For children who have heard gory tales of militancy narrated by their parents, instead of bedtime stories, growing up can be a stressful experience.
Resilience, a common feature among visiting government school students from Jammu and Kashmir’s border district of Kathua, says it all. They are touring Hyderabad under the Shiksha Abhiyan, as part of Operation Sadbhavana taken up by the Army. They hail from remote villages in the Bani and Machedi sectors of the district.
Most of them are first generation students, said government school teacher from Kindli Neelam Devi, who is accompanying them. “Their parents work as agricultural labourers when ‘jowar’, maize, sarson, wheat and other seasonal crops are cultivated. They trek long distances daily to their schools in the hilly terrain,” says teacher of Government High School Nathi, Khushi Ram.
“This is the foremost opportunity for the schoolchildren to see another part of the country, a progressive India. The idea is to help them explore new avenues, such as IT, so that they can go back and tell other villagers. Most of them want to become teachers and police personnel because they are not aware of other vocations. During their stay here, they will meet Governor E.S.L. Narsimhan. They will be taken to Hitec City, Ramoji Film City and Golconda fort,” said Col. P.S. Dhillon, Commanding Officer, 9 Bihar, Basantar Brigade, Mehdipatnam, which is organising the visit along with the 3 Jat Regiment.
The tour coincides with the anniversary of Battle of Basantar, being observed at the Brigade in Mehdipatnam. A crucial battle in the India-Pakistan war of 1971, it helped India secure the strategic portion of Jammu and Punjab.
Ritu Rani, a 10th standard student of Government High School, Dhagger, and Santosh Kumari, a ninth standard student of Government Higher Secondary School, Machedi, comprise the new generation living in a secure atmosphere that was a militancy prone region.