Youth is slowly — but steadily — finding its feet in Kashmir. The just concluded assembly elections have thrown up 38-year-old Omar Abdullah —decks for him having been cleared by his 72-year-old father Farooq Abdullah. And the new assembly has a fresh bunch of faces quite unlike the conventional politician.
In fact, besides the National Conference circles’ clamour for a young leader, young men and women in the street are also for a young leadership with new vision and definite development strategies, rejecting the old ways of religious politicking and regional pettiness.
And change has there been. The voting machines, this time, spewed out a whole new generation of professional Kashmiris. Next week, they will be sworn in in Srinagar as new members of the assembly to work closely with a forward looking, suave scion of an old political family.
They have a common ambition — whatever their party affiliations be — to turn Kashmir from a flashpoint in South Asia into a peaceful state with a booming economy, not just better connectivity, running water and uninterrupted electricity. They want their state to be feted for tourism, information technology and conflict resolution.
HT presents six of these young MLAs to gauge what it could be for the people of J&K for the next six years.