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Kashmir comes off as a place of a vast number of conflict among the average citizen. The impression is understandable, as media has played a significant role in portraying it that way.
Kashmir has been a host to tourism for a very long time. The livelihood of most of the people in Kashmir comes from tourism. It has acted as a host to the tourists for generations, which eventually made the Kashmiri residents very kind and warm. Never once I felt anything less than a warmly welcomed guest.
This made me realize how, Kashmir has always been peaceful, and the only reason it is not anymore is because of the politics played by our leaders.
Moving on, another thing I learned about the place is that it is quite ahead of most of the other northern states. Plastic is completely banned, and the roads are clean. Most importantly, the pollution is controlled, and the areas of natural habitat are free from any nonbiodegradable waste. There are no open drains, and the water in both Dal Lake and Jhelum is clean and clear.
The education system is very advanced. All the schools in Kashmir are English medium, making most of the population fluent in the language. However the female community is clearly dominated by the males. There were very few women who I observed were in the working sector.
The third is conflicts. I happened to experience a state of a dispute in J&K which eventually led to a strike. The internet services were also terminated. The people still went on with their lives as if it was something very minor. Making me realize that no matter how many strikes or curfew comes up, people in Kashmir go on with their lives.
In my opinion, Kashmir has a lot of potential for growth. The state, which mainly gets its income from small handicraft businesses and tourism is obstructed by the conflicts that are created by politics. There’s a massive potential for it to grow if the tourism is promoted. I have come across people who spend their nights living in snowy areas where the temperature is -4°c in the afternoon because they don’t have enough money to travel home and come back every day.
People go on with their lives through various strikes throughout summer and a complete shutdown curfew situation throughout the winter months because of heavy snow. The fact that even amidst these situations, the state is thriving, says a lot about it and the people of the state.