“We will manage something here only and will not leave this place again,” he says.
“I want to be a doctor but more than me it is a dream of people around me,” Zonia says looking at her mother and both of them smile.
She presently is preparing for the common entrance test of J&K and wants to continue with her dream of becoming of a doctor. But this year she cannot appear in the exam as her documentation are not yet complete. This year she has to sit at home.
Preparing for her exams, she looks a bit disturbed with the course offered here. She has to go through the course books of 11th and 12th standards prescribed by JKBOSE. These books are completely new for Zonia.
“In Kashmir, things are made very complicated for children!” Zonia opines. “Here quality of the course offered is not impressive at all because the same basic lessons and concepts are excessively repeated without any need. It is nothing but a burden for a student”.
Besides Shabir, the one who seems to be most excited about coming to Kashmir is their youngest daughter, Falak. She is in class 2 and has been excited about moving to other place, her mother says. “She has no idea of what is happening.”
The little girl, Falak, is the only one among the children who is hardly facing any adjustment and admission problems. “I like to live here, I made many friends, all the girls studying in my class are my friends,” she says innocently, smiles and joins her grandfather. They were playing in another room.
Falak along with her two sisters Mahnoor and Insha is attending a nearby school.
They look quite satisfied with the response their teachers are giving them but say they face problems in understanding the lectures. “In Pakistan we speak a bit differently, our accent and diction differs and these kids face difficulties in understanding their lectures,” says Zonia. But the problem is manageable, she adds.
Insha and Mahnoor, both are admitted in 9th standard. Insha in Pakistan had passed 8th standard but Mahnoor was about to appear in 10th class exams and is here demoted to 9th. She looks very disappointed while talking about her studies.
Zaitoona says Mahnoor had resisted coming to Kashmir, she had suggested delaying this trip but Shabir disagreed.
Mahnoor, though hesitant to talk, says “Whatever I have already read, I am asked to re-read and that is depressing”.
Mahnoor and Insha says subjects like English, Urdu, maths and science are still quite manageable but the history, geography and civics are changed altogether.
The national heroes, leaders, constitutions and even locations on the globe are changed.
“The history we are reading this time is completely alien to us. Till 8th standard we were told one thing and now we are asked to read something completely different. It is very difficult to manage and is frustrating,” says Mahnoor, and Insha agreeing to her kept on facilitating her with words.
In Pakistan Jinnah was the hero, now it is all about Mahatma Gandhi here, they say.
“One can easily understand their condition; they are bouncing between two enemy nations,” says Zaitoona.
Their other sister Uzma who in Pakistan was studying in 12th standard is finding it difficult to adjust in any educational institution, both private and government. She has been asked to join 11th standard here.
“If we are providing relevant and valid documents why are they hesitant to consider my daughter,” asks Zaitoona.
She adds, “The state has not got enough vacancies to adjust their own children, how are they going to adjust my children? The children of my in-laws and our neighbours here have to move to Delhi and Pune to attain education, they were not adjusted here anywhere”.
The problem of their children’s settlement has not allowed Dar family to move around in Kashmir.
Among kids it is Mahnoor, Insha and Falak who move out of their homes, most of the times it is a journey to their school. Uzma in these six months has moved out once and Zonia twice that too to her sibling’s school.