06 Aug 2014
August 6, 2014

Traumatized Youth

More than Medicine,They Need our Care
SPECTRUM
PROFESSOR MUHAMMAD ASLAM

A social activist tells me that Srinagar city has 84000 traumatized young boys. The figure defies the studies done earlier in finding out post-traumatic cases in Kashmir. The UNO had reported that in 1987 there were 17000 drug addicts in Kashmir that rose to 100, 000 in 2008 and to 1, 20, 000 in 2012. It is estimated that Kashmir has 60, 000 drug addicts and 1, 20, 000 depression cases that means Srinagar has the largest number. A  study in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) cases worked with a group of 2, 728 young boys. It has revealed alarming figures of depressed persons: 55.52%.— 66.76% in the age group of 15-25 and 66.33% in 26-35 age group. The study has found that the rural areas are the worst affected—84.73%–against 15.26% in urban areas.  However, my friend’s figure contradicts the above study. It appears that Srinagar is heading towards a big catastrophe. We have already lost a generation in the armed conflict since 1990s; it seems that another is on the way of destruction because of depression..  A study has revealed that exposure to violence when the child is still in the womb adversely affects him and he  remains disordered for the entire life.

Depression leads to suicidal tendencies, drug addiction, drinking and crimes. In Kashmir, many young boys and girls have already committed suicide. Some recent drowning cases have also been attributed to depression. Crimes against women, especially young girls at coaching centres, have taken their toll.

There are several reasons for mental disorders. The three-decade old armed conflict is largely responsible for depression. Our youth has been living in constant fear; their world has considerably shrunk. This fear has led to disinterestedness and indifference to life. Hence, suicides.  Depression  has several social causes also: lack of affection and care by the family, marital issues that remain unsettled, lack of bond with the family and so on. Another reason for the youth to be depressed is their bleak future. Seeing no light across the tunnel, they find darkness all around them. There are no job opportunities for them in Kashmir and outside they are treated as untouchables.  In recent times, we have seen that many Kashmiri students have been thrown out of educational institutions for behaving like a Kashmiri. Students who do not find placements in  universities here try to move out for some fresh air. Instead,  they find themselves more in trouble. They are victimized for being Kashmiris. Those who find places, live under constant threat.

“Depression…is characterized by hopelessness, loss of meaning in life and feeling of sadness without being able to identify the cause of the gloominess if life”. Is there a solution to the problem? It seems that rehabilitation of these young boys has not happened. Putting them on anti-depressants might worsen the situation. They need our empathy and care more than medicines. And, Islam has peerless medicines for such patients. Among many, the following have been found miraculously effective: Firstly, the Quran recitation— ma huwa shifaun wa rahmatun lil-mumineen (17:82). Done  preferably at dawn—inna qurana alfajri kana mashhooda—is the best antidote to depression.  Secondly, nimaaz—rids one of mental and spiritual ailments and develops inherent strength and mental well-being. Thirdly, patience—wasbiroo innAllaha ma’ssabireen.  Fourthly, zikr—subhan Allah i wab i hamdihi subhan Allah il azeem i wabi hamdi astaghfirul Allah watubu illaihi . The Quran says: “… without doubt in the remembrance (Zikr) of Allah do hearts find tranquility” (13:28)). It can be done sitting, standing or lying down, any time; every time. Fifthly, dua’ — “Oh Allah, I seek refuge in You from worry and grief, from helplessness and laziness, from cowardice and stinginess and from overpowering of debt and from oppression of men”. Prefix and suffix it with durood on  Prophet (SAW).  And, sixthly, parental guidance, like Luqman who told his son: “O my son …be patient over what befalls you. Indeed, [all] that is of the matters [requiring] determination”.
When anti-depressants don’t work, religion is the only source to take refuge in. Those who have done it, have got over traumatic disorders of all sorts.

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