Where is Bahrain Heading

Two news features which caught my eyes and kept me thinking for quite a few days. Both very diverse and both affecting the future of this island kingdom. First the good one.

There is going to be a farmers market in the Bahrain International Garden Show. Farmers market? That was the question that first popped into my mind. To my knowledge, vegetables are imported from Asia mostly or from neighbour-Saudi Arabia. So it was heartening to note that most of the vegetables are being locally produced now.Tomatoes, brinjal, cabbages, zucchini, cucumber, onion are being organically produced locally . Some fruits too like blackberries, papaya, jujubes. For an island dependent on desalinated water, this is mighty impressive. Farmers at Al Burhama have also started flower cultivation. Flower cultivation include dahlia, freesias, gladioli etc. This is apart from the usual dates and bee cultivation for date syrup and honey respectively. Government Agencies are giving full support for such ventures. The thing to note is the zeal of the people to cultivate. When compared to the situation in India where increasingly agricultural land is being converted to housing or factory sites, this is impressive indeed. From a country which was previously almost entirely dependent on imports for its fruit/vegetable needs to a country on the path of self reliance; hats off to Bahrain.

The second news item which caught my eye is of a solemn nature. Following a spate of student violence which includes the bomb throwing incident on an expats car ( who later succumbed to injuries) and the protest which ended in havoc, The Ministry of Education is proposing a ‘Zero Tolerance’ rule wherein any student found guilty will be expelled from school. Not only that he will not be getting admission in any other school. But will such a rule be effective?

Rather than imposing such a rule won’t it be better to find out the cause of such unrest and address them. Zero tolerance will just make these youngsters more intolerant. Is the education system faulty, is it not serving its purpose or are they angry because they feel expats are taking away their rightful jobs. these are the questions to be asked.

Teenagers have a lot of hyper energy which need to be channelised, encourage sports, literary activities, cultural activities. Actually speaking teenagers here have better facilities when compared to other nations. Its just a matter of guidance. In my opinion we need counselling centres, career guidance cells. And more important we need people who are patient and tolerant enough to guide these teenagers. Rest will follow. And of course there need to be correction centres too. There might be such centres here but I am not aware of them.

So on the one hand we have a Bahrain which is trying to be self sufficient in its basic needs. And on the other hand we have young insecure people. Its time now to give direction to their lives and head to a better tomorrow.

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