How can we, as a people, develop the ability to organize and mobilize for social change, which requires the creation of awareness not just at the individual level but at the collective level as well?
How can we develop self-esteem, for which some form of financial autonomy is a basis? How can we make strategic life choices that are critical for people to lead the sort of lives they want to lead? We require a quality education for these mammoth tasks.
To create democracy, there must be a minimum of participation and adequate pluralism in a society. A consolidated democracy has to be open to diverse opinions. Dissent and differences of opinion on policies is an important element of every democracy.
There must, however, be some shared consent on fundamental principles. Democratic, social and educational institutions cannot function in Kashmir without participation by citizens.
Nurturing a civil society that bridges regional and communal divides is a prerequisite for the effective and legitimate functioning of educational institutions.
Nyla Ali Khan is a faculty member at the University of Oklahoma and a member of the Scholars Strategy Network. She is the author of Islam, Women, and Violence in Kashmir: Between India and Pakistan (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010), and Parchment of Kashmir: History, Society, and Polity (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012).
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