Nooha Sazili, 13, given her age, has seen less militancy than most Kashmiri women. But what she has seen has scarred her deeply.
Nooha, who lives with her mother Muslim Jan in Barazulla, an upscale locality in Srinagar, is part of what is called the post-militancy generation. What is there to celebrate, remarks Nooha, “when Kashmiri women are caught between right and wrong”. She adds: “Some women have lost their husbands, some their sons and some don’t even know where their loved ones are.”
The class VII student bemoans the lack of opportunities for Kashmiri women. “I’ve been to Mysore and New Delhi many times. And I saw such a big gap between us and women in other states. A large chunk of Kashmiri women is simply unaware of developments taking place in India.”
A teenager she may be but Nooha is firm in her views. Though she likes India (“It is a good country”), she is quick to say she doesn’t hate Pakistan. “I’m not knowledgeable enough to comment on what the people of Kashmir actually want. But I believe fighting for your rights is in no way wrong,” she adds.
Her mother, Professor Muslim Jan, admits: “I have no answer to some of my daughter’s questions.”
She remarks, “In every conflict zone, women bear the brunt. We could have produced a Mother Teresa, a Kiran Bedi or a Barkha Dutt too. But in this situation, it seems not only difficult but impossible.”