After a difficult visa process, bouts of violence and four years of hard work, Nadia Mehr Din has completed her PhD in history from the University of Kashmir, Srinagar. She is the first Pakistani woman to have completed the doctorate from Indian-administered Kashmir under the South Asia Foundation (SAF) programme, report Kashmiri newspapers.
Her dissertation was titled “The Development of Science, Technology, Arts and Language during the Sultanate Period in Kashmir”, under the supervision of Prof Gulshan Majeed, Institute of Kashmir Studies and she received her degree on December 9.
In an interview to Greater Kashmir, Nadia said, “I have been here for four years. And the love and affection people gave to me, I can never forget.” She is in awe of Kashmir and its beauty. “In Pakistan, we don’t refer to Kashmir as Kashmir, but as Jannat-e-Benazir or paradise.”
When residents found out that she was a Pakistani, they “poured so much love and affection”, she told the Rising Kashmir daily.
She was also surprised to see the overwhelming support for the Pakistani cricket team.
However, Nadia’s endeavour to go to Indian-administered Kashmir and attain a doctorate was no easy feat. The visa process was so difficult that she was only allowed to visit her home in Lahore twice in the four years. She was also caught in between some stone pelting in Hazratbal and witnessed the many shutdowns and curfews. “But despite all this, the standard of education in Srinagar is so high,” she said.
Nadia dedicates her PhD to her cousin, brother and the late sister, Asiya, who had helped her a lot during the bureaucratic hurdles in securing the visa.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 15th, 2013.