‘I could have done far better if I hadn’t been blinded by pellets’
Sedow (Shopian): Insha Mushtaq, the girl completely blinded by pellets while she was inside her home in Shopian during the 2016 uprising, has passed her Class 10 Board exams, despite a clerical error depriving her of marks in one subject. Her marksheet shows she has been given no grade for Mathematics, which has brought down her CGPA (average grade), even though she never appeared for the Mathematics exam but sat in the exam for the Music subject. The Jammu & Kashmir Board of School Education (BOSE) has remarked on her marksheet: ‘Qualified but to improve’.
Before her eyesight was taken away by pellets, Insha had scored 85 percent marks in Class 8 exams.
Insha was watching street protests from the window of her home in Sedow village of Shopian on July 12, 2016, when pellets fired by government forces struck her right on the face, blinding her in both eyes. The teenage girl wanted to become a doctor and even after she was blinded, she said she would try her best to become one.
Insha told Kashmir Reader that she could have done far better in the exams if she had not been blinded by pellets. “I was expecting more, having worked hard for the exams, but you know what pellets did to me. After the injuries I was not able to study. I was allowed to have a writer in the exams and she did her best. She wrote faster than I dictated,” Insha said.
Mushtaq Ahmad, father of Insha, said his family was happy that Insha had cleared her exams.
Mushtaq also said that Insha had never appeared in the Mathematics paper but had sat in the exam for Music. He said that the Board had allowed her to choose the subject of Music instead of Mathematics. He said there seemed to be an error in the marksheet which does not mention Music but instead lists Mathematics as one of her subjects and gives her no marks for it.
“I will try every means to continue her studies. I am happy to see her clearing the board exams despite her blindness,” he said.
Insha is allowed to re-appear in the paper for which she has not been given any marks, according to the Board’s rules. But she should be able to receive her due marks in the Music subject when the error in the marksheet is rectified.
Locals came to congratulate Insha and her family after news spread that she had passed the exam.
The examination helper (writer) Insha was assigned was a student of a lower class, selected by the authorities to write her papers on the basis of dictation.
Mushtaq said that three tutors had been teaching Insha by reading out loud and Insha was memorising the lessons. She also used to record the lessons to memorise them later.
Apart from being blinded in both eyes, Insha also suffered from the pellets brain and skull injuries, from which she took a long time to recover. After months of treatment at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, and at Aditya Jyot Eye Hospital Mumbai and some other hospitals for her brain injuries, she returned home in February 2017. A Board officail told Kashmir Reader that the error in Insha’s mark card would be rectified. “It happened because she changed the subject after she was blinded and we couldn’t update it online,” said the official.