Faizal Aziz Our perceptions are formed on the basis of what we know. Sadly, our knowledge about most issues is limited and inadequate. But the human mind is wired to constantly form a pattern of perceptions, which then become the basis of our understanding and our worldview.
It is highly unfortunate that knowledge regarding the heroism of Maqbool Bhat has remained restricted to Kashmir. Outside Kashmir, even the most informed citizens of India do not know about Maqbool Bhat. In most cases, we Indians have a ‘chalta hai’ attitude. You ask any Indian about any matter of national interest. Most likely the answer will be this: Pata hai tou bhi chalta hai. Nahin pata tou bhi chalta hai.
In the same vein, if you question most Indians about Maqbool Bhat, chances are they won’t know about him. And chances are they will say – Nahin pata tou bhi chalta hai.
In Some Cases, Ignorance Is Not Bliss
The wise have said that ignorance is bliss. But this is one of those times when ignorance is not bliss. Because this ignorance has led the whole nation to be unaware of the ultimate sacrifices made by the Kashmiris for always upholding national security.
It is not just Kashmir which needs to be aware of Maqbool Sherwani. Sherwani made his supreme sacrifice in 1947. The syllabi of all school boards across the nation have chapters on national heroes. Whether it is CBSE, ICSE or the state school boards – national heroes and martyrs are always celebrated – as they should be.
Now, the nation is celebrating Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav. 75 years of India’s Independence. Imagine if for all these generations, one of the national heroes celebrated in our text books was Maqbool Sherwani. Then each and every child who went to school in India would have known that a Kashmiri displayed remarkable mindfulness in misguiding Pakistani tribal raiders so that the Indian Army would get enough time to mobilize the forces for protecting the nation
.We Must Break The Stereotype
If the martyrdom of Maqbool Sherwani had been celebrated in this way, our brothers and sisters in the mainland would view the Kashmiris differently. Unfortunately, over the years, Kashmiris have been seen only through the prism of alienation and separation. This stereotyped image of the Kashmiris has become stuck in the minds of many citizens.
Stereotyped images lead people to form perceptions and opinions that may not be based on the truth. It is in this light that the academicians who framed the school syllabi for the many school boards across India should have decided that children must study about Maqbool Sherwani, the hero from Kashmir.
The impressions that we form in childhood have a deep mark on our thinking. Studying about the martyr would have inspired a stronger connect of the children of the children in the mainland with the Kashmiris. All those children who would have studied about Maqbool Sherwani in Kashmir would have been similarly impressed by this hero.
Needful Can Be Done Even Now
Even now, the needful can be done. It is for the Centre to give directions to school education boards like CBSE, ICSE and the state level boards to ensure that the syllabi must always include a select list of our national heroes. And this select list must have representation from all parts of the country.
The wise have said that we are what we think. If we think correctly, it will form the basis of correct attitude. Sustained correct attitude shall form our character. And our character shall determine how we act in any given situation.
That is why globally, all school education experts are highly concerned about how to shape the thinking of the children. School education experts are aware that a child is highly impressionable. Also, children are highly inspired by any kind of information that they come by. It is hence highly important to ensure that children have access to the right kind of education.
Correct Focus Of UT Administration
It is a source of satisfaction that in the last few years, the UT Administration has attempted to do more and more to recognize the achievement of Maqbool Sherwani and make more and more people aware of his supreme sacrifice. Mass media is a force multiplier. If the UT Administration devises more and more unique ways and means to celebrate the legacy of Maqbool Sherwani, these celebrations and acknowledgement will find their way into the various mass media channels, and will reach more and more people across India.
It is not just Maqbool Sherwani. More and more Kashmiris who have risen for the safety and security of the nation deserve honour and recognition.
Even today, we have many real life heroes in Kashmir who stand foremost in the line of duty for the protection of the nation. Our brave men of Jammu and Kashmir Police are sons of the soil who have always risen to protect us from the scourge of terrorism.
The bravery of our men and women in the Police and in the Military and Para-Military Forces is acknowledged and celebrated by giving them medals and professional recognition. At the same time, the government must also devise some ways and means so that our children and our youth studying in schools, colleges and universities are more aware of the sacrifices made by the men in uniform.
If the UT Administration devises more and more unique ways and means to celebrate the legacy of Maqbool Sherwani, these celebrations and acknowledgement will find their way into the various mass media channels, and will reach more and more people across India