Roma Wani | Honorary General Secretary, Indian Red Cross Society, J&K
Roma Wani wears many hats. A homeopathy doctor, a skilled administrator (She is a KAS) with important assignments like Health and Family Welfare, Sericulture, World Bank projects, and currently Honorary General Secretary, Indian Red Cross Society, J&K . But the closest to her heart is her role as mentor, friend, philosopher and guide to thousands of people across the state through The Inner Call, a forum she founded for Evolution, Development & Awareness and promoting human values. Having worked in various capacities in the Valley for decades, she has touched many lives with her personal interest to improve a lot of Kashmiris from all walks of life. In a candid chat with our editor Rubina Sushil she speaks about her vision, hope, and aspirations for her beloved Valley and its people.
Do you think development in the state has been slower when compared to other regions in the country?
For development, we have to pay a price. Otherwise, we cannot develop. But if we develop fast it’s not healthy. Some negative things happen when development is fast like substance abuse among youth, social networking which is used in a negative manner, less control of parents. If development was a little slow, we would not feel the harsh results. In J & K I see a definite change in some areas for the better, but in some areas, it’s not so good. Education and literacy are up. On the downside, there is substance abuse amongst the youth which could turn into a big problem in the future.
What in your opinion could be the reason for the people who migrated from the State not wanting to return?
Their reason for not returning is not because there is no love for their motherland. It’s just they are so adjusted to the place they have settled in that they call it home, especially the children who were born outside Kashmir. And because of the children, the parents are unable to come, but they do want to come. Many of them are seen coming for two or more months every year. They have begun to make homes here. If they don’t have the responsibility of children, many of them prefer to return.
What’s your personal opinion about Kashmiris? What makes them special?
Because we are Kashmiris we recognize that simplicity and emotional bond that bind us together. We are a close-knit community that is at a great distance from the rest of the country. Everyone is related. But I can say something like this too, that because we are Kashmiris and are talking about it we become emotional about it. Perhaps if I were a Maharashtrian I would have had the same feeling. But there’s no doubt that there’s a lot of love and hospitality. Also, suffering has brought us together. Tragedies have brought us closer and we have become more compassionate. Our social system has kept us together. This is not there in the rest of the world- of caring and looking after each other. We stuck together and have gone through traumatic times together. People look after each other and don’t even announce it. We support each other in marriages, jobs for children, and difficult times.
You are known to be a spiritual person. Please tell us about it?
Spirituality brings about discipline. I want the youth to adopt it. The world is moving so fast that life is losing its meaning. At the end of the day, we are not even aware that we are here for a temporary period. Nobody has focussed on why are we here. If nothing else, but if we can bring a smile to somebody’s face, we can share problems, we can give space to people to express themselves, what little we can do- we have really lived our lives. We are confused. We have yet to understand what to do, and what not to do. Unless a clarity dawns upon us. At Inner Call, we believe that that dawning has to come from within.
What is the purpose of Inner Call?
I don’t want to bracket Inner Call as an NGO. It’s personal trust. You see everywhere else, people say be Aware, Literate, and Educated. But if you go through the punch line for Inner Call you will see that it is a Forum for Development and Awareness and Evolution. I teach the youth to first introspect. Look within. Understand yourself. Look around. See what’s the development going around in the world. And then make the change.