Monday, August 13, 2007

A tale of two approaches

Monday, August 13, 2007 (Naushera) --Fighting militancy in Jammu and Kashmir is no longer limited to just men. Women and girls are now picking up the gun to protect themselves and their homes.

They play hockey in Chake de India but in real life, young girls in remote border villages in Jammu and Kashmir are doing their bit for their country.

18-year-old Sona helps her mother with the household chores but soon she will also be protecting her neighbours from militants.

''I and my mother both have undergone this training. Now even if militants come when my father is not at home, we can protect ourselves and our house,'' said Sona Devi, VDC member, Sarya village.

27 women from this border village of Naushera have been trained to use AK-47s and other heavy-duty weapons. They will now be part of the village defence committees.

''For self defence and for the defence of the country, women should also come forward. Women should come out of their homes.

''I want to tell them that they should also learn how to use guns,'' said Sunita, VDC member, Sarya village.

The Indian Army has been training these women. Senior officers believe they are as capable of fighting militants as the men.

''In case of a threat, they can fight it. They will also help us, so that we can also take action.

''There are reports that women terrorists are being trained. These women can help us a lot in checking that,'' said Major Gen Rajinder Singh, GOC, DAH mountain division, Naushera.

So far about ninety women have been trained after they volunteered to be on the village defence committees.

A sign of the changing times even when it comes to fighting militancy.

Contrast the above with this, from a Florida college student:

"Recently, it is fear in response to the aforementioned events driving organizations such as the True Conservatives and Libertarians United at SFCC and the Facebook group "Allow Legal Guns on University Campuses" to demand the passing of a bill allowing students and teachers to carry concealed weapons on college campuses. These groups believe allowing students and teachers this right would prevent incidents like Columbine and Virginia Tech, places that have become synonymous with gun violence. In other words, equipping students with fire to fight an even more treacherous fire will somehow calm their fears. Leaders of the groups advocating this right say that criminals target unarmed citizens and do not follow the gun laws mandated by states. This makes students particularly easy targets, left at the mercy of murderous individuals. Opponents of the current gun-free zone laws on campuses cite their inalienable liberties - their Second Amendment rights.

Both sides present convincing arguments, accompanied with facts and figures from all sorts of government agency reports. Our minds explode at the sight of the statistics, the body counts and the video footage. But still, we have to fight this. The world can't come to this. By adopting such a policy, we aren't moving forward with our lives. We are moving back to a more primitive time - a time where it was kill or be killed. We're not at war, we're in college. People carrying guns distract us from our purpose. We have enough reckless behavior present on college campuses. We don't need to add guns into the mix. When you carry a gun, you are ready and willing to kill someone if need be. Are we really prepared to take someone's life before we truly begin our own?

The most alarming aspect of this proposal is the shocking realization that we are turning into a culture of fear - a place where arming ourselves is freeing and proof of self-ownership. This sense of freedom is merely an illusion, though.

UF's goal is to teach and enlighten. Let's not forget this in the midst of tragedy. We can't learn from our fears if we are enslaved by them."

How do you think this gelding feels knowing that housewives and teenage girls in India are more a man than he will ever be?