Srinagar: A humble, sustainable mode of transport, cycle, is helping the youth in Kashmir to explore new ways of breaking free from a past riddled with violence and despair.
Life has not been easy for the young born into violence. It was easy to pick up a stone or a gun, and not a cycle to freedom. A violent childhood perpetuates only violence. For decades, they were trapped in a cycle of violence. Hope was missing, so were opportunities.
Then as a new form of governance ushered in, hope began to flicker, in football, in cricket and a whole new burst of energy that came from cheering crowds in stadiums and street corners.
No one, in this hustle and bustle of change, thought of the ubiquitous cycle as the chariot of fire, the wheels of fortune for the young men and women who were desperate to snatch at every wisp of freedom. And, what a freedom, the humble cycle offered.
The girls of Srinagar know this well. They were ridiculed when they brought out their cycles; it was the only sport they could afford. But they persisted against all odds. Today, as the first sunlight cuts through the early morning haze, young women, in sports suits, protective gear and wide smiles, call out to their friends to join in their journey of freedom along the picturesque Boulevard and Fore Shore Road that curves around Dal Lake in Srinagar.
They are part of a growing tribe of cyclists taking over the streets and roads of […]