Part of the success story involved learning her lessons outside Delhi's Tihar jail, waiting to meet her father.
"When you go to Tihar, you are made to wait for four to five hours. Then, we could communicate for 20 minutes, that too not face to face but on the microphone. I used to say I have waited for five hours, I have my CBSE exams, let me take my book inside but they never allowed. So until the jail gates opened, I used to study outside," Sama told NDTV.
Shabir Shah has spent nearly half his life, around 30 years, in jails. Last year, he was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate for his alleged involvement in a money laundering case and has been in Tihar jail since.
Sama says she has been traumatised by the experience, especially when the investigators questioned her mother several times. All of this was aggravated by the constant strikes when schools were closed for days together.
Sama credits her mother for much of her academic success. Dr Bilquees, a doctor by profession has raised her two daughters almost single handedly, ensuring their father's politics did not distract them from their studies
"We faced lot of psychological and physical trauma this year. I always believed that she would do well. She has been a brilliant student and this time she has really made us proud," said Dr Bilquees.
Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has congratulated Sama, calling her an inspiration for the state's youth.
Congratulations to Sama Shabir Shah for securing 97.8% marks in the class 12th class examination. Her hard work & determination has helped her overcome all odds & she is truly an inspiration for the youth of our state.— Mehbooba Mufti (@MehboobaMufti) May 26, 2018
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