Generation Y, my generation inherited a legacy of hatred, bigotry, communalism, disempowerment of women, casteism, corruption, a misplaced failed socialism and very badly convoluted environment. For us, conflicts became the norm and terrorism the buzz word of sound bites. I find myself talking a lot about the 'safe 80s' to youth whenever and wherever; it inevitably crops up in conversations – how even if we would abscond for the entire day, our parents would never get worried and we had a full childhood of high-flying kites, stolen fruit from neighbourhood trees, street cricket and soccer, corporal punishments of beatings and 'murga bano' in schools without as much as flinching, stingy parents who made sure we used last year's stationary and hand-me-down clothes and other things. Of course, there were pedophiles then too and the threat of incest was no less but it was generally a safe childhood and youth.

Seeing the youth nowadays with stress and pressures of conformity, technology, market competitiveness, materialism and an increasingly unsafe world, one can't help but think that this was not the world we would have wanted for our children. The Partition is still a traumatic event in the collective psyche of a community, a nation and a people, but it didn't stop them from moving forward and rebuilding shattered lives, livelihoods, and a sense of humanity. But the youth today find themselves being dragged back to the memories of 'historical wounds' and are made to somehow pledge their lives away for the vindication of those perceived hurts, slights and humiliations. That somebody at a certain time had conquered and invaded this and that, fringe elements screaming from pulpits keep spouting the rhetoric of correcting a historic wrong are the reason why there are recruitments increasing in the machinery of blood and gore and martyrdom. This fringe element has taken an entire population hostage and the silent majority find themselves at the mercy of this petrodollars oiled machinery.

What if the Millenials or Generation X want to look past the occupation? What if the Generation Z or post-millennials, more commonly known as the iGen wants to move on beyond the UN resolutions, referendums, occupation, Hindu rulers, Muslim subjects, and the so-called blah, blah, blah...? They want to work beyond the rigmarole of an India or a Pakistan or bilateral talks and CBMs and bus services and trade relations. The recent earthquakes both of 2005 and 2015 and the devastating floods showed them the real frontier to be 'conquered'- the natural world and its devastating power. In the event of another natural disaster on a large scale, the balkanization of the region is not going to help. Borders will be rendered useless amidst such a catastrophe, it will all lie up to the goodwill of common people who never want or wish wars on their 'neighbours' in the first place. Just like every third person in the world, they worry and care about their children and are busy in securing a future for them.

The natural world is not kind. This world was not made for us specifically. We are the random selection, an accident on the timeline of the evolutionary scale and today we have found ourselves as the dominating species. Already since the time we have been here, we have destroyed species, flora and fauna at an unprecedented scale and many of them irrecoverable. In a zoo in Gambia, there is a cage with a mirror inside beneath which is written - World's Most Dangerous Animal. Our poisoned rivers and atmosphere will not ask whether one is a Kashmiri or an Indian or a Pakistani; acid rain falls on everyone, not selective people; pesticide ridden fruits and crops and chemically contaminated groundwater is not going to differentiate between Hindus and Muslims, Ahmadis or Shias. We need to stop the madness of looking over our shoulder while marching ahead. The future of the human species depends on how much we stop looking at the past and start thinking about the future while trying very hard to better the present.