Calendar 2019: A Gift from Jammu and Kashmir's New Women to The Old

Calendar 2019: A Gift from Jammu and Kashmir’s New Women to The Old

Jammu and Kashmir has always been home to a number of legendary women who have made great contributions but have seldom got recognition.

To undo this, two Kashmiri organizations Sonth and Koshur Lifestyle, have come together as “Kashmiri Women Design Collective”. They have rebuilt the blurred memories of women of Kashmir, who have in some way left an impact on the lives of Kashmiris, and presented their story within a calendar of 2019- A Gift from Jammu and Kashmir’s New Women to The Old. This initiative is focused on motivating women to express, seek and achieve as they aspire by taking the examples of strong historical women.

The following nine Kashmiri women artists, after due research and analysis, have chosen twelve women from history to be represented, as follows:

1) January- HABBA KHATOON, “Zoon”


The Calendar starts with a black and white painting of the great poetess of Kashmir, Habba Khatoon. The painting elaborates on the significance of her nickname, “Zoon”, meaning “crescent moon”, as depicted in the picture.
Habba Khatoon was one of the 16th century mystic poetesses born in Pampore. She is known to have a harmonious voice that attracted the last king of Jammu and Kashmir, Yusuf Shah Chak.While Chak fell instantly in love with her and married her, Queen Khatoon came to be known as the “Nightingale of Kashmir”.

Through this depiction, the artists, Kayehaan Anjum Khan, has depicted the mundane human aspects of Kashmir that speak of the simplicity in its people. Khan is a Dubai based Kashmiri artist.

2) February- QUEEN DIDDA


For february, artist Onazio Drabu, has chosen Queen Didda to fill a canvas full of red, blue, green and brown colours, representing Didda and her temples.
One of the great women rulers of Jammu and Kashmir, Queen Didda reigned from 979 to 1003 CE. She was physically challenged but that did not barricade her from being an active and just ruler. She is known for her political acumen till date.

The painting is made by Onazio Drabu, an illustrator based in Kenya. She chose Queen Didda to represent women leadership, as she is one herself. Onazio is one of the women leading this initiative as the illustrator at Sonth Kashmir, where she prepares Kashmir based illustrations for the stationary.
She hopes that this initiative would empower women not only in Kashmir but women around the world.


Ateeqa bano, Zoya Khan, artists of Jammu and Kashmir, calendar 2019

The third page of the calendar is taken by Ateeqa Bano (1940- 2017), framed in a brown wooden frame. Bano was an educationist and activist who fought for the cultural and artistic heritage of Kashmir. She is popular for establishing the first ever private museum “Meeras Mehal” of history and art in Kashmir.

Ateeqa Bano’s painting is made by artist Zoya Khan, based in Srinagar, she is an architect and city planner, interior designer and digital imaging artist. Due to her interest is the heritage and vernacular architecture of Jammu and Kashmir, she chose Ateeqa Bano to represent the strong role of women played in the development of the heritage of Kashmir.

4) April- ARNIMAL

Arnimal, Ghazal Qadri, artists of Jammu and Kashmir, calendar 201

he painting of April shows a faceless women. The women is Arnimal, a poetess of the 18th century who was married to the popular historian and poet, Bhawanidas Kachroo, of Kashmir. It was after when Kaschroo deserted her that the pain of separation and longing for Kachroo turned her into a poetess.

The painting is made by Ghazal Qadri, an illustrator and product designer form Srinagar. Ghazal is a lover of visual art and humor and through the representation of Arnimal, she depicts the unanimous presence of the feeling of longing in all the women. Ghazal is now an illustrator at Lollypop Design Studio, Bangalore.


Kota Rani, Sumairah Mumtaz, artists of Jammu and Kashmir, calendar 2019

Though unrecognized, the blurred face of a woman in Red dress is of the 14th century Kota Rani, the last Hindu ruler of Jammu and Kashmir. Kota Rani is known for her active ruling and saving the people of the valley from floods. She created a canal, “Kute Kol”, besides the river Jhelum to secure people during floods.

Focused on highlighting and giving a visual representation of the nomadic communities of Jammu and Kashmir, the painting is intensely done by Sumairah Mumtaz. An architect and autodidact artist, Sumairah belong to Poonch district of Jammu. She currently works in Delhi and is focused on a project to bring nomadic communities of the state to life through her paintings.


