Jammu: The schoolchildren in Jammu and Kashmir have a familiar face in their textbooks now, that of Naval officer Waheeda Prism.
The officer from Thanamandi village in Rajouri district created history by becoming the first woman in the country to lead an armed forces parade, a feat that has now made it to NCERT textbooks.
Waheeda is now a role model for these children. "When I read about her, I felt so good that she is from a small village who has achieved so much," Vanshika Shaniyala, a young student in Jammu, says.
What the children read is a real life story: of how Waheeda fought against all odds in a terror-hit village in Rajouri to educate herself and how she finally led four platoons in an armed forces parade last year. Waheeda easily inspires these young minds.
"When she commanded the parade, there was a Class 8 girl in our village, who had left school. Her name was also Waheeda and had been forced to do household work. After seeing her, she insisted on returning to books," Hajra Kousar, Waheeda Prism's mother, recalls.
And educationists in the state feel that it is these real-life heroes, and not the reel-life ones, can make a difference.
"Mostly the blame is that education is not related to life. But when they have real heroes in their book, this is the real inspiration," Puspa Chawla, Principal of JK Public School, observed.
From a small village in Rajouri to classrooms all over the country, this real-life hero is today inspiring may young lives. And hers is a journey that would always be remembered not only by defence officer Waheeda Prism but many of the new generation Kashmiris.