Get involved with the youth to free them from radical ideology- Arun Wakhlu

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Pune, July 16, 2019: “Only ‘compassionate communication’ with the youth and involving them in society and decision-making can free them from radical ideas and goals,” said Arun Wakhlu executive director of Pragati Leadership and chairman of Pragati Foundation while speaking at a conference on youth radicalization called ‘Towards Peace’.
The conference was organized by Maharashtra Cultural Centre, Pune and Max Mueller Bhavan, Pune at Jyotsna Bhole Sabhagruha. Speakers including Khalid Shah, associate fellow at the Observer Research Foundation, New Delhi, Shanthie Mariet D’Souza, founder and president, Mantraya, Lutz Hubner, German playwright, Kirstin Hess, Dramaturge at the Junges Schauspiel/D’haus and Rahul Chandawarkar, acclaimed journalist along with Shrirang Godbole, renowneddirector, Vibhawari Deshpande, actress and writer and Shubhangi Damle of Maharashtra Cultural Centre were present at the conference. The panelists also launched a souvenir of articles on the subject.

“Peace is underlined everywhere but the clouds of conflicts due to poor governance are dissolving it. We must adopt the model instituted by Belgium and Denmark where they are connecting the radicalized youth with the society to change their mindset,” Wakhlu added.

According to Khalid Shah, associate fellow at the Observer Research Foundation, New Delhi, there is a radical change amongst the youth in Jammu and Kashmir where the theory of religion is being misinterpreted. “The society cannot fathom why a 16-year-old who comes from an educated family and not from a madrassa would take the path of Jihad. The youth is becoming recluse and inward due to the on-going conflict and they think that their religion is supreme. The global jihadist groups like ISIS or Hizbul-Mujahideen exploit them though advocacy and social media and recruit them for Jihad,” said Shah.

Shanthie Mariet D’Souza, founder and president, Mantraya and terror and conflict researcher said “In Afghanistan, the youth was under tremendous pressure due to unemployment, lack of education and justice. Four decades of war and Taliban insurgency had drifted them toward the path of extremism and more Afghans were joining the ISIS. The youth could not channelize their anger and the government had no authority over its people. Despite that, the Afghans are looking for a platform and are open to sports and cultural arts or music. We can only reform the society by providing them with different avenues.”

German playwright, Lutz Hubner, who’s written German play ‘Paradies’ said, “Radicalism, in terms of nationalism and religion exists due to lack of morals, values and ethics among people. Our plays focus on what goes inside the heads of the terrorists, who are mostly homegrown.”

Kirstin Hess, Dramaturge stated, “There are many emotional questions that need to be answered. Theatre and freedom of arts can have an impact on political issues and how people react to them. Through stage plays we can reach out to people and help them express themselves