Miss Mellinson, Nuseiba Khan, artists of Jammu and Kashmir, calendar 201

The next painting shows a group of women holding hands and standing in circular shape. The painting is dedicated to a Christian Missionary from London, Miss Muriel Mellinson. Miss Mellinson is one of the most eminent pioneers who promoted girls education in Jammu and Kashmir and joined the valley in 1922. One of Kashmir’s famous girls school, The Mellinson Girls School, is named after her.

The painting is brought to life by Nusaiba Khan, one of the students at mallinson Girls School. Nusaiba, based in Srinagar, is also the lead illustrator at Sonth Kashmir alongside Onazio Drabu. She pays a tribute to Miss Mellinson for her efforts to bring women of Kashmir together in the cause of education.

7) July- RAJ BEGUM

Raj Begum, Tuba Naseim, artists of Jammu and Kashmir, calendar 2019

July has the blessing of the first woman singer from Jammu and Kashmir, Raj Begum (1927- 2016), to perform on Doordarshan, Kashmir. With worldwide recognition for her melodious voice, Begum has paved the way for many Kashmiri female singers to enter the industry by overcoming stigmas and taboos related to female exposure.

The painting is made by Tuba Nasiem, a crafter based in Srinagar. Tuba uses paper to make hand crafted pieces of art. She is also the founder of an art studio, The Papercity, which offers hand crafted quilled papers and art works.


Rupa Bhawani, Mahvash, artists of Jammu and Kashmir, calendar 2019

The next painting is dedicated to the 17th century sain and poetess Rupa Bhawani, revered by Kashmiri Hindus who celebrate her death anniversary as “Sahib Saptami”. Famous for her spiritual philosophies, she is also known as “Mata Rupa Bhawni”.

The painting is made by Mahvash Masood, the daughter of Masood Hussian, the famous painter of the valley. Mahvash believes that the status of women in the current scenario needs a “rebellious change”. To present women as a symbol of patience, strength and power, she chose Rupa Bhawani, the goddess.
Mahvash, a full time artist, is based in Srinagar and has worked her hands of various mediums like papier mache, pashmina, oil, wood and acrylic painting etc. She teaches as a guest faculty at NIFT (National Institute of Science and Technology), Srinagar.

9) September- DR. GIRIJA DHAR

Dr Girija Dhar, Ghazal Qadri, artists of Jammu and Kashmir, calendar 2019

The power puff woman with a bob cut hair, stethoscope around her neck on September page is Dr, Girija Dhar, the prominent gynaecologist of Jammu and Kashmir. It was due to her efforts that the first and only maternity hospital of Kashmir, Lal Ded, was established. Dr. Girija passed away in 2018 leaving the valley at grief.
The painting is made by Ghazal Qadri, who also painted Arnimal.

10) October- LAL DED

Lal Ded, Mahvash, artists of Jammu and Kashmir, calendar 2019

The painting for the month of October is also made by Mahvash as she takes great interest and inspiration from Lal Dev, the 14th century mystic poetess and saint. Lal Ded is famous for creating a new style of poetry, called “Vakhs” and has large contribution in the literature of Kashmir.

11) November- HANIFA CHAPU

HAnifa Chapu, Tuba Nasiem, artists of Jammu and Kashmir, calendar 2019

The next painting depicts the intellectual Hanifa Chapu, the first woman from south Kashmir to attain a Munshi Fazi degree in Persian. With a bachelor’s degree in education, Chapu became a gazetted officer. Painted by Tuba Nasiem, Hanifa Chapu is a symbol of righteousness who as an inspector of School, in Anantnag, fought against the presence of corruption in the education sector.


Giyani Mohan Kaur, Nusiaba Khan, artists of Jammu and Kashmir, calendar 2019

The next and last painting of the calendar is made in the memory of Giyani Mohan Kaur from Baramulla. She is popularly known for selflessness and dedication to her role as the Headmistress, retired in 1976. She worked to uplift women in the education sector, significantly during and post partition of India. The painting is made by Nusaiba Khan.

As we come to the end of the Calendar, New Age Kashmir congratulates the ninth woman, Sama Beg, founder of “Koshur Lifestyle” and the publisher and marketer, on the success of joint venture “Kashmiri Women’s Design Collective” along with Onaiza Drabu “Sonth Kashmir”.

sama Beg, artists of Jammu and Kashmir, calendar 2019

Sama Beg

Onaiza Drabu,artists of Jammu and Kashmir, calendar 2019

Onaizo Drabu

This calendar is a gift from new powerful & influential women of Kashmir dedicated to the old, inspirational & empowering women of Kashmir.

