Watan Ki Sair
children’s odyssey of quest for knowledge and
the country's uniqueness
Mohammad Muneep, 11, living in far off
Kangan area of Kashmir is chirping non-stop this
days, telling his parents about his first-ever
trip outside the troubled state of Jammu and
Kashmir. A class 7th student, Muneep who made his
first visit outside the valley, away from the
bloodshed and exploding grenades in the troubled
Valley, has retained the exciting memories of his
He is among the group of 40 students of the
Kashmir valley who went to various parts of the
country on a trip – “Watan Ki Sair”- to
various parts of the country organized by the army
as part of its strategy to inculcate spirit of
nationalism among the youth.
The children of Kashmir valley having borne the
brunt of decade long terrorism and grown up in a
disturbed environment need an odyssey of quest for
knowledge and the country's uniqueness.
This was the fourth batch of the students of
the valley taken by the army on Watan Ki Sair, a
unique plan aimed at exposing the children of the
remote areas to the diversity of the country's
culture and regions.
Under the project, 40 young children of North
Kashmir were taken on a fortnight's trip to
see,amongst others,the historical and contemporary
sites of the Red Fort, Qutab Minar, Bangla Sahib
Gurdwara, Rashtrapati Bhavan, Teen Murti Bhavan,
Jamia Masjid, Nehru Planetarium, Lotus temple,
Birla Mandir etc. At Agra they witnessed the
pristine beauty of the Taj Mahal, a monument of
universal love and Fatehpur Sikri and in Jaipur
they visited the glorious Hawa Mahal, Jaipur
Palace and Jantar Mantar.
Major Manveet Singh, the accompanying army
officer said that while taking off from the
valley, the students were somehow shy who later
forged friendship and were seen quite interactive.
'After returning from Watan Ki Sair, these
children seem to be enriched by their experience
and the wider horizon will help them to act as
ambassadors of goodwill, peace and harmony in the
valley', he felt.
Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed who had an
half-long long interaction with the students over
tea,shared their experience of the tour and
impressions about the places like Jaipur, Agra
particularly, Taj Mahal, Agra Fort etc. This was a
maiden trip for most of them outside the valley.
The Mufti also called for greater interaction
among the youth of different states, saying that
this is imperative for their exposure on a wider
“We are encouraging package tours to various
parts of the state, particularly to the valley.
Besides, the army should arrange similar tours of
the students from outside the state to the valley
so that they can see Kashmir and get acquainted
with its cultural heritage,” said the chief
minister emphasizing the need for participation of
students in the current winter sports especially
skiing in Gulmarg.
While enquiring from the students about the
places they visited, the Chief Minister wished the
organizers having arranged their visit to
Parliament House also. In future, he asked the
organizers to maintain liaison with the state's
Resident Commissioner in the union capital for
arranging such visits.
While Muneep liked Delhi Zoo the most, Nighat,
5th class student of Shariefabad and Meenakshi
Pandita, 7th class student of the army school in
the same area were happy on having spent over a
fortnight together. 'We dined, chatted and visited
the places together', they said while narrating
their experience of journey in train and visiting
big cities. They too liked Delhi the most.
However, the pink city of Jaipur fascinated
Nusrat Amin of Duabgah who also was thrilled to
see Taj Mahal, Fatehpur Sikri and Jamia Masjid.Of
the 40 students, only three had earlier visited
Jammu and others remained confined to the valley
till December 15, the day when they embarked upon
the tour- six days in Delhi, three days in Agra
and four days in Jaipur among other places.
'We had left the valley as strangers and
returned as friends, very good friends', most of
them said, wishing the children of the other parts
of the country too to see and interact with them
in the valley.