“Have you ever met a terrorist?”

The story of Kashmir is a story of a Paradise. Almost everyone knows about, and has an opinion on the Kashmir and its conflict. Kashmir is a flower on the geography book and a blot on the history book.

The general notion about the youth of Kashmir is that they are repressed, suppressed and depressed. The stereotype is that they are exceptionally beautiful and fair.  But the truth that nobody has noticed is that they carry a certain kind of angst within their hearts, a certain rebellion, a desire to break away but come back again, the will to reform and the will to repair, all that has been damaged. There is a rigid dichotomy between the magnetic pull of their homeland and the unfavourable conditions to live and succeed in their home land due to the political situations.

It is here that Delhi University steps in to play its role. A DU degree is something many students aspire for. Children from all over the country come to DU to study. These fair-skinned, light-eyed faces dissolve in the huge swarming busy crowd of Delhi, they get absorbed in the lightning-speed of this city, they find a certain kind of refuge in the fastness of this twenty first century metropolitan city and leisure in its wide roads, even though they long for the snow-covered mountains and the flower-scented air and the relaxing tea of Kashmir.

A second year student of Political Science at DU, Amna Buddo, says, “you can take me out of Kashmir, but you cannot take Kashmir out of me.” Originally from Jammu, Buddo says it is a pity that they feel driven out of the land they were born in. “Boys feel that in order to make a change they must leave Kashmir, because the kind of success they want is available to only a few over here,” she says.

The silken thread of affinity that binds a young Kashmiri to his homeland has many-a-times snapped due to bitter experiences. They sometimes hate to identify with things that have given them pain in the past. There are some, who believe that their regional identity serves as their weakness at time.

Ashfaaq Khan (name changed on anonymity), a first year history student at DU who moved to Delhi a year back, says, “I must admit, coming to Delhi has given me a certain kind of relief. When you hear about problems occurring at a certain geographical location from a long distance, you inevitably feel relieved that you are away from the terror and the violence. I moved from Kashmir to Delhi against the will of my parents. I want to take care of my family and support them, and my aim is to set up a business here in Delhi. Move them out of Kashmir and bring them here. Being a Kashmiri hasn’t really helped me in any way. I still get questions like ‘Have you ever met a terrorist?’ and ’Have you ever seen a bomb explosion before your own eyes?’. People expect me to sit down and explain to them the entire political situation of Kashmir.

While there are some who want to drown the memories of Kashmir in the noise of Delhi’s traffic, there are some who carry passionate opinions about the place as well. Young Kashmiri Muslims of today feel that they are a universal target.

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