ashmir is one of the longest surviving river civilizations after Benaras (Varanasi). On the banks of Vitasta (Jhelum) many philosophers and scholars have given world some of the finest works and thoughts. We had our Pratyabhijna school of thought and a huge university at Vicharnag (Modern day Nowshehar) in Srinagar. Kashmir was considered a land of high learning and a paradise for scholars.
Alas the same land now has a school and college curriculum where reading habit is not encouraged and students are forced to learn in a blinkered stream of thought. Amazingly Kashmir is one of the rarest of the rare places on earth where the native history of land is not taught at the school level. Our kids have no idea who Laitadatiya was? Or just fancy asking them about Ghani Kashmir? Or for that matter Sultan Zainul Abiddin?
Why and for what end are our children kept away from our history is a million dollar question. Where else does it happen on God’s green earth? Ever wondered by us? Come to literature, except for a few missionary school going children are kept away from reading literature as it is considered a waste of time. What harm is there in teaching our children the works of George Orwell, RK Narayan and HG Wells in School time. Why no urge to teach our children to read for enjoyment also? Why not promote reading culture in children who are the future of the nation?
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All this seems a big design to keep our children from developing critical thinking. Big powers seem to be at work to discourage our children from reading works of literature. It is amazing that all this is happening in a land considered to be the highest seat of learning during Buddhist, Hindu and Muslim rule.
Let us come together to develop the reading habits in our youth so that at an early stage they can develop the ability to think critically. We need doctors, engineers and bureaucrats with an emotional quotient and empathy for the society-all of which can spawn at an early stage if they are exposed to quality literature at an early age.