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The army changed Nasreen Bano's life

Last updated on: January 14, 2011 17:08 IST

Nasreen Banoo is a young girl of nine years hailing from the remote village of Kaksar in Kargil district. Kaksar has a predominant Muslim population and is still to be linked to Kargil by a proper road.

Located close to the Line of Control, it has had its share of misery due to Pakistan firing and various wars. Nasreen is the daughter of a poor farmer, Mohammad Ali, who works as a part time labourer.

Sustained efforts by the Army, five years ago, resulted in the father being motivated to send his young daughter to Pune to pursue her education. Nasreen was admitted to Sarhad English Medium School, Pune, as a part of the Army's Sadbhavana project.

This young girl left the village, despite opposition from everyone, including the elderly clerics. She was one of the first girls from Kargil district to have moved to Pune for education.

When asked about the difficulties she faced at Pune, Mohammed Ali became sentimental and said, "Hamare yahan to ladakon ko padhana bahut mushkil hai, phir Nasreen to ek Ladki hai. Hamare pass to itne paise bhi nahin hai. Meharbani hai ki hamari beti wahan achi talim hasil kar rahi hai."

He further added, "Ye sub army walle, Allah ke farishtey se kam nahi hain". He felt he owed it all to the Army, which had taken on the onus, not only for her education, but also her travelling arrangements, day to day requirements, school uniform, books, etc.

Today, as a class six student, she visits her village once a year. She is the only girl in the village, who can read, write, and speak both English and Hindi fluently.

She is well informed and makes her own decisions. She knows that being educated means abiding by certain standards of social behaviour. She plays games and has learnt that sportsmanship is a quality that must be cherished in day to day life.

She is not afraid of speaking the truth and has the greatest regard for law and justice. She is well mannered, sensitive, and smart in dress and deportment. In short, she is the epitome of what a cultured child should be.

In her village, she is an idol for girls her age, including her best friend Zareena who says, "Wo jab bhi baat karti hai to bahut tahzeeb se baat karti hai aur hamme nayi chizon ki jankari deti hai". The efforts of the Army have paved the way for Nasreen's future and have shown a path to the other girls of this region.

Lt Col DB Kar