Spare the ladles and kitchen knives, pick up books and pen, and script a resounding win. Kashmiri woman Sabrina Khaliq, a mother of three, devoted 10 years of her married life to the household and her family, and then last year decided to resume her studies. As it turns out, she scored 93 per cent in her class 10 board examinations.
Sabrina had quit her studies after marriage to look after her family in Kupwara. She lives with her in-laws consisting of her husband’s parents, his three sisters, and her own three kids. Her two daughters are aged 8 and 6 and he son is a toddler.
“I was waiting for the kids to grow up. Last year, after a gap of 10 years, I decided to resume my studies,” she said, adding that the family supported her wholeheartedly. “My mother-in-law got the board application for class 10 and told me to fill it and I did so. Since last year, I had spared some time to prepare. This year I was declared successful,” she said.
Sabrina was helped by her sister and three sisters-in-law, all four graduates, to prepare for the board examinations. Her husband, who is a teacher, taught her mathematics and she seemed to have grasped the lessons well.
“She was weak in maths but my lessons have apparently worked well,” Sajad Ahmad Dar, her husband, told News 18. “I am very proud of her. We married at a very young age and she devoted the last 10 years to my family. I was feeling bad but then her time has come,” he said, sounding smug. The two married in 2012 after a love affair. “We were very young,” he said.
Sabrina appeared as a private candidate and got creditable marks, a feat that is rare in the Awoora village where she lives with her family. Awoora is a remote area in frontier Kupwara village where the figures for female education are among the lowest in Jammu and Kashmir.
“I was feeling a bit awkward to tell people I passed the class 10 exams yesterday, but since I am being applauded, I am confident.
Initially preparing for the exams was tough because she had lost touch with books and had to juggle taking care of her small kids, household chores, and studies.
“It was tough to manage things and squeeze out time, but I was more determined to return to the books,” she said.
Sabrina had last touched her books in 2012, as a class 9 student. But she got married next when she was in her late teens. The young bride was happy at her new home but leaving studies midway would always rankle.
For the next 10 years, the responsibility of running the show at home kept her busy but the hope to restart her education never died in her. In fact, she became more determined.
Support came from her husband first and then her in-laws who shared her work and enthusiasm.
“I never thought it would be this easy. I picked up books and started reading in the evening. It was challenging initially but then I coped with the syllabus,” she recalled.
She wrote all her five papers and astonishingly scored 467 out of 500, or 93.4 per cent. She got A1 grades in four out of five subjects: Maths, Urdu, Science, and Social Science.
Kupwara district magistrate Doifode Sagar Dattatray told News18 that the district administration takes note of people who continue their education after breaks. “We are looking to felicitate her. She needs to be encouraged. We will make her a brand ambassador for all those who have discontinued education for some reason and might restart it. She will be a good example for adult education,” he said.
Ajaz Hakak, joint secretary, Jammu and Kashmir board of secondary education (JKBOSE), said he will suggest to the board to encourage her.