Gilgit-Baltistan students are struggling to remain connected with the digital world
By Ramish Khan
There seems to be no one to understand the traumatic situation the students like me have been passing through for the last three months. If I start to jot down the stressful moments I have been through and how badly I have lost my mental peace, it will apparently seem fiction for many but those students would feel and understand the anxiety and frustration of mine who have been experiencing this situation in remote areas.
With every passing moment, my frustration has been on aggravating. This situation also makes me realize the frustration and sense of deprivation of the people who have been facing the situation of helplessness due to a lack of basic democratic, constitutional and civic rights and dispossession of their land and resources for seven decades. I don’t know whether this is the meaning of my life or it’s the never-ending testing time.
While the world has made incredible advancements in science and technology, especially in information and communication technology (ICT) and entered into the 5G era, we at the beautiful but deprived land of Gilgit-Baltistan are compelled to compete with developed societies with obsolete technology and governance system, and mindsets.
One may ask why we have been kept backwards and deprived of the basic necessities of life to cope with the digital world. The whole human activities from business to education and projects to jobs are done in a virtual environment through Internet but we are still moving at a snail’s pace waiting for the whole day just to deliver a single message note.
Is this my misfortune for being born in or living in a part of the world which is being treated like a colony? Or should I start to abhor the place where I have cherished moments with my loved ones?
The astonishment that I am not connected to the world and the apathy of the relevant authorities give me goosebumps; my eyes fill with tears, and I become gloomy that despite massive outcry on social media the authorities remain clueless about any alternative viable solution.
My heart beats abnormally for the consistent efforts I am putting in to catch up with the world in this abnormal situation but the people at the helm of affairs seem in a consistent muted mood.
I am tired of the situation and lost the patience, vigour and strength to bear the situation anymore and pretend that I am fine. I am tired of walking miles away from home just to send a single mail, my feet are tired of hiking just to open the files sent by my university. I am tired of waiting for the never racking delays. I am tired of the delusional optimism surrounding me just to suppress my pain and cries for my basic needs. I am tired of bothering my classmates for asking about the latest updates. I am tired of writing applications longer than assignments to the instructors to inform the reasons for the delay in my submission. I am extremely tired of the worst connectivity. I am tired of waiting for everything…
Whom should I blame for the trauma, panic attacks, anxiety, and depression? May I give you the credit, SCO? Or should I consider this as part of my fate for being a part of an unknown, left-out territory for so long?
Is there anyone to answer my questions or should I just stop asking because of the fear that I will be treated like the ones who raised their voices for their rights? Is there any responsive authority to see the reasons for my bleeding eyes of panic attacks or torn heart of hopelessness and apprehension?
Covid-19 has changed the whole global governance, public service delivery and systems and Internet has become a necessary tool for survival. The pandemic has exposed the contradictions and the loopholes in and hollowness of the neoliberal economic model of development which has been imposed on the world during the last half-century.
But for the inhabitants of the mountainous regions, the scenario is different; COVID-19 is more bearable for us than the ordeal of deprivation of all basic necessities. This situation is getting on my nerves Drag me away from this devastating situation of hopelessness and helplessness before it gets on my nerves and I lose patience, the intellect of my mind.
Ramish Khan is a student in the second semester at a university.