Updated: Sep 10, 2022
Being the son of a Military Officer, I have measured the length and breadth of my diverse country, India. As there is a saying in our folklore that water and language changes every fifty miles, I have experienced and felt this diversity in culture, religion, ethnicity, language etc in its full glory. Initially, moving from one place to another every 2-3 years was like a challenge to me, the constant overwhelming feeling of coming to a new place and trying my best to be accepted, since every state offered a different culture to get moulded into. As I started maturing and philosophising the experiences life had brought me, I realised that this has actually given a fillip to my life. I became accustomed and adaptable to new surroundings, new feelings, new people and started embracing and respecting different perspectives. I experienced life not just in one city, but in India as a whole. I have lived in the Deep South, Far East, Vast expanses of Western Thar desert to my current place of residence in the Northern most state of Jammu & Kashmir.
My home is in Srinagar which is a United Nations designated militarized zone, but I can say with least hesitation that Jammu and Kashmir is a heaven by many dimensions. In spite of the religious and ethnic diversity, J&K is fountain head of communal harmony, peaceful co-existence and accelerated development. Although menacingly sinister efforts to involve youth of Kashmir in narco – terrorism, online radicalization and instigating them to follow wrong path of violence by our “friendly” neighbour who have their purported designs, the valley is booming like never before in aspects like women empowerment, educational and infrastructural development . The soldier citizen connect is now gaining momentum and establishing benchmark for the whole nation depicting what results can be achieved in harmony. There has been a considerable change in the valley post abrogation of Article 370, which was enshrined as a temporary provision in the Indian constitution, paving way for true and cohesive integration. I can clearly see the writing on the wall that over a period of time, people tired of strife are improving their happiness quotient and the kind of patriotism they ooze out with, is truly commendable. There is no dearth of talent in the valley and if they are supported adequately, the youth of Kashmir are going to make India proud on the global platform.
I have seen the challenges that people face on a daily basis, from political extremism to issues related to displaced sense of freedom, there is still a lot that is needed to be done. It's only when you decide to take it in your hands the change is bound to come. The actions and the ability to do good in the society through work matters more than anything else and other follow suit.
As someone who has lived all his life in an environment which doesn’t differentiate a person for his religion, caste, colour or language, rather accepts people wholeheartedly the way they are and have started feeling invincible to any sort of dislikes and prejudices. I have been a part of a number of organisations that the Indian Army has established, including AWWA (Army Wives Welfare Association) and some NGOs whose key focus remains in upliftment of underprivileged in our society, women empowerment initiatives, programs for Hygeine and Sanitation which are required in a country like India having a large number of population deprived of these basic needs.
Only a few can call their entire country their home, and I’m one of those fortunate ones. I plan to inculcate everything that I have experienced and learned in this roller coaster of a journey through my land. If prejudices exist, then there’s no bright future. Disliking someone because of culture, religion, colour or language means dishonoring humanity as a whole. In a world where we have struggled through centuries, facing discrimination in every step, we have now reached a point where it has become a serious topic to talk, discuss and share about and they vale profound' is a live laboratory which is a melting pot of many cultures. I find myself to have a duty as a citizen of my country to be the best example of the things I’ve been taught, and make sure that the community which will make me into someone, also move forward along with me. Everyone has the same eyes, it’s the vision that makes a difference.