Empowered by Knowledge on Wheels: Kashmiri Girls’ Inspiring Journey from Conflict to Connection

As Nusrat’s eyes welled with tears, she embarked on a transformative journey through the enchanting landscapes of the Kashmir Valley, accompanied by fellow girl students. Initially hesitant to leave their hometown for the Knowledge on Wheels – a transformational education tour – these Kashmiri girls now yearned for an extension of the ephemeral moments spent with newfound friends in Jammu.

The crossing of the Banihal tunnel marked a pivotal experience for them, akin to their inaugural train journey—a source of unbridled joy, as articulated by Hafiza, a girl from North Kashmir. Born in the post-90s era of conflict, these youngsters had known only the harsh realities of gun violence, hartals, and bloodshed. However, the Knowledge on Wheels initiative proved to be a revelation, as they discovered warmth, love, and affection in distant parts of India, dispelling the false narratives they had been fed.

Monisa, a Kashmiri girl, expressed, “The love we received in different parts of India made us feel cherished. The memories of this tour will forever be etched in our hearts and minds.”

Spearheaded by the Jammu and Kashmir government, the Knowledge on Wheels initiative empowered 700 girl students to transcend the borders and boundaries of their classrooms, revealing the vibrant and developed tapestry of India. Back home, these students carry cherished memories of their two-week journey, visiting reputed institutions and historic places across the country.

According to Umesh Rai, Vice Chancellor of Jammu University, “Such visits play a pivotal role in strengthening the bonds of unity and a sense of camaraderie among the students and also helps in shaping their personality.”

This visionary endeavor aspires to foster a culture of idea incubation, innovation, and skill development, aligning with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s transformative vision from job seekers to job creators.

The 15-day tour exposed these girls to various facets of India’s prowess in science, technology, and defense, offering a profound contrast to the years spent witnessing gun violence. For many, the thrill of train travel was a novel experience, reaching new heights as they explored aircraft carriers, submarines at the naval dockyard, visited ISRO, and beheld the new Parliament.

Returning home, these girls carry the ambassadorial mantle of peace and development, poised to inspire fellow youngsters to forsake the path of violence and channel their energies in the right direction. The Knowledge on Wheels initiative has not only bridged the psychological gap but has also initiated a meaningful dialogue between Kashmiri students and youth from other parts of India, fostering emotional connections and opening new horizons for a brighter future.”

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