Initiative to help Kashmiris to express themselves

Initiative to help Kashmiris to express themselves

Initiative to help Kashmiris to express themselves
As  turbulent 2016 was coming to an end and many in the country were discussing why young boys in restive Kashmir get attracted to violence, this young and dynamic lecturer at Kashmir University (KU) thought of providing a platform to her students where they could contribute towards ending hatred and bringing people closer to career prospects in creativity.

And after a lot of brainstorming sessions, Farzana Gulzar, who teaches management at Kashmir University,  got to know about P2P, an annual programme conducted by EdVenture Partners and sponsored by Facebook, a medium that could help realise her dreams.

After partnering with the P2P organisers, the next challenge for Farzana was to get the approval for running the programme from the university authorities.  Finally, after getting the requisite approval, she and her team are ready to launch the novel idea in restive Kashmir.

“The P2P, a global programme, aims to get rid of hatred primarily amongst the Internet using populace, through social awareness scattered across the world. Facebook, through P2P, funds various colleges and universities to design and conduct unique campaigns to aid the aim of obliterating hatred across the world. This season our university will also participate in the global challenge,” she told DH as she sat on the sprawling lawns of the KU.

Her team comprises five boys and two girls. “As an individual I always wanted to contribute in breaking the glass ceiling for women and provide them a platform to vent their agonies against discrimination. This programme surely will pave the way for achieving my goals. My priority, as a teacher, has been to ensure right learning environment for stimulating creativity and this prompted me to intimate this project,” she said.

Farzana, who was the first girl from Kashmir to clear National Eligibility Test (NET) in management studies way back in 2005, is also a visiting faculty at Institute of Management, Public Administration, where she teaches management skills to civil servant trainees.

Aspirations and objectives
Asked how the idea of P2P came to her mind, she said, “Youth have various aspirations and objectives which they want to fulfill in their life. In fact, there is no dearth of talent in Kashmir, but youth in Kashmir have lesser opportunities to express themselves compared to their counterparts in other states. Through this initiative I want Kashmir youth to express themselves.”

The team, led by Farzana, has taken up this challenge to work on the principles of “creativity, love and peace to unite people across the world and create the spirit of oneness.”

She said, “Since, the aim of this project is to unite people in social harmony and promote oneness of people, irrespective of their colour, race or faith, it was imperative that a name signifying all the aims of this project was to be given. This made the team settle with the name ‘OneWorld’ unanimously,” says Sehal Masood, one of the team members.

“OneWorld aims to spread love by changing minds and enhancing creativity. The tagline that was framed “Let There be Love” speaks for itself and describes what the team stands for in four simple words,” he said.

“Kashmiri youth are talented and capable of channelising it to turn their place into a real knowledge hub, but the experiences of the past 27 years of conflict have limited the opportunities,” he added.

For another team member Aiman Fayaz, a young researcher, working for a social cause was always her priority. “I feel privileged to be a part of P2P Global Digital challenge which intends to bring in social change by promoting harmony amongst people.”

Aiman believes in love and she says it has the power of creating an emotional union and binding hearts together.  “There are barriers between different communities and there is hatred. Obviously when people come together they will have a common thinking and there will be no barriers of hatered. So, let love unite us globally and bring us all together so as to be a part of OneWorld,” she says.

Asked how the P2P initiative could work in restive Kashmir, she said, “Yes I agree it is a tough job, but unless we take any initiative, how would things improve.”

Target audience
Social media-savvy populace is the prime target of the team which besides Farzana, Sehal and Aiman, comprises Samiya Gul, Haseeb Kawoosa, Zuhaib Beigh, Yafer Nazir and Mir Ummar. They have identified youth as its target audience and also divided the campaign into a series of four different events, each covering a different theme, a different set of audience with a different approach.

The first event covers indiscrimination against any particular gender. Stories are collected from various sources, mostly from educational institutions including Kashmir University. A documentary based on these stories would be screened.

“OneWorld believes that children are most susceptible to adverse conditioning, yet their innocence makes their expression pure. Art workshops held across the Valley in private and public schools will inspire students to think and decide for themselves what hatred does to ones intellect,” the organisers say.