Inspiration

Dr Afifa Qazi is an alumnus of the Government Medical College, Srinagar and has made a significant contribution to mental health services in the UK.

Dr. Qazi graduated from the Govt Medical College, Srinagar in 1995 and moved to the UK where she pursued a career in Psychiatry. She is currently working as the Chief Medical Officer for a large mental health organization in Kent and Medway, UK. She has made significant, and high-impact contributions to mental health services in the UK. Over the years, Dr. Qazi has received numerous awards in recognition of her work, including the Academic Health Science Network Health Innovation Award for her work in dementia (2014), and the HSJ award (2016), the most esteemed accolade of healthcare service excellence in the UK.

Dr. Qazi developed an innovative and highly successful model of community care for dementia which reduces hospital admissions and the length of stay for people suffering from that disorder. Her work has received recognition from the Department of Health in the UK, and internationally from healthcare organizations in other countries, e.g. Japan, which sent a team to the UK to study her methods and replicate them in their services.

She is a sought-after speaker at national and International conferences in Psychiatry and has numerous peer-reviewed publications in prestigious academic journals to her credit.

Dr. Qazi is working on setting up a partnership with her fellow professionals in Kashmir to share good practices, and offer her support to continuing professional development and innovation in healthcare service delivery.

 


Getting bound to a wheelchair after a tragic accident could spiral anyone’s life downward. But not of Inshah Bashir. The gritty girl from Kashmir went on to become the first wheelchair basketball player from the state. Her life journey is nothing short of inspiration.

Early Childhood

Inshah Bashir was born in the Budgam District of Beerwah in Kashmir. Growing up, she loved studying and playing cricket with her siblings. Life was good, glowing with a renewed mirth. But, fate had other plans for her. When she was 15, she met with a gruesome accident – a foul play of fate. She had already been diagnosed with gastric ulcers and suffered oral bleeding.

Feeling light-headed and weak from the same, she came back home and went to her house’s balcony, feeling nauseous and dizzy. Vomiting blood, she lost her balance and fell from the balcony, resulting in a severe spinal injury. She underwent spinal cord surgery, but it didn’t bore any fruit. She was unable to walk and a lack of professional medical help and service at the time tied her to a wheelchair permanently. 

The Sudden Change

The traumatic event had a profound impact on Inshah. The girl who would wildly roam around, playing cricket and volleyball all day, was immobile. Constant rebuttals from relatives made her journey worse. She was dependent on the family – both physically and financially. One of her relatives even went to the extent of telling her that she should have died in the accident. Every door of hope seemed shut for her as she spent eight years of her life bedridden, enclosed in her room.

But, her spirit didn’t diminish. For Inshah the biggest challenge was to accept that she is wheelchair-bound now, has lost mobility, was hanging with a sliver of hope and yet had to reinvent herself. And the reinvention came in full as her enthusiasm for the sport came back.

Overcoming the Setback

During her rehabilitation, at the Shafqat Rehabilitation Center in the valley, she met many with a fate as her – or worse – who were utilizing sports like Basketball to redeem what fate had taken away from them – the chance to feel alive again. The chance to move and play. Insha describes it as a life-changing moment because playing games made her life busy and also helped her in maintaining her mental and physical state up to a certain extent. 

And since then, the sport of Basketball has been with her, every turn of the hour. The Kashmiri sportsperson stated that once she’d overcome initial hesitation, she found the game to be enjoyable, and convenient and suitable to partake in, from a wheelchair. She found the game very interesting and was pushed by the enthusiasm of representing her state Jammu & Kashmir, as a consequence of which, she motivated and inspired others in the valley to overcome their inhibitions and impediments and take up sporting pursuits.

