Daily Archives: September 22, 2017

#Childhoodinkashmir – Mehak Jan

We couldn’t save him. The doctors tried their best but I think he had to go. I did casual jobs in the households around to gather money for my husband’s treatment, we sold all that we owned but in spite of all the efforts he passed away,” Tasleema said while wiping away her tears. Tasleema has 3 children, one of them is Mehak. She is a 2nd grader who studies at the Government Middle school in Lalpora. She wakes up at 7 in the morning and goes to school at 9. She is very studious and according to her teacher she is one of the most active students in class. Tasleema said that girls in their area aren’t encouraged much to continue their studies after the 7th or 8th standard. Most of the girls drop out of school and start doing household work. When they reach a certain age, they are married off. But Tasleema is determined to provide her children with the best education she can manage. She has taken in two of Mehak’s cousins who lost both their parents and treats them like her own children. She further says that Mehak is very smart and ambitious and that she has so many dreams which she wants to fulfil. Mehak loves to play with her friends and spends her time after school to do homework and help her mother in household chores. In spite of all the hardships, love is what binds them together. Kashmir and its childhood has been damaged over the years but Kashmiris still manage to sustain because of the hope they carry in their hearts. Children like Mehak are capable of achieving great heights in life. With so little, they still build big dreams.

#Childhoodinkashmir – Bisma Nasir Ganai

 

I love to study about stars and planets. I am also able to form full sentences in English now,” little Bisma exclaimed with a shy smile. Her spontaneity and curiosity revealed how much she loved to read and write. She wakes up at 5 in the morning, does her morning prayers, gets ready and goes to school at 9. English being her favourite subject has made her fall in love with story books for children. She is a 4th grader at the Government Middle school in Lalpora. Lalpora is a village located close to the LoC in the Lolab area of Kupwara district. Coming from a locality where education for girls is being frowned upon, it is Bisma’s mother, Mubeena, who always encourages her to go to school. Bisma has one younger brother and three younger sisters. They all live in a one room house which is very old and shaby, and has no flooring. When Mubeena’s husband passed away, the entire responsibility came upon her shoulders. Being an illiterate, Mubeena realized the importance of education and left no stones unturned to get her children enrolled in school, as she didn’t want her children to face poverty when they grew up. “When I get free from studies, I help my mother in washing utensils and cleaning the house. I don’t like it when she has to do so much work all alone, so I always help her,” Bisma said.

Sometimes when my children have gone to school, the only thing I fear for is their safety. I get anxious and start praying for their safe return to the house,” Mubeena sighed. She further said that the area they live in comes under high militancy alert and is quite close to the LOC. Bisma is one of those students who comes to school with a pursuit – to learn more and more everyday. Even though there are so many factors pulling her down, Bisma remains ambitious and determined to make her dreams come true.

#Childhoodinkashmir – Affan Shafi

On the outskirts of Srinagar, there lies a government primary school in Dardkhover with a total strength of 47 students. Mr. Bilal is one of the two teachers who manage the students altogether. One such student is Affan Shafi who belongs to Dhara village of Harwan. He is a Kindergarten student and has a baby brother who is less than a year old. His father works as a labourer to make ends meet and to provide Affan with good education. Affan is very shy and reserved. He kept blushing and smiling for every question. But he did answer profoundly when I asked him what he wanted to be. He looked up with his dreamy eyes and said,”Doctor!” – and then with that blush on his cheeks, he looked away shyly. Affan’s mother is worried about his weak eyesight. She said that his eyesight has been weak since birth and that has created many problems for him while growing up. She hopes that his eye condition doesn’t get worse than this. Little Affan likes to study and complete his homework when he gets back home. His school is situated among the peaceful Zabarwan mountains of Kashmir, which has lent a calm environment to the school. It is an irony though, how serene and peaceful these village areas look, yet there is so much turmoil and pain in the air. Little children like Affan, when get exposed to such unpredictable situations, not only does their routine life gets affected, but their battle with emotional imbalance starts then and there.