Pen in hand, I pause and reflect; how I shall write an obituary to Professor Nusrat Andrabi, an eminent educationist and a great teacher. While scrolling through the condolence messages posted by eminent educationists and college principals on social media, Professor Nusrat Andrabi is remembered as straightforward, positive, accomplished educationist; bold, fearless, and a fiery orator who championed the cause of social justice and women emancipation.
She was not someone to be dictated or be intimidated; she had her own mind and her own style of dealing with the crisis situations. As an able administrator she took bold decisions for putting the institution on growth trajectory. On the death of her beloved husband, Prof Amin Andrabi former Director Iqbal Institute, she wrote 9 page tribute in Urdu in his memory which stands published in the book “ Remembering Professor Amin Andrabi”, edited by Prof Taskeena Fazil.
Prof Nusrat and her husband had completed their PhD under the supervision of Professor Aal e Ahmad Suroor. Professor Nusrat quotes it as the golden period of her life. Regarding her husband she wrote, he was a serious scholar, even to prepare a brief lecture note he used to consult wide sources so that best is delivered to the students.
When Professor Rashid Naziki translated Qasida-i-Burdah into Kashmiri, Professor Amin Andrabi and his affectionate life partner Prof Nusrat had it printed for free distribution. Similarly both bore the whole expenses of bringing out a posthumous collection of late Professor Qazi Ghulam Mohammad's poems titled Surat Khanah. Prof Nusrat offered her last prayer on the handmade jai namaaz (sajjadda) and passed away on it in sujood.
Regarding this jai namaaz in her own recorded words she said that it was brought from Baghdad and gifted to her father, Kh Saifuddin, by Kh Akbar Dar of Droobgama.
She was a very strong lady and a fighter who braved many odds in life. She was an ardent champion of Women's rights and as a member of Ehsaas group and People's Environmental Council she delivered tangible results. She played instrumental role in education of weaker sections of the society. Her nucleus of life was concern for others.
Prof Amin had a devoted servant Ghulam Mohammad Dar, lovingly known as Kak, for decades. Prof Andrabi had promised to take Kak for Hajj but untimely death of Prof Amin could not fulfill this dream. Later Prof Nusrat fulfilled her late husband's promise by sending Kak on haj pilgrimage in 2006.
Prof Nusrat had the ingredients of gratitude deeply embedded in her DNA. She was a power house of passion for multifarious activities, always full of energy to do things, helping poor and needy.
She had a cultivated taste for Urdu literature. She never followed the crowd when others were doing so. Once a group of teachers in departmental committee meeting recommended that a particular student should be struck off from the rolls for her severe delinquent acts.
As principal she did not act in haste, prepared a detailed case study of that girl, personally visited her family. She discovered it was parental dispute which had pushed the girl into such behaviour.
She took the delinquency of that girl as a symptom of a curable disease and ensured her retention in college. Prof Nusrat admired her husband as a truly decolonized mind; he never imposed but provided his wife a space for self-expression., and proved a catalyst in her career mobility. Prof Amin in the preface to his PhD thesis titled “Makateeb-i-Iqbal Ka Tanqidi Mutalah” writes; “She is my better half from every point of view, and a dominant partner in all we do”. It was not a customary tribute he paid to his wife, he lived this conviction. To conclude, may Almighty Allah place the blessed souls of Prof Amin and Prof Nusrat in evergreen gardens of paradise. Ameen
Dr Showkat Rashid Wani, Coordinator, Directorate of Distance Education, University of Kashmir