The journey to success for Inshah Bashir

She says “It is my path which motivates me to prove my potential to the world. Basketball as a sport has a huge role in making me strong”. But her challenges were not limited to her. Along with her disability, Inshah had to stand strong in a game that was mostly dominated by men. Moreover, the lack of sports facilities for the specially-abled in the region and lack of support and incentives has come as appalling. But she came out on top, to become the first female wheelchair basketball player from Kashmir. Inshah Bashir even got an invitation from U.S. Consulate to participate in the prestigious Sports Visitor Program in 2019 and is also a member of the Rest Of India Women’s basketball team.

Bigger Plans

Presently, Inshah’s core passion is to excel in this game. She aspires to become a captain of her basketball team. Moreover, she wants to become a ray of hope for those who have accepted their disability as their destiny. Her story poses strong evidence for this resolve. Inshah’s story might have started ordinarily, but her willpower has brought out the extraordinaire in it. Let it become a renewed moral for all – disabled and abled alike. We realise that disability is not just physical, it often resorts to a state of mind too.

“My wheels are my wings,” says Inshah Bashir when asked about her continuous source of motivation. It fuels her purpose in life even after facing deterrents and shortcomings. This is where her attachment of willpower to a sport plays out beautifully. Inshah gives us hope; hope in the fact that life is like a sport. Even if you might have lost the first round, there are plenty more to catch up, fight, and come out on top. All we have to do is play and not bow down.

Inayat Farooq, 21, a two times senior national player in Hockey . Sports journey is my Best journey. Inayat Farooq belongs to Kralpora Central Kashmir Srinagar. 2016, was the year when she  played her first senior Nationals in Banglore .After that in 2017, Inayat got selected for certificate course  through prime minister special package in health and fitness sports authority of India NS,NIS Patiala India. After completing the course J&K state sports council of J&K appointed her as a fitness trainer in Bakshi stadium Srinagar on contractual basis.

In2018, Inayat Farooq played second senior national in hockey held in Ranchi, Jharkhand . She played much more hockey tournaments 7-A side, 5-A side in Kashmir and always  won. Moreover she also remained an all time captain of the team . She played snow festival ice hockey in Gulmarg. One national in ball hockey at Chandigarh and become a runner up in nationals.

Inayat Farooq has also played All India Inter-university Judo Championship in Chandigardh through university of Kashmir.

Inayat had already taken part in many sports disciplines like Kho Kho, Martial Art, Yoga, shooting ball, floor ball, ball hockey etc.

Inayat farooq is equally proud of her father, who despite all odds and societal pressures provided all possible facilities and supported her daughter.

Besides her mother, the whole family is being very supportive throughout her journey.

Inayat farooq said;
“One thing I love in sports is discipline. our brain dumps everything, once you are in the game,” she adds.

‘I live in the central kashmir and during turmoil it becomes difficult to Me to go outside,but i always make it a point not to miss my practice,’ says inayat farooq despite performing well in her field.

Inayat farooq argues that there are no such facilities or coaches to improve our skills or during harsh winter we miss our practice and if state sport councils conducts a coaching camps in Jammu in winter we improve more our skills. She gives the credit to her coach,” Mr. JS Mehta who is HOD of physical department in Womens Collage M.A road srinagar also Miss Nuzhat Ara she is the DSO divisional sports officer in Kashmir, Satinder Singh who is a chief hockey coach in J&K. She is also very thankful to JK Hockey’s Association that they guided her.

Inayat Farooq further goes on saying that it wouldn’t have been possible for her to win these awards or to learn the game without his guidance or practice.

Her family is superbly supporting her. She aims to represent India and wants to be the first female coach of J&K and a best player of J&K.

Rejecting Gun culture, Owais Yaqoob won 11 gold medals at national, 17 at state level

Owais yaqoob, instead of romanticism with gun culture chose to bring laurels to his state and set an inspirational tale for the youth of Kashmir. Owais brought numerous medals at the state and national level, a youth from South Kashmir was recently declared as the second-best mixed martial art player in the country by All India Mixed Martial Art Federation (AIMMAF).

Owais Yaqoob, 22, belongs to Murran village of South Kashmir’s Pulwama district. He had so far won 11 gold medals at a national level, six silver medals at the national level besides 17 gold medals at the state level in different forms of martial art.

