Srinagar: "I don't want to be a second someone, I want to be the first me" - this is how a 23-year-old ambitious computer engineer, who has become the first Kashmiri to develop an Android application, describes herself on her Facebook page.
The Android application named 'Dial Kashmir' contains over 500 contacts of government and private departments, a one stop source for "essential information".
'Dial Kashmir' contains important contacts of different departments, officials and public utilities and would be of immense help to locals and tourists alike, says Mehvish Mushtaq, who holds a Bachelors (B.E.) in Computer Science.
"I felt a need to develop such an application because unlike outside, where there are many apps and websites which contain such information, Kashmir had none. 'Dial Kashmir' would provide information easily to the people here. There are many users of Android platform-based mobile phones here," Mehvish, a resident of uptown Barzulla in Srinagar, told PTI.
Mehvish claims that the application has witnessed an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 with a thousand plus downloads on Google Play.
Mehvish did an online course of Android application designing in January and put together her skills and desire to develop a "helpful Kashmir-centric application", and with an "actually, I can" attitude - as her display picture on Facebook suggests - developed 'Dial Kashmir'.
"I did this online course at the end of which I had to develop something, as part of the project. It took me about two weeks to develop this application," she said.
"'Dial Kashmir' provides users detailed information like addresses, phone numbers and email addresses of various essential services and other departments in Kashmir. It is a one-stop source of information on healthcare, education, transport, police and many others and one does not need to surf through internet pages, official websites and directories," she said.
A music lover and an ardent Atif Aslam fan, Mehvish says technology fascinates her and her love for "anything tech" was the sole inspiration behind her "dream of developing something which would help the people of my native place".
Mehvish, who did her B.E. from SSM College of Engineering and Technology in Pattan area of north Kashmir's Baramulla district, says girls in Kashmir are "second to none" and "can achieve anything".
"We just have to keep a dream alive and start working towards realising it. We are second to none and once we set on something, we can achieve it," she said.
The response to the application, she says, has been "encouraging".
"Heartening to see a Kashmiri girl develop an android app when everyone claims to be a geek in Kashmir. Good work although app is simple. Keep it up," one Android user, Rais Bhat, who downloaded the app from Google Play, wrote as feedback.
Another user, Wani Kamraan, wrote, "SPEECHLESS..! Well the application should be improved but this work of you should be appreciated by me, by your own people...So 4 stars for your outstanding work and extra one for being citizen as well as sister of me from my Kashmir... Thank You!".
Mehvish says she is now working on making the application "much better" and trying to add "as much detail and information as possible".