist attitude from various household responsibilities in our youth is another horrible development cropping up. There seems nobody to stop this all and nothing is coming in sight that has the capacity to rectify the damage because our youth are scattered, rudderless, a soulless lot rubbing shoulders with those who also seem no better on face but on looking deeper there is surely an aura of peace seen around them as they have their roots fixed somewhere.

This is no doubt, a casualty which our high-heeled youth are facing the world over that they are tense mentally, frustrated to the core and hence unable to find any mental peace. Consequently many of them resort to many evil ways and drugs though financially very sound. Though it is a general menace and our youth in this category cannot be an exception but the fact that I want to bring home to the reader is that our KP culture has been particularly imbibed with certain essential traits inherited by us from our forefathers, who were great masters and capable to see very deep into the future, have laid down certain canons for day to day activities for a well-knit family and social fabric of our society which was and can even now be capable of disciplining the mental faculties of an individual starting from early childhood. There were as such no chances of being a victim of or being a prey to the adverse social impacts of whatever severity they were.

The year 1990 and the aftermath got in store such strange influences for us that everything shattered to the root that belonged to this community in Kashmir. How many among us are capable of reciting regularly the prayers and hymns like THE BHAWANI SAHASTRANAM, SHIVA MAHIMNASTOTRA, and SHALOKAS OF PANCHASTAVI which belonged exclusively to Kashmiri Pandits. The importance of morning SANDYA and other evening prayers are now almost Greek to most of us. The celestial beauty of these STOTRAS have enormous powers invested in them, capable of relieving the believer from all troubles and hence a source of immense peace and tranquility.

The circumstances that prevail do not seem to guarantee any prospect of our return to the valley in near future so there is an urgent need to save our future generation from further damage caused by their detachment from our parental legacy that made us keep our heads high among the people of India and the rest of the world. The protagonists of the preservation of KP culture seem sleeping over the pitiable condition of our youth suffering for want of succor showing appalling behaviour, though alert mentally and sound educationally.

JAWAHAR LAL BHAT

B-3, ASHIANA Apartments,

SECTOR-46, FARIDABAD, HARYANA

CONTACT NO: 0129-4096114

Kashmiri Writers J.L. Bhat
  

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