Owais was passionate about martial art since childhood and from 2013 he started taking part in competitions.

In year 2013, in a very first competition, Owais managed to bag gold medal, on basis of which he got opportunity to represent J&K at national level where he brought laurels by winning dozens of medals.

“After playing at national level at various places, I joined mixed martial arts camping with different coaches in different states of India,” he said, adding that, after attending camps, he started taking parts in mixed martial arts fights.

“So far I have won 11 gold medals at national level, six silver medals and 17 gold medals at state level and officials at All India Mixed Martial Art Federation declared me as the second best mixed martial art player of India,” he said.

Besides medals, based on my performance, I have received titles like ‘Best Fighter Boy’ in 28 states besides ‘Champion of Champions’ in 2018 in Jammu and Kashmir, he said.

Owais says since 2015 he has taught over 200 youth the different forms of martial arts and among them many have represented J&K at the national level and even won gold medals.

Owais said that to stay away from drug and anti-social activities, there is a need to get involved in sports and martial arts and in order to teach the youth of Pulwama district and keep them away from drugs, he has come with academy namely Lion’s Den.

He said that youth of J&K aren’t so much interested in martial arts like he saw outside J&K due to lack of infrastructure, however, new centres are coming up and new forms of martial arts like Juijitsu are being taught at these centres.

Owais claims that Juijitsu and other forms of martial art are only being taught at his centre and people interested in martial arts must work hard and show consistency and one day they will be champions.

Mohammad Arif Khan qualified and secured his position in the games during the alpine skiing event in Dubai.

Advisor to Lieutenant Governor, Farooq Khan congratulated Arif Khan, Sports council and Youth Services Sports Department for the feat and hoped that his performance in Beijing Winter Olympics will be medal winning. He said that creation of world class sporting infrastructure with training and coaching facilities has started showing results and more and more players are getting selected for National and International sports events.

He will represent India at Beijing in the Slalom event. In 2011, he had won two gold medals – in the slalom and giant slalom Alpine Skiing- at the South Asian Winter Games, the only edition held thus far.

Skiing was always in his blood. Mohammad Arif born on 3 March 1990 is 31 years old Kashmiri skier, grew up in Gulmarg, Jammu and Kashmir, a major tourist destination known for its snowy weather. “As a children we used to play football and cricket, but there was no playground around us,” Arif told. “Skiing was only convenient sport for us.” Mohammad Arif Khan turned to competitive skiing when he was 10 years old and steadily rose up the ladder.

Arif made his international debut for India when he was 16 at a junior international ski federation (FIS) event in Yomase, Japan. He finished 23rd in the giant slalom.

In 2011, Mohammad Arif Khan won two gold medals – in the slalom and giant slalom – at the South Asian Winter Games, the only edition held thus far.

Mohammad Arif Khan’s first taste of the FIS World Ski Championships came in 2013. The Indian alpine skier finished 59th in the slalom and 91st in the giant slalom and was unable to move past the qualification stage.

Since then, Arif has taken part in three more world championships, with his best result being 45th in the giant slalom at the 2021 edition in Italy. It was the first time he qualified for the final in any world championship event.

Beijing Winter Olympics 2022 is scheduled to be held from February 4 to 20.

The Jammu and Kashmir bowler hadn’t played with a cricket ball until he was 17. Now he’s in the IPL, and bowling in the nets for India at the T20 World Cup.
India soon,” Umran Malik wrote in his Instagram bio in 2018. He was 18, part of the Jammu & Kashmir Under-19 squad, and had started playing leather-ball cricket just a year before. He was still to get a game in the Cooch Behar Trophy, but his bowling in a practice session left India’s U-19 selectors stunned.
They had come to visit Vaishno Devi Mandir,” Malik says. “They saw me bowling in nets on a cement wicket and asked, ‘Who are you? You are bowling so fast! Why are you not playing matches?'”

