The most important and perhaps the most dynamic segment of the population in any country is the youth. The key to shaping the future of any region lies in the participation and decision making of these dynamic youths, whose dreams and aspirations guide and motivate them to strive for a better and peaceful existence. The youth of Kashmir is inspired, optimistic and the driving force behind the progress in the valley. They are creating new opportunities for themselves and breaking stereotypes, they have the potential to change and shape a better tomorrow for Kashmir, be it fashion, cuisine or even digital marketing. The generation today are more driven towards the pursuit of creative arts as they have more avenues to explore and breaking away from the stereotype of engineers and doctors. They are also taking up more entrepreneurial positions and opening up to the idea of being job creators. There has been a paradigm shift in people’s mindset. For the seekers, Social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram have become vital tools as it gives a wide outreach which is an essential push for the small businesses. Today’s generation firmly believes that the internet is a very powerful tool if used wisely and it is essential and beneficial for budding entrepreneurs to have social media knowledge.
There is a growing desire to achieve new heights in various fields especially the creative arts, the Kashmiri youths have found various outlets and various different opportunities to express themselves. Shahid Rashid Bhatt a young fashion designer belonging to Pulwama has launched his own fashion brand with the help of social media and has been doing quite well, even amassing international orders. Another inspiring youth, Syed Mehtaab Muneer is an engineer turned baker who has followed her passion for baking and has established a successful home bakery which flourished despite the challenge of lockdown due to COVID-19. Sheikh Asif is an entrepreneur with his own web designing and digital marketing company, he also conducts classes for website designing and digital marketing, the founder of an IT company, has endeavoured to educate the youth of Kashmir regarding IT and the opportunities associated with it.
Majority of the younger populace feel that their options as far as education is concerned is primarily limited to engineering or medicine with very little avenues for pursuit of creative arts as these are not viewed as a promising career option. However the generation today is bold and ready to tread on a less travelled path and blaze their own trail. They are well-travelled and more open to new experiences and opportunities that may come their way. Despite the limitations of the COVID lockdown, the younger populace has not shied away from learning new skills or enhancing their abilities, instead with the effective use of social media they have managed to create opportunities for themselves and make an impact.
The Kashmiri youth are fearless and ready to try despite any obstacles that may come their way. People in Kashmir are very hopeful and that hope is the spark that ignites their burning desire to succeed. Everyone deals with teething problems however, seeing the youths succeed inspires others to take up pursuits that will enrich their own lives. As time has progressed platforms to encourage art have been opened to more and more of the population. However there is a requirement for more avenues and platforms for the youth of Kashmir to showcase their talent and skills and not restricted to stereotypes.
The road ahead for Kashmir is a work in progress. The youth have endeavoured to make use of as many avenues available to them as possible, however there is a scope for growth in the platforms available to them and the same must be enhanced so that the youth may flourish and inspire others to follow their passions. There may be many challenges ahead for Kashmir however with the perseverance and bold outlook to life the youth of Kashmir will surely bring about a change to last.