One need not be uneducated to turn towards extremism and choose the path of terrorism. Be it Osama Bin Laden, Afzal Guru or the latest entrant Mannan Wani.
The people mentioned above are only a handful of the many who have chosen to become terrorists rather than lead a life of peace and co-existence with people of other religions. The list of people joining the ranks of ISIS, Hizbul Mujahedeen and other likeminded Islamic organisations from different parts of the country (especially from Kerala and Maharashtra) has only been growing and goes on to prove that education has nothing to do with terrorism, because even the most educated people have chosen to cross over and fight from the other end of the spectrum.
Malala’s famous quote, “With guns you can kill terrorists, with education you can kill terrorism”, does not hold water when faced with harsh reality. While such quotes do sound good when printed on t-shirts or when put up as wall posters, when confronted with facts, disintegrate into bits of fragments.
Mannan Wani, a 26-year-old resident of Kupwara, North Kashmir, until very recently was a research scholar pursuing his PhD in applied geology at Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), until his photograph holding a AK-47 was released by the Hizbul Mujahideen.
It is evident that a drastic decision to join the militant ranks is not one that is taken spontaneously. Mannan Wani’s step to leave behind his life and years of hard work to become a terrorist only highlights the degree to which these extremist religious organisations have infiltrated into influencing the general public at large. As per World Bank’s report of 2016, the tendency to turn into suicide bombers is more in people who are educated. Mannan Wani is a typical example to showcase that the higher the integration, the higher are the chance of him/her being radicalised.
Fanaticism over rationalism:
Considering the acute crises in J&K and the difficulty with which students pursue their education in the Valley, any person who has managed to climb the ladder with so much difficulty would rather than turning into a militant, make efforts to stabilize the situation in his/her hometown, educating the local populace about the benefits of a cosmopolitan society. But rather than labouring through the process of educating people of pluralism and democracy, Wani has chosen to follow the path which seeks to completely destroy the idea of pluralism.
Terrorism not due to poverty or inequality but due to hatred for Kafirs
The precedents set by Afzal Guru, Burhan Wani and many such others has time again proved that it is not the lack of money or opportunity that has turned them into terrorists or militants, but due to the brainwashing conducted by the countless madrassas and masjids in the valley which thrive on enemy money and support.
While one expects education to improve the mindset and the irrational religious leanings of the people, it has over time only resulted in deterioration of the situation at large, with the educated ones choosing irrationalism over rationalism and religion over nationalism.
Whilst it is necessary that the Indian state financially support the J&K locals to improve the ground level conditions, it is equally important that the government implements a highly regulated mechanism to monitor the teachings of religious organisations which today act as hotbeds for extremism.
It is only a miniscule percentage of people who have turned towards guns and not roses but if the situation subsists with no or minimal regulations, the condition and state of affairs will only deteriorate further, if the problem is not nipped in the bud.
The state of J&K comprises of only 1 % of the Indian population but gets 10% of the funds disbursed from the central government and if the citizens are not grateful to the government and the Indian Army for the continued support to ensure that the present state mechanism does not collapse then it is probably time for the central government to sincerely rethink and re-strategize their present policy for the state.
The quotes providing concession to J&K citizens across sectors also needs to be relooked at if this is how they think they will repay the nation, which bleeds hundreds and thousands of Crores of rupees for their safety and wellbeing.