The selectors approached a J&K U-19 coach and advised him to give Malik a game. It was the first time Malik realised that he could make it big.

Last month Malik, now 21, became only the fourth cricketer from J&K to play in the IPL. As soon as he ran in to bowl in his opening game, for Sunrisers Hyderabad, the speedometer came into focus. He touched 150kph several times in his spell. In his second match, he bowled the fastest delivery by an Indian in the tournament’s history – 152.95kph.

Umran hailing from a family of modest means in Jammu’s Gujjar Nagar, Malik began playing at a young age. His father, Abdul Rashid, a fruit-seller in Shaheedi Chowk, his mother and two older sisters, were all supportive of his passion.

“After playing in school during the day, he would leave the bag at home and go to play cricket in the evening as well,” says Rashid. “I used to tell him, ‘Play cricket but pay some attention to studies as well.’ I never refused to buy equipment or other things for him.”

Malik’s long, steady run-up and smooth, explosive jump had commentators and fans liken his action to that of Waqar Younis. “I used to bowl fast from the very beginning,” he says. “I had a natural action. I didn’t copy it from anyone.”

At 17 he ventured beyond gully cricket, into competitive tennis-ball tournaments around Jammu. The matches usually took place in the evenings and drew big crowds. Batters relished these games – ten overs an innings, short boundaries – but Malik’s pace often stole the spotlight.

“Every team wanted him in their side,” says Raman Thaploo, a J&K cricketer who has watched Malik’s cricket journey closely.

His growing popularity in tennis-ball cricket made him give leather-ball cricket a try. In his very first local match with a cricket ball, in 2017, he hit some huge sixes and bowled a fiery spell.

He had just bowled a couple of balls when Ram Dayal, a senior J&K cricketer, walked in. He stopped at the nets and watched for a while. “He [Dayal] asked, ‘Who’s this guy? He has raw talent and bowls around 135 to 140kph,'” Manhas says.

Manhas asked his new pupil to come to the stadium daily. While much about Malik was in place, Manhas worked on a couple of things. “He was a natural talent. Usually players with Cosco [tennis-ball] background are quick through the air.

“However, his jump and landing weren’t that perfect, so I worked with him on it. Later, when Irfan Pathan came here [as J&K mentor], he too helped him a bit.”

Another player who practised at that ground was Abdul Samad, younger than Malik but a more seasoned cricketer, who would go on to play for J&K and Sunrisers Hyderabad before Malik. The two began training together every day. “I knew Samad earlier but we became best friends in 2018,” says Malik. “We’re now more like brothers.”

Malik’s career was still not quite on track. When he went for the J&K U-19 trials, he was in for a surprise. “I was told that I haven’t played at district level, so I can’t appear in the trials.”

Still, he decided to show up again the next day. “I went to nets and as they didn’t know whether I had played district or not, I started bowling. I just bowled one ball and the selector came to me and said, ‘You will be in the team, don’t worry. Just keep yourself ready.'”

He played his first match here at Jammu,” Thaploo remembers. “When he bowled the very first ball, it went above the keeper’s head after bouncing. Umpires were stunned. They asked him if he had played any nationals before.”

The following year, Malik was rejected at the U-23 trials. In February 2020, Samad, now a part of J&K Ranji Trophy team, met the J&K U-23 team coach to plead Malik’s case. It was Samad, too, after being picked by Sunrisers Hyderabad for the 2020 IPL, who suggested Malik’s name to the franchise as a net bowler. “I told Samad to send my videos to them,” says Malik.

Soon Malik was in the Sunrisers camp, surprising elite batters with his pace. On one occasion Kedar Jadhav asked him whether he was in the team or a net bowler. On another, Thaploo recalls proudly: “He was bowling very fast to Jonny Bairstow in the nets, and he told him to bowl a bit slow. However, as Malik doesn’t understand English much, he continued bowling fast. Then someone from the SRH camp came to him and said, ‘He is asking you to bowl a bit slow, you’re bowling too fast!'”