Megha Kaul- FBB Colors Femina Miss India Jammu 2019

Megha Kaul- FBB Colors Femina Miss India Jammu 2019

Being in a pageant is not just about beauty. It takes a lot of effort and hardwork to stand out of the crowd. It’s more about service to the community and being a role model and making a difference. It’s all about the efforts what you have put into it.

Recently, the auditions of FBB Colors Femina Miss India 2019 took place at the Ramada Jammu City Centre. It was a great host as hospitality and site partner. FBB Colors Femina Miss India United Continents 2017 winner, Ms. Sana Dua and an Indian Supermodel, Sahil Salathia were the Judges on the panel. More than 100 girls from many parts of the state participated in the contest. It was overwhelming to see the enthusiasm in the participants.

Megha Kaul- FBB Colors Femina Miss India Jammu 2019

Sahil Salathia enthusiastically quoted “There is so much talent and beauty in this state and I don’t think I am being biased because I am from Jammu but I generally feel so.”

Sana Dua was very excited to shortlist the top 3 Finalists for the zonal rounds.
There were multiple rounds and the competition was tough, not only for girls but also for judges to choose out of such huge talents. At last, they took their decision and selected Rose Kundu, Shina Choudhary and Megha Kaul as the three finalists.

Megha Kaul- FBB Colors Femina Miss India Jammu 2019

Final round held at the Hyatt Regency, Pune. They were all set to compete one last time.

At the Grand Finale, Neha Dhupia announced Megha Kaul as the winner

She is from a small village Hanand, Chowalgam in Kulgam district of South Kashmir. She is currently pursuing MBBS from Government Medical College Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh. Her father once told her “Don’t be jack of all and master of none, have a mission and focus all your energy on one thing and try to excel in that”. But over a due course of time, she realised she may have many other passions, many other talents. And that’s when she decided to go for this pageant while pursuing her MBBS degree. She is a great multi tasker and got her inspiration from Miss World 2017 Manushi Chillar.

Megha Kaul- FBB Colors Femina Miss India Jammu 2019

We hope Megha Kaul will be an inspiration for all girls in Kashmir. So if you the courage to follow your heart, if you can smile at what you see in the mirror and if you feel comfortable in your skin, you can face anything.

The Inspirational New Age Personalities of Jammu and Kashmir 1

The Inspirational New Age Personalities of Jammu and Kashmir

Right throughout history, the state of Jammu and Kashmir has given the country some of the very inspiring people who have proved their mettle in different fields. What makes their stories even more heartening is that they have managed to shine by overcoming all obstacles with sheer grit and determination.

Let’s have a look at some of these Kashmiris who have reached the pinnacle of success despite all the odds:

1) Meet Dr. Rehana Bashir- The Doctored IAS
Dr. Bashir is the first woman from Poonch district as well as Pir Pangal Range of Jammu and Kashmir to crack UPSC, one of the most admired administerial positions of our country. She donned an All India Rank of 187.

The Inspirational New Age Personalities of Jammu and Kashmir 1
Bashir a doctor, was serving humanity with her expert skills. It was her desire to serve people beyond the capabilities of a doctor that makes her an inspiration.
It was during her internship, which was part of the final phase of pursuing MBBS, when she understood that she can’t restrict herself to saving lives at a hospital and she wanted to reach people who did not have access to hospitals. So she chose to appear for UPSC, 2018. For her success she credits her single mother who despite the responsibility of three children was capable enough to aid her throughout. As Dr. Bashir gives us every reason to be proud of her, her mother sends a strong message of the strength of a woman.

2) Meet Hansja Sharma- The Young Lieutenant
Hansja Sharma, the daughter of Jammu, ex-Cadet, achieved the title of Lieutenant recently and made the valley proud.

The Inspirational New Age Personalities of Jammu and Kashmir

As a young girl, Hansja was an aspirant of civil services and had no plans of joining the army. But during her college life, while she was a Cadet at National Cadet Corps, she got an opportunity to visit an Army Attachment Camp. She felt that she was rather made for Army and serve the nation as by guarding it.
As a result, began her preparations to join the Army and recently after successfully clearing the interview at Service Selection Board of the Ministry of Defense, she became Lieutenant Hansja Sharma.
She stands tall as an extraordinary example and an inspiration for the youth of Jammu and Kashmir.

3) Meet Ghulam Rasool Rather- The Gardening Magician
Rather, who hails from Brein Dampora area in Srinagar, is the man without whom the hillock near the botanical garden wouldn’t have been the mesmerizing Tulip Garden, a destination people from all over the country come to visit today in Srinagar.

