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From Kargil to Kannur: A Child's Journey

George Iype in Kannur

Seven years ago, when he was six years old, Ishfaque Shafi from Dras in Kargil saw war at close quarters.

The sound and fury of the India-Pakistan conflict in Kargil remained engraved on the little boy's mind. He had difficulty sleeping. The war drained his self-confidence. He was always irritable. And he was scared to attend the Army Goodwill School in Karu, traveling 25 kilometres daily.

No longer is Ishfaque a terrified child.

He and four other children from the conflict zone in Kashmir are playing around in the peaceful environment of the Chinmaya Vidyalaya in northern Kerala's Kannur town.

"I feel I am in a foreign country," a delighted Ishfaque told "Here I play football. I am learning English. And I am going to learn swimming also."

Sikander Ali from Kargil is happy because he no longer hears gunfire.

"We hear the laughter of our classmates here. We can study in peace," he says.

Ishfaque, Sikander and three friends from Leh -- Jigmath Shamsthan, Settan Angmo and Sering Thashi -- became resident students at the Chinmaya Vidyalaya in Kannur from June 1.

Image: From left to right: Jigmath, Sikander, Settan, Ishfaque and Sering.

Photographs: Rajesh Prasad

Also See: Kargil's first hero


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