Malik’s impressive show as net bowler in the 2020 IPL prompted the franchise to continue with him in 2021. In September this year, during the second leg of the competition, he received a call from the state cricket association, asking him to report back to Jammu for Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy trials. Instead he found himself included in the Sunrisers team as a short-term replacement for T Natarajan, who had tested positive for Covid-19 in Dubai.

“Alhamdulillah, I was included in the team, else I had to travel back the next day,” says Malik. “It was an amazing feeling.”

Once Sunrisers had lost the race to the playoffs, they provided Malik an opportunity in the playing XI, against Kolkata Knight Riders. He had just bowled three balls when the cricketing world started asking: who is this guy?

Malik clocked 150kph in his very first over, and a couple more times in the game. He was, until then, unaware of the speeds he bowled at.

“I thought I could bowl around 140-145kph max. I hadn’t checked my pace before playing in IPL,” he says. “Making my debut in the IPL and performing well in the first match was the most special moment of my life.”

In the next game, against Royal Challengers Bangalore, Malik went a step further by bowling the second-fastest delivery of IPL 2021 – the 152.95kph-ball. At the post-match presentation, Virat Kohli spoke in support of the youngster: “Whenever you see talent like this, you are going to have your eyes on them and make sure you maximise their potential.”

“I really felt proud on seeing such a big player talking about me,” says Malik. “Nobody knew me a day before and now the world was talking about me.”

Back home, Abdul Rashid’s phone didn’t stop ringing after his son’s IPL debut. From journalists turning up at his house and shop to relatives paying congratulatory visits, it was a busy week for him and his family.

“Not only my family but whole Jammu-Kashmir and India is happy after seeing his bowling,” says Rashid emotionally. “His hard work has paid off.”

On the basis of his IPL outing, Malik was included in the Indian contingent as a net bowler for the T20 World Cup. While pace is his major weapon, he can also generate swing into right-hand batters, and likes the bouncer. He is working to improve his skills, and is focusing on his yorker.

“My first dream would be to see our team lifting the World Cup,” he says. “I will try to bowl well in the nets and impress selectors, so that they pick me for any of the future series, Inshallah.”

That “India soon” bio could become reality sooner than expected.

Dowry is common evil in every society, whether a Hindu, Buddhist or Muslim. Wealth was never shared equally, so are the opportunities attached to catch it more. There are thousands of families that have marriage-ready daughters lying inside, they are limp in the providence of dowry along with the daughters. Early marriage delays the tendency of psychological illness, depression and anxiety. Notedly, the rising cases of suicide, depression and drug abuse are shoots of the same social evil that had trodden the dreams of many adults.
The Baba Wayil village of District Ganderbal situated around 35 kilometres from Srinagar with a population of 1000 people consisting of around 175-200 households, has set an example for the society after announcing dowry as a social evil and banning the same in the entire village. The villagers have taken the decision four decades ago and are following the same in letter and spirit till date, for the past 40 years, only simple weddings have been taking place in the village.

Though the village heads took the decision four decades ago in 2004 around 100 families have signed the official document to neither receive nor give dowry. The same document was amended in 2018 which mentions that the groom’s family cannot demand anything from the bride’s side.
As per the document, the groom’s family has to give Rs 50,000 to the bride’s family including Rs 20,000 Mehar and 20,000 for wedding clothes and 10,000 for other expenses. However, gold is boycotted from both ends.

The people must believe that this evil is the primary reason for young boys and girls not getting married at their proper age as the families cannot afford dowry with the result it spreads many other social evils in the society. And it’s due to the same initiative that the young boys and girls of this village get married below 25 years of age.
In one case, a few months ago two brothers of the village were married simply and the total cost of the marriage was below Rs 10,000.ase the norms are violated by any family of the village the entire village will go for a social boycott against the erring family.

