Kashmir, often regarded as the ‘heaven on earth’ is a region that is strife with socio-political unrest due to which the youth of Kashmir leaves their hometown looking for opportunities elsewhere. But, there are some whose love for their land and their spirit to work for it does not let them abandon it. Mehvish Mushtaq is one such woman.
After completing her schooling from Presentation Convent School from Srinagar, she faced failure as she could not clear the All India Engineering Entrance Examination (AIEEE). This setback did not dishearten her. Instead, Mehvish was doubly encouraged, and she pursued engineering from a local college in the Baramulla district in northern Kashmir, aspiring to become someone who could help her people in any way she could.
Mehvish had grown up in an atmosphere where violence was routine and the severity of which throttled all possibilities of progress. Also, leading a normal life is not easy in this beautiful valley. This politically charged clime forced the youth in Kashmir to leave for other parts of India where hardships do not mean the death of opportunities. The valley to them represented bleakness, and they could make no sense of a future in the chaos. All possibilities of opportunities seem like a distant mirage that their darkened realities embodied. So, they break away from the valley seeking the chance to fulfill their ambitions and dreams elsewhere.
Mehvish was acutely aware of these same hardships. Although, she felt the injustice in her very bones and suffered from the same issues. Her future did not appear like a bed of roses to her which is ironic to the heavenly ambit that she belonged to. Mehvish, however, did not leave the valley. She persisted in her effort to serve the Kashmiri populace in any way that lay within her power.
Kashmir, unlike other parts of the Indian subcontinent, does not have online portals, websites or yellow pages. Where essential contacts and addresses of the various departments and services in the valley were enlisted. Moreover, Mehvish felt the need to create something to meet this vital need and made these facilities accessible to the Kashmiris. She developed an app called ‘Dial Kashmir’ that has a directory of all such contact details.
Mehvish was always interested in mechanics and creating new things. She had stumbled upon an online course that taught app development once while she was scrolling through her Facebook page. Although, The month-long course introduced her to the processes and methodology of the app development process which Mehvish took to next level by devising an app that enabled people in Kashmir to gain access of all the necessary contact information in the various departments in the government of Kashmir.
This is how ‘Dial Kashmir’ became a single-source solution to all the information regarding healthcare, transport, police, education and other sectors in the government. Although, she devoted two weeks designing the app from scratch without any help from outside. The conceptualization, design, structure, information, etc. were all done by Mehvish herself. Her efforts are lauded today as so many Kashmiris have downloaded the app and it has a rating of 4.7 on 5 on Google Play, which clearly highlights its reliability and utility value.
Mehvish is an inspirational figure. Other than this, a regular student in a space that inhibits imaginative thought. Mehvish was able to break free of such forces and create opportunities for herself. She was determined not to be afflicted by the same desire as her other Kashmiri friends to leave their hometown. So, she remained stationed in her place in the valley and worked towards creating a life. That could be of any service to the land that she called home.
Take away thought: It is not enough to acknowledge your fear and run away from it. It is important to confront it, look it in the eye and tell it that you are not afraid of it. So, go out and get busy.