This refers to the article “Kashmir: the war for hearts and minds” (June 4). I served in the Kashmir Valley in the early 1990s when the situation was extremely tense and fraught with danger as far as the ordinary Kashmiris were concerned. They moved around with trepidation not knowing when and where the bullets would fly. Women rarely ventured out of their villages and, if they did, were never seen moving without a veil. Come May 2008 and what a pleasant surprise! A sea change in the attitude, particularly of the younger generation.
I attended the Junoon concert in Srinagar and the spectacle had to be seen to be believed. It was incredible seeing the youngsters, especially the fashion conscious girls, dancing, clapping and singing along with Salman Ahmed, thoroughly enjoying every moment of the concert. As the article says, it is clear that the capitalist culture in Kashmir is catching on. And it is winning.
Col. Mahendra Singh,
The article offers an insight into the extent of religious bigotry in Kashmir. Efforts should be made to insulate the young and the people living in the rural areas from the brainwashing by fundamentalists. Steps such as the establishment of a world class educational system, giving equal educational rights to boys and girls, and increasing the number of educational and cultural tours to other States could make the young less vulnerable. Villages should have good healthcare, education, transport and communication. A gradual and better faith in democracy should be fostered in the minds of the rural folks.
Pushpendra Kumar Meena,