In case one fails to follow the agreement, that family is not be allowed to pray at the local Masjid and neither will they be allowed to bury their family member in the graveyard as per the document. And surprisingly, in the past 17-18 years, not a single violation of laws has been reported in this village.

The village has set an example that should be followed by the rest to eradicate this social evil that is degrading its social fabric and giving birth to other evils.

A 21-year-old girl Khalida Aashiq inks a poetry compilation with the title of Qisa-e-qalb. Khalida is an instance for Kashmiri young girls and boys to earn their professional careers by transforming the society from polarization to pacifism. She sets a record in her early youth by authoring a book.
Hailing from the Batpora area of Kupwara, Khalida had a dream to pen down verses into a book and set it forth into public discourse. Khalida is a passionate writer whose verses reflect society, inner peace, the tumultuous atmosphere of a young heart and a divine connection.
Khalida says, “We belong to a backward area of ​​Kupwara. Interest and attachment to the Urdu language have been a part of our caste since childhood. I have been associated with poetry since the seventh grade.”
The book is based on the depths of our being- our thinking. The book comprises a story of a girl with a dreamy heart, who is struggling to resolve the confusions of life. Khalida further goes on to say that we firmly believe that being a writer gives us a great deal of responsibility. The pen has more power than the sword and should always be used for the betterment of the people and society.
‘The Story of Heart’ is a written effort to raise issues such as awareness and women empowerment among the present-day frustrated and diverted youth.
Khalida thinks, “Whatever you have to write, write very carefully. Tomorrow there will be accusations that you are unjustly known.”

Khalida recently finished her graduation from Govt Women’s College Kupwara and is pursuing masters in Political Science from Kashmir University.
“As a growing child, I was obsessed with poetry. I have a passion for Urdu literature and poetry. I feel that poetry is the zenith of my soul and it’s something which puts me at the highest level of vulnerability but at the same time it enhances my power of being strong.” Khalida finds solace in writing poetry,
“I am a self-taught poet and I can’t find a better version of mine other than being a poet. During my childhood, i used to write a diary and named it sila, and used to share my emotions and thoughts with that diary. I continued my journey as a poet with the pen name sila.
I would like to thank my family for always supporting and encouraging sila.”

Battling all odds of conservative society Samaniya Bhat, a 20-year-old college pass out is the first and youngest female radio jockey (RJ) from north Kashmir’s Baramulla district. Samaniya belongs to old town of district Baramulla. Though the society restricts girls to walls of house only, but Samaniya managed to cope it up and come out as outspoken. Samaniya qouted, “Becoming a radio jockey was a my dream.” She acknowledged that becoming RJ was a hectic task for her, both in terms of societal ordinances as well as with being frank and confident. “It took my time, hard work and passion,” she said.
The 20 year old RJ is currently performing her role at Radio Chinar 90.4 FM Sopore- only radio station of from North Kashmir, and has become the inspiration for many young girls of the town.
Giving her details of she grabbed up the job, Samaniya says, the station had invited applications for RJ position early this year and she applied for the same post for which around 350 female candidates from different districts of Kashmir had applied.
“It was not easy. There was a tough competition from my co-applicants. Besides, I had to clear many rounds of interviews and auditions to get my dream job, ” she recalls. However, her hard work paid off and she made her ground among four candidates for the radio. Bhat gave the credit to her success in cracking the interviews to her prior experience of working for All India Radio (AIR).
Her show ‘Halla Bol with RJ samniya’ is broadcasted between 3 pm and 6 pm. Samaniya, the youngest girl RJ from northern Kashmir has received an overwhelming love and feedback from her audience, which triggers her to do better. She also regularly interviews people. The show was given noon time slot, but on public demand the show was shifted to 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm. With her soulful voice, positive vibes, and magic she creates on-air, Bhat inspires girls in the valley.
She gave full credits to her father, who supports her in her job. He proudly tells his friends and customers to listen to my show on radio. “I wish every girl be blessed with a father alike, that she can choose career of her own.”