This mornign newspapers welcomed me to two news seemingly similar but when one goes below the surface, it tells you about the clash of 2 cultures. The news items were about the school boycott called by many parents in Navi Mumbai in Maharashtra and the school boycott call in Kashmir by Islamic radical seperatist Geelani.
The Navi Mumbai school boycott was prompted on issue of school fees hike by private schools and the government's failure to control or even regularise the hikes which are very frequent, most of times unjustified and also extremely tough for the middle class. When it went beyond the tolerance of the parents, they took an extraordinary step of calling for a one day boycott. This call was taken out of concern for the future. It had the feel of concerned citizens worrying for the well-being of the kids.
The Kashmir boycott was called by Geelani and his cronies. They have asked the parents not to send their children to school. There is absolute no concern for the future here. All they want is to prepare an army of uneducated, radicalised terrorists who will be pawns at their hands. Sadly some parents heeded the call. And for those who bravely sent their kids to schools, they had to fear attacks as Geelani's men attacked school buses. It was a shameless act of Talibanising an entire population.
The two episodes show you how 2 cultures are fighting for space in Indian democracy. The one in Navi Mumbai was the culture of tolerance, non violence and had its vision set on a better tomorrow. The one in Kashmir was of hatred and had no concern for the future generation.
Sadly while the parents in Navi Mumbai had no authority or minsiter coming to meet them, one saw a galaxy of so-called secular Indian political class and media clamouring to meet the man who wants to Talibanise Kashmir. Who wins in the end will be decided by what we the people think is good for the nation.