‘Are Kashmiris Talented? How talented are Kashmiris? What’s your opinion about Kashmir?’ These are some of the questions that an average user on a popular website asks.
Dear readers, there never was a doubt about the immense talent of the young people of Jammu and Kashmir. It is just that a front page image of teens hurling stones sell better than a teen scoring a goal.
Not forgetting to mention how a picture of an angry Kashmiri girl, Afsan Ashiq, pelting stone got her into national media spotlight, more so after it was discovered that she was an enthusiastic footballer.
Kashmir has a young generation who is in search of a bright and productive future and wants to make it big in life, like youngsters of any other state or even country. They are ready to serve the nation.
Met two very bright Kashmiri children Adeeba Tak and Moin Mir today. They have won full scholarships to pursue undergraduate courses in mechanical engineering and computer science engineering in University of Pennsylvania and University of Princeton, respectively. All the best!
— YusufJameelیوسف جمیل (@jameelyusuf) April 10, 2018
Against all odds, stories of pain and sufferings here, is a Kashmiri tale of hope and dedication.
If there is any unbiased book written on Kashmir, Adeeba Tak from Shopian will find her name in that history book for being one of the very few students across the world who managed to get a full scholarship from University of Pennsylvania! Well, a dream university for many.
Let’s all applaud #AdeebaTak for securing admission at the University of Pennsylvania in Aeronautical Engineering with a 100% Scholarship. She hails from Shopian and has made us all so proud of her#Kashmiri #Kashmiris #EducationForAll pic.twitter.com/nWJLHCxhQd
— Rabyanoor (@rabyanoor1) March 30, 2018
A huge admirer of the ‘Missile Man of India’, former scientist President Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, Adeeba has achieved a dream that perhaps every single student on the planet may have; Bagging a 100% US scholarship, to pursue her dream of being an aeronautical engineer.
“I had a dream of becoming an engineer. Everyone said why pursue it, it is not good for girls. I, however, continued. My teachers were a real help. There were times when we didn’t know what was happening around. There was so much unrest in 2016, but our teachers ensured we continued to study,” Adeeba Tak told India Today.
Shopian girl wins US scholarship, Adeeba Tak makes Kashmir proud. While unrest consumes the Valley, Kashmiri youth focus on brighter future; they shun stones for books, stories from the #ValleyOfHope on #Epicentre with @maryashakil at 10pm | #ValleyOfHope pic.twitter.com/c9zRSakQnj
— News18 (@CNNnews18) April 9, 2018
At the time when strife was gulping the entire area, the bright Kashmiri girl, Adeeba shuned violence and embraced education. She worked hard and studied harder. Her talent first came to fore when she topped the first edition of a local institute, RISE’s Talent Search Examination in 2015 in Srinagar.
Just like the best apples from the ‘land of apple paradise’ of Shopian are picked by hand and send to the market, RISE coaching centre hand-picked Adeeba for the scholarship. Since then, for more than two years, she was consistently groomed on the admission for UPenn (University of Pennsylvania).
We may lack resources or our dreams may be at odds with reality, but that shouldn’t stop us from dreaming. We must always be motivated to realize our dreams and pursue them.
Our Students Adeeba Tak and Moin Mir talked to @islahmufti for @CNNnews18 .https://t.co/UJnmAIPhne
— RiSE (@RiseWithRiSE) June 10, 2018
She credits her success to the almighty Allah and then the coaching centre.
This August, with the start of the apple season in her native Shopian, Adeeba will make her way to study mechanical engineering at the University of Pennsylvania.
To become an aeronautical engineer has been her main focus.
Kudos! 18-year-old Adeeba Tak from #Shopian district in South #Kashmir has brought laurels to the #Valley by securing admission in the University of Pennsylvania, #USA to pursue Mechanical Engineering. She has been offered 100% scholarship to pursue the course. pic.twitter.com/Eh736jEDp7
— NooriBadat (@NooriBadat) April 3, 2018
Her family is proud today of what she has achieved. “I feel the children should be given opportunities to do what they want to. She has made us all proud. We are very happy,” said Adeeba’s mother.
