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Rupture in Paradise- Kashmir

The idea behind a small intervention of working with the teachers in Srinagar and elsewhere in Kashmir and the students was to dialogue on the gap between a teacher and a student. However the idea behind this intervention was that there had to be an understanding of trauma. Trauma that shapes our lives, our brains and our bodies, in such a way that it breaks down our engagements with the world in a healthy way.

The political situation in Kashmir is that of an on-going conflict. However in a conflict zone it is not only the conflict in the external world but a deep conflicting space between the body and the mind appears. The four days’ workshop from the 16th first piloted workshop to assess the needs of children and teachers that there is a “Rupture” that is a strong part of the mechanisms of the daily going on in this disturbed state. The small intervention with teachers and students from various schools was done with the help of child line and the Shehjar theatre group of Help foundation Srinagar.

 So between the Bandhs and the exams that take place in schools , the four days did take place with the two days with the children we visited two schools and with one class that was the 8thand that there was another school where almost the entire school arrived for the session. Here in both the classes we looked at the mechanism of trauma and how it affects our bodies and minds. It was what we saw was the substance of endurance and exhaustion among the staff and the children being engaged with tools of release.

So we conducted trust walk with teachers and another exercise was “I can make you do anything I want“. To bring out notions of “power with you “and power over you”. The trigger was to bring out the relationship between the teacher and the student, to work out or re – work relationship between a teacher and a student. As psychological violence and developmental trauma becomes a space of fear ridden classroom. So can the child be without fear? Teachers as they have been taught, can they do otherwise! Can they teach with power, with guidance? In a state ridden with conflict the violence in classroom brings students to become edgy. This unrest leads to the flight or the fight syndrome. Violence begets violence and trauma begets trauma.

The Trust walk: The teachers are made into pairs and one leads the other into the unknown blindfolded and gets them to feel different areas of the environment through touch. The pairs both get opportunity to lead and to be lead. The trigger words which came out of these walks the ones who were holding the hand were -help, road, to show path, guide, feel, sympathy /empathy, care, comfort, satisfaction, hope, ones, joy, responsibility {the ability to respond). The triggers from the ones who were being guided are being helpless, uneasy, weak, dependent, incapable, alone, fear, uncomfortable, trust, childhood, happiness as one was going back to childhood; power over you;  bossed about by one individual. The ones who were tossed about felt- Helpless! Sadness, compulsory, fear, hesitation, angry, incapable, enjoy the revenge. The ones who bossed felt- Revenge, superior, dominated, a hatred , thought of revenge. The relationship with the teacher and the student when it is a power with you, it is all that! The outcome of the trust walk, power with you. When it is power over you, being bossed about it is all the relationship and the feelings which comes about being tossed about… that is the latter feelings. All teachers felt that they have experienced being bossed over in the childhood and that’s what they transmit.

All the teachers have a childhood: Exploring childhood and the power situations within their childhood. What did you love doing which you were not allowed to do and what was that thing which you did not want to do but had to do? Answers were: I wanted to take up arts, forced to do science, I want to take up business but was forced to do engineering , I wanted to take up religious studies but were forced to take up business , I want to do fashion but I was made to study and got married off, I want to take up science but was forced to take up arts .

So it’s the history of dreams crushed! It’s the dreams crushed by the teachers, parents and that the teachers do the same with their children and the children in the classroom. Pain when not transformed gets transmitted!

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