|A Chechan government school damaged in the 2005 earthquake unattended to|
Day 3 of 'Ride for Justice' from Sehnsa to Muzaffarabad:
I have a lie-in, waking up at about 8am, as opposed to 4:30am over the previous two days. This makes me pretty despondent for a while, I feel I'm slacking. Noticing that my front tyre is punctured adds to the misery. I realise I now have to walk the fifteen or so kilometres to Palandri.
A local politician who is having tea at the hotel that I've been put up in, insists that I visit the local school and see an example of how public funds are misused. Upon seeing the dilapidated condition of the school and the faces of the young children who are expected to learn at the risk of everything crumbling over them, my anger at the state of affairs in Azad Kashmir and the task that faces political activists dawns on me.
It's amazing how intelligent our people are. Even those with a modicum of education show great potential. The major problem that they have living in a society which kills their potential is that they are deprived from modern methods of analysis. The training that they have in terms of social sciences is so basic that it affects how they relate their own living conditions to modern global advances. They either remain oblivious of modern trends or consume what they read in their own media as gratifying evidence of a global conspiracy against Islam. Introspection and intellectual progress are the fatal casualties.
I'm 'forced' to stay at someone's house. This is a first for me on this trip. I've planned to refrain from invitations to stay at people's homes. It would make me too comfortable and affect my mission. I decide to relent just this once.