Facing all odds, Adeeba will be the first girl to achieve such a feat from the Valley. But, Adeeba is not all about studies, she is also a good cook “I make a fairly good Rogan josh,” she giggles and also confesses on catching up on her favorite movies and television shows before leaving for the US.
Adeeba Tak, ace student, becomes first Kashmiri girl to win full scholarship at UPenn. Adeeba will study engineering (either mechanical or aeronautical ~ conflicting reports). Well done, young lady. #STEM #Kashmir #WomenInSTEM https://t.co/MfgjUPhFjn
— Sabbah Haji Baji (@imsabbah) April 1, 2018
Before she ventures out of her comfort zone and goes off to study in America, Adeeba wants to travel in India and spend time with her family.
“When I reach the US, I’ll treasure those moments the most,” she says with a laugh.
And before you can raise another question, ‘Do Kashmiris like India’? I would like to add that we feel the same about India just like any other state. We are as much as a part of India as you are.
We love you all and take pleasure in the unconditional love that we get in turn. We want to live by each other’s happiness.
“If you can dream it, you can do it.” —Walt Disney
How many of us actually believe that we can achieve our dreams? We sway from them as we grow- diminishing into worldly material, jobs and socialization. Most of us forget about the dream and only a few who remember it- work very hard for it. And, that is what makes them extra-ordinary, they believe in their capability to dream and thus possess the ability to achieve it.
Among the few dreamers is our very own Kashmiri folk singer, Aabha Hanjura. This article is aimed at adding to her stardom for she is not just a singer, but a dreamer who dreams of carrying our language (Koshur) across the world. “Kashmir has a beautiful culture. I want to bring that out in my music. I want to bring the sound of Kashmir out of Kashmir. In fact I want to take it out of India and put it on the world map. That’s my ultimate goal”, says a determined Aabha in an interview.
History of our Dreamer
Aabha belongs to a Kashmiri Pandit family. Her ancestors, hailed from Hanjura, a small village in Kashmir and she was born in Baghat-i-Kanipora, Srinagar. She, like every one of us, heard Kashmiri folk melodies from her nain (Grand-mother) while playing, eating and in the form of lullabies. Her initial training began with her mother, who is a trained classical singer by singing Lata Mangeshkar ji’s songs while she honed her on every note, pitch and pronunciation.
Ups and Downs
Later, Aabha was trained under the guidance of Late Pt. Shiv Kumar Sharma. Over the time they developed a strong bond and she began to call him Bauji (Father). His guidance meant everything to her. Aabha lost her interest in singing when Pt. Sharma ji passed away. But as time passed, her wounds began to heel, and with constant motivation from friends & family she auditioned for Indian Idol Season 2 during her higher studies in Bangalore. With a renowned platform and appreciation from public as well as judges of the show, Aabha returned to her dream and from there the struggle to achieve it, began.
Breakthrough the past
Now Aabha Hanjura is spreading love for Kashmiri folk music in the form of her live shows like “Sufistication” (Name of her contemporary Sufi folk band) and Aabha Hanjura feat The Kashmiri Folk Ensemble, a mesmerising blend of Kashmiri Saaz. The most proud moment for us Kashmiris and Aabha together was recently when she sang the National Anthem at the Pro Kabaddi League in Jaipur. I can’t imagine how happy and honoured she must have felt at that moment. It is the first time that a Kashmiri got the chance to sing National Anthem on such an esteemed platform, to which, Aabha did great justice.
Love and Praises
Aabha’s performances on various platforms make us Kashmiris proud and take us back to memories of our childhood days, days of sweet folk songs, Nain’s singing, playing and we as kids dancing. Her dream to take Kashmiri culture to a global plain is admirable and applaudable. She chooses to be unafraid of the language barrier that might stand between her and her audiences, and also adds a Kashmiri touch to her clothing to let world witness the charm of Kashmiri folk. We wish her a very good luck for future ventures and look forward to more tracks like Hukus Bukus which is already a hit on the internet. We hope that her dream comes true and Kashmiri folk music sees an international platform with her on the stage as her sweet voice addresses the crowd.