Afsan Ashiq- The Journey Of Kashmiri Footballer from Attacker to Defender

Kashmir is not only rich in picturesque views and cultural heritage but also a hub of talented people. It fills me with immense pride when Kashmir is in news not for violence and blood shed but for its ample opportunities of development. Kashmiri’s fondness for sports is ever increasing and Football has our hearts. Today I am amazed to know about Ms. Afsan Ashiq who has made a name in Football, is now one big face from Kashmir. I would like to quote a beautiful line which summarises her story.

“Sometimes in the wind of change we find our true direction.”

Her picture while pelting stone at Army became viral. Under the destructive influence and as a misguided youth she was part of stone pelting. In the view of development, the trend for women’s football in Kashmir goes back to 2007 and Nadiya was the first female coach of women`s football club in Kashmir. This was the turning point for Afsan stood strong against all the odds and decided to do something valuable with her life. Her self-realization proved a path of success and better life.By changing her life, she became inspiration for others as well. The efforts of the state’s women team were also recognised by Home Minister Rajnath Singh who met them and paid attention to their demands The Government of Kashmir will be now taking initiatives to plan a better sports infrastructure.

From attacker to defender, it`s all about the journey and struggles of Afsan and how she made her way through everything. Afsan’s story is another example of homecoming. Hope more Kashmiri youth specially the misguided youth, follow suit. The joy of becoming a captain of J&K and getting into national women`s football team is empowering. We already were hearing a lot of news from last few days that how Kashmiri female football club is making a huge name and the efforts of players are worth appraisal. They are learning every possible technique of Football to excel in the field. Female Football club is the new trend setter. After cricket, football can be the next sport with which people have a better connection. As they say that in India cricket is a religion but football is a way of life. We appreciate Afsan that she chose her way of life so well that it led her to her success and she is motivating others from Kashmir to follow their passion without giving a second thought to it. This young Kashmiri talent proved that dreams and dedication are powerful combination. New Age Kashmir wished that she achieve all she deserve and desire for. All the success to this new champion of valley.

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Ladakh is one such place in India that leaves us awestruck, so do the people! Chewang Norphel is one such name that has created wonders in the beautiful land of Ladakh. He is also known as “Ice Man of India” because he has created more than 15 artificial glaciers in Ladakh.

He is an 81 years old civil engineer who is currently working for the welfare of Ladakh. Coming from a middle-class family, Norphel never compromised with his education and made it his priority. He was a student of Amar Singh College in Srinagar of science stream. Thereafter, he went to Lucknow for his further studies and completed his diploma in civil engineering in 1960 from Lucknow. After completing his diploma in 1960, he returned to Ladakh and joined the rural development department of Jammu & Kashmir in Ladakh. After working for 35 years in this department, in 1995 he took an early retirement due to health issues. During his service period he has constructed major dams, roads and schools in Zanskar, a small place in Ladakh.  Construction in Zanskar was a challenging task because of the lack of skilled labor, so, he also trained the native of Zanskar for help.
“It gave me a great pleasure. I was happy to see that a little support from my side had changed their lives,” Norphel said.

The Ice Man Of India - Chewang Norphel - Newagekashmir

He was a keen observer and a problem solver.
As, Ladakh faces very limited rainfall (about 50mm) in the whole year. So the local farmers suffered from shortage of water during the cropping season. As a native of Ladakh, it was painful for Norphel seeing the people of Ladakh struggling with the need of water.  In 1996, while working on a non-government project- leh Nutrition project, he came up
with the idea of building Artificial Glaciers for water conservation.  His idea was very new to the people of Ladakh and people were not convinced by this concept. People took his idea as a joke but he proved them wrong. Today, he is known as the “ice man” because he believed in his concept and created more than 15 artificial glaciers.

As they say, worked hard in silence and let success make the noise.
The Ice Man Of India - Chewang Norphel - Newagekashmir” The idea of Artificial glaciers came to Chewang Norphel’s mind, when he saw that water dripping from tap froze after coming in contact with the ground. Putting this idea, he conserved the water that melted from glaciers during winters through underground pipes. Those underground pipes are connected through steep valley which helped the water to flow. The pipes are kept in the form of fountains near villages, coming in contact with -20 degree air the water that comes from the pipe freezes and hence form the artificial glacier. While on the other hand he made canals and diverted the stream of water so that it could be supplied to all nearby villages. His hard work and engineering skills successfully gave birth to first artificial glacier.”

The Ice Man Of India - Chewang Norphel - Newagekashmir
The idea was to keep the glaciers very close to the village so that farmers could get the required amount of water during the sowing season. He initiated his project in Phutske village in Ladakh. The height of these glaciers were kept at low heights as compared to the natural glaciers so that the artificial ones could melt quickly. His largest artificial glacier is at Phutske village whose height is 1,000ft, 150 meters wide and 4ft in depth. This artificial glacier can supply water to the entire village. The cost of construction for this glacier was about INR 90,000.

The Ice Man Of India - Chewang Norphel - Newagekashmir
Chewang Norphel set an example for the people around the world, and proved that concrete ideas and determination to work for it, can simply change everything. He was also awarded by Jamnalal Bajaj Award in 2010 and Padma Shri in 2015. He got a new identity and became an example for the people of Jammu & Kashmir. All we can say about him is that he found himself when he lost himself in the service of others.