Day out for conflict children
SRINAGAR, July 7: Faraz Younis never held a pencil in his hands, but passionately grips a painting brush today. He has never been to school, does not know how to read and write yet he is all set to express his dream of future Kashmir through colours.
Six year old Faraz Younis handicapped by nervous breakdown, sits on a colored wheel chair amid the crowd of children at Nigeen Club. Silent, he looks around, smiles and begins to draw lines on a clean sheet; his first drawing ever.
Faraz is a part of writing and art competition organized by Saariy Samav Aksey Razi Lamav (SSARL) group at Nigeen Club today. ‘My Dream for a Better Future in Kashmir,’ was the theme of the competition attended by about 300 students from different educational institutions.
After some lighter moments of laughter and jokes, students-from class 2nd -class 10th, occupied the compound of Nigeen club. The young enthusiast students sitting on the banks of Nigeen, under the shades of Chinar expressed their dream of future Kashmir through pen and paint.
Looking at the sketches of the young minds; drawings of mountains, lakes, trees and chinar are most common. Preservation of environment, pollution free atmosphere is a dream which many little ones dream for Kashmir.
“I want Kashmir to look good,” said Israr, a wispy, round faced boy of class 5th.
Drawing of an arrow cutting through a leave dripping with blood has taken all of Asim’s attention while he is unable to decide on the proper use of colours.
“I am wondering which green I should use. My drawing shows cutting of trees will leave Kashmir wounded,” Asim, student of class 7th said with a coy smile.
However, impact of conflict on the young minds is also depicted through paintings. Three female friends sitting under Chinar have same dream for Kashmir-peace and development.
“We want end to violence, killings. We want youth to educate themselves for our better future. We dream of peaceful Kashmir,” said Tanzeela, class 9th student.
Cuttings from newspapers depicting stone pelting, arson, killing and dog menace fill the drawing sheet of Mehvish. At the center of all the pasted pictures, she draws round figure, reading, ‘peace a distant dream’ in Kashmir.’
“This shows all these situations have made peace a distant dream in Kashmir.”
The writers too were equally expressive about their dream of pollution free Kashmir and peaceful Valley. “We want happy and beautiful Kashmir, was the reaction from most of the writers in the writing competition.”
Class 4th student, Mehraan sits quiet, holding a pencil and staring at a black white sheet. When asked about his drawing he says, “I do not what I want to draw.”
Inaam, filling the colours in his sketch of a house, fails to explain what it is meant to mean.
SSARL is a group of people sharing goal of bringing together all Kashmiris for the purposes of friendship and mutual understanding, reads the press handout of the group. Started as a small virtual group on face book, it has grown to more than 1500 members from all communities. The event was participated by students from 25 schools.
“We have held many interactions within our membership but we wanted to do something practical particularly for children of Kashmir who have suffered the most during the past 20 years,” said Vivek Raina, one of the three founder of SSARL group.
“We wanted to help children express their views openly and freely which is why we organized this event.”
Sanjay Tiku, a member of the group said that schools from old city were mostly approached for the competition. The competition did not include any elite private school.
“In old city, people have suffered most during past few years. We wanted to see what they think,” said Sanjay adding “Orphans from Tral were also part of the event.”
“Children are our future. We need to give them space and make them feel that we care. We had asked school authorities not to send children trained for competition so that they can be themselves,” added Sanjay.
Panel of judges for the competition consisted of Kashmiri writers, educationists and artists. Three best prizes were given for essays and art work. Certification of participation was given to all.
“It was a fun day today. We really enjoyed the event,” said Mudasir, a participant.
“I have participated in such competition for the first time. It is really enjoyable,” adds Adil, a student.