A society is a group of people involved in persistent social interaction, or a large social group sharing the same geographical or social territory, typically subject to the same political authority and dominant cultural expectations. Sociologists divide a society into six institutions e.g. Family, Education, Religion, Economy, Politics/ Government and Recreation.
In the case of Gilgit-Baltistan, there is an imbalance in the functions of the above mentioned institutions of society, which causes a state of social deterioration.
Gilgit-Baltistan’s society is neither modern nor traditional. That’s why it can be termed a traditional society in transition. Economically it is a developing society, but morally it is trapped with the feudal, patriarchal, religious and traditional mind set. Linguistically it is an oral society which has yet not transcribed its real history, cultural heritage and folk literature, music and art. Lack of research culture has created confusion among the policymakers regarding their understanding of the causes of social issues. Owing to lack of a written culture so-called educated class is more confused than the illiterate people; hence pseudo intellectuals have been enjoying the status of intelligentsia of the society.
Such societies always lack good planning and policies for their new generations hence new generations encountered with a suffocated environment. A confused, non-productive, lazy and utopian minded youth becomes a challenge for such societies. New generation comprises an infant from 0 to 2 years age, an adolescent from 10 to 19 years age, a child/juvenile below the age of 18 years and a youth from 14 to 29 years old.
Although the new generation of Gilgit Baltistan faces various issues, the impact of being under bad governance is on top of the list. Apart from it, the new generation faces socio-economic problems, poverty, unemployment, lack of resources, opportunities, corruption, negative competition, materialistic approach, lack of civic facilities, child marriages, forced marriages, health related issues like malnutrition and lack of health education etc., education related issues like illiteracy in some districts of GB, lack of civic education, lack of human rights education, skill education, education of emotional intelligence and moral values etc., lack of recreational activities, lack of juvenile justice system, lack of youth policy, environment related issues, communication gap or generation gap, discrimination at decision-making level, poor parenting, child labour, information pollution like internet, media, film, dramas etc., and misuse of modern means of communication.
The above mentioned social issues have numerous negative impacts on new generation of GB. They have led to an identity crisis, fanned violence (social and domestic violence, corporal punishment, intolerance, rudeness etc.), promoted drug abuse, child abuse, increasing ratio of deaths, e.g. road accidents, suicides, honor killing etc., peer pressure, physical and mantel diseases, psychological and emotional disorders, character assassination, fear or disappointment, increasing ratio of crimes, isolation, imbalanced social relations, self-medication, personality disorder and teenage rebellion. Other issues exhibited by a portion of the youth are, avoiding routine life, an increasing sense of vengeance, poor relationship with parents, poor achievements in school, business etc. Behavioral problems, like anti-social behavior, wariness, jealousy and rudeness are also common. Impressed by negative role models, fear of dishonor, enslavement, economic dependency, deprived of decision making power, deprived of freedom of choice, deprived of right to vote, deprived of socialization, deprived of freedom of expression, assembly, movement etc., deprived of participation in political, social, economic and cultural activities etc.
Societies make efforts to overcome their issues. It means that there is always a room for way forward. Apart from mobilization of youth, importance should also be given to the role of parents, civil society and Government to set a direction for new generations.
Parents should enhance their parenting skills and Govt. should focus on enhancing the parenting skills in married couples through its educational institutions so that they would be able to guide their children. Parents should play a role for the creation of conducive environment at home. They should focus on moral values rather than pushing their children for negative competition. They should also pay respect and attention to children at home.
Role of civil society is very important in awareness rising for that purpose they can conduct awareness sessions. They can prepare draft for policy making and legislation in collaboration with Govt. They can arrange trainings for stake holders. The civil society should work for youth mobilization, raising voice against all social evils and bad practices, promotion of research culture, help the needy people and motivate the professionals to spare time and knowledge for social services.
Government should introduce an effective mechanism for ensuring human rights and implementation on child rights convention which was signed by Pakistan in 1990. Govt. should prepare strategy for implementations on juvenile justice system 2000, lay down an effective youth policy, child protection policy, suicide prevention policy, women protection policy, investment policy, make a plan for promotion of healthy activities, make reforms in the policies regarding social development, poverty reduction, environmental issues, eradication of corruption, bribing and favoritism, equal distribution of resources, promotion of healthy activities for youth, inclusion of Human Rights education and update the curriculum.
The crux of this article is, calling all stake holders to realize that without changing the cultural and traditional mind set of the society, the new generation can’t deal with the emerging awkward circumstance and challenges. Therefore, all stake holders should make collective efforts to inculcate a new and updated thinking in the new generation.
If we have a bad history of social issues like suicide, and honor killing, or child abuse, then we need to understand that these are the manifestation of the society’s outdated thinking. If we want to change the history, then we will have to make efforts to inculcate a new thinking so that the society can look at the future with more hope and confidence.
For changing the thinking of a person or society there should be a justification and cause. Since, every justification comes from knowledge, we need to create a society based on inquiry and research leading to creation of indigenous knowledge, informed by the ground realities, and circumstantial truths. Creating research-oriented, logical, and reasoning mindsets yearning for knowledge is the on only way to change the mind set of deteriorating society.
The writer is a Gilgit based columnist and human rights activist. He can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org.