Rather, who wanted to be a doctor as a child, is the son of a veteran gardener who worked with Jammu and Kashmir’s floriculture department. His father would take him to Mughal Gardens located along the Zabarwan hill range in Srinagar and made him learn the names of flowers and plants. Under the influence of his father, Rather acquired skills to plant a sapling came naturally.
After the death of his father in 1973, when Rather had just passed 10th class, he shaved his plans of being a doctor and chose gardening as profession.
As a result of his skilled training, he landed a job with the government. As he grew in rank and experience, he became the first choice to head the project of tulip garden in 2007.

The Inspirational New Age Personalities of Jammu and Kashmir

Along with 36 workers, Rather converted the hillock into the present day Terrace Tulip Garden.
He says, “A doctor heals people’s ailments through medicine. I, as a florist, heal their ailments through bloom of flowers,”
May his legacy continue to thrive the beauty of Kashmir.

4) Ashaq Ashah- The Researcher at CERN
With big dreams in eyes and inspiration from the work of the great scientist, Albert Einstein, Ashaq Ashah from Bandipora became a researcher at Europe’s largest nuclear research operation, CERN, located in Geneva, Switzerland.
He finished a Masters degree in Physics from Kashmir University in 2009 and worked as a researcher at Pondicherry University and then at Delhi University. He grabbed the biggest opportunity of his life to work at CERN in no time.
Ashaq inspires us as a perfect example of growth and achievements. He proves that people with big dreams can achieve them with determination.

The Inspirational New Age Personalities of Jammu and Kashmir

At New Age Kashmir, we salute their greatness and choices that have led them to it. We hope that their work inspires many more children and youth to strive and achieve their goals in life and they become shining examples for the generations to come.

Irfan Ahmad Mir- The First Blind Cricketer from Kashmir

Irfan Ahmad Mir- The First Blind Cricketer from Kashmir

Amazing things happen when you don’t give up. So when you feel like giving up your dreams; just give yourself one chance by forcing to work another day, month, a year maybe. It is difficult but you’ll be glad to see the results. Irfan Ahmad Mir’s story is an appropriate example to realize that it is all worth not giving up. He is the first blind cricketer from Kashmir. His journey was not easy, but conquering every hurdle that came in his path made his life worth living.

Irfan Ahmad Mir- The First Blind Cricketer from Kashmir

Irfan was born in a very small village called Dussu which is surrounded by vast saffron fields. His father Abdul Sattar Mir is a farmer who owns orchids and some lands of saffron and mother Saleema Bano is a housewife. He is the youngest among all the siblings.

When he was six-month old baby, he lost his vision to some strange disease. Everyone in his family was shattered completely. They took him to some local doctors but they were not able to help him as this was the first case in their village. They took him to Amritsar, where doctors did surgery but nothing worked. He grew, so did the worries of his parents. His parents put every effort to keep him engaged in different activities so that he could learn. After few years, Sattar approached religious seminars but all refused to teach a blind. Later, Dar-ul-Uloom Bilal’iya helped him , to memorizing two chapters of Quran.

A year post that, Sattar took him to NIVH, Dehradun and it turned out to be his best decision for his son. It changed Irfan’s life completely. He was more confident and started to nurture his childhood passion of playing cricket. He participated in intra-zonal tournament in Dehradun and was selected to play at national level. In 2014, Irfan was approached by the captain of Uttar Pradesh team, Zeeshan Haider, who offered him to play for his team. He readily took the offer and played several matches in places like Delhi, Mumbai, Gujarat, and Hyderabad.

Irfan Ahmad Mir- The First Blind Cricketer from Kashmir

Over the years he gained more confidence and was more focused as a player. Ajay Thakur, a Jammu based blind cricketer met him and they formed Jammu and Kashmir blind cricket team.
“Our state had no team for blind cricketers and the idea was appealing so I readily agreed for that,” said Irfan. They played a few matches in Punjab and some national level tournaments in Dehradun.
Irfan Ahmad Mir- The First Blind Cricketer from Kashmir

In 2017, Cricket Association for Blind in India affiliated by World Blind Cricket Association (WBCA), selected Irfan among 50 players to play for international tournaments. “I was the only player from Kashmir to get selected among 50. There was also a guy named Rohit Sharma from Jammu in the list,” said Irfan. He got an international recognition after he was selected for India-England series He is currently preparing for his selection in Blind World Cup (2020) in which he is hopeful to get selected.
Irfan did not make his blindness a hindrance to his dreams because a winner does not know how to make excuses. Irfan is a big inspiration for many. We wish you a lot more victories and success in your life. You deserve it all.