Afrin Sheikh, student of FD High School in Ahemdabad, is one of the 5 toppers of class X board exams of the Gujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board (GSHSEB). Born during the 2002 horrific mass-killing in Gujarat, she has experienced the struggle of being a Muslim minority. Surviving the communal rights just after birth, the girl had more challenges ahead.
Belonging to Juhapura in Ahmedabad, a place deprived of basic infrastructure and public services, Afrin’s father, Sheikh Mohammad Hanzala, is an auto rickshaw driver who has minimal income. Even with limited or negligible resources, Hanzala supported his daughter to study well. Stating his beliefs, he says, “After 2002, Muslims gave up on liquor trade and other such activities and turned squarely to education. Today for Gujarati Muslims, it’s education, education and education. That’s our focus.”
Acting on the transformation of Muslim minority, this 16 year old scholar has worked hard to place herself in Top 5 and now dreams to become a doctor. “Now, I will study life sciences as I want to become a doctor. Nobody in my family has pursued this career and I am always inspired by the way doctors help the people heal their wounds,” she shares in one of her interviews.