Kashmir Off-Road: Kashmir’s First-Ever Car Racing Club for Adventure Seekers

Kashmir Off-Road: Kashmir’s First-Ever Car Racing Club for Adventure Seekers

In 2016, a couple debuted “Kashmir Off-Road”, Kashmir’s first-ever car racing club. Though they initially had fewer members now they have three dozen members enrolled in their club!Kashmir Off-Road: Kashmir’s First-Ever Car Racing Club for Adventure Seekers

Want to rush your sturdy cars through the tough and mountainous terrain of Kashmir? Are you daring enough to ride to the far-flung and untouched areas of Kashmir?

The Kashmir Off-Road is the first-ever car racing club in Kashmir that aims to bring together adventure seekers to explore Kashmir in a unique way! Founded by Ali Sajid and Farah Zaidi; the Kashmir Off-Road is now associated with the Jammu And Kashmir Tourism Department to promote the untrodden places in J&K and encourage Off-Road adventure in the state.

The couple compliments each other in this project as both of them are crazy about cars and adventure sports. While Ali organizes the rallies, Farah takes care of the PR.

Kashmir Off-Road: Kashmir’s First-Ever Car Racing Club for Adventure Seekers

Ali Sajid says “We are Kashmir’s first and only passion-driven, off-road adventure and motorsport outfit based in the region. Our aim is to build a local motorsport community. We envision honing the local talent for national rally events.” (Source:https://jandkheadlines.com/headlines/kashmir-off-road-brings-off-road-adventure-and-motorsport-to-the-valley)

In collaboration with the J&K Tourism Department; the club organized India’s first-ever snow autocross – Frozen Rush in Gulmarg in 2017. The event was held in the month of January when Gulmarg experienced 10-12 feet of snowfall. The event turned out to be a huge success and gained them, several motorsport junkies.

The recent event carried out by the club was “Zanskar Overland” which was from July 6 to July 15, 2019. This expedition was aimed at exploring the Zanskar which is a homage to ancient Buddhist monasteries, villages resting on high cliffs, mountain ranges and the awestruck views of the mighty Himalayas.

Members who went the Unbeaten Path

The club has given a platform for its members to create history and also opened doors to National level championships.

Two Kashmiri boys named Asrar Wani and Mehboob ul Hussain who were the members of this club got selected and participated in the Volkswagen Ameo Cup Championship, a national motorsport event in Pune, Maharashtra, 2019.

Kashmir Off-Road: Kashmir’s First-Ever Car Racing Club for Adventure Seekers

Besides, we have Sharmeen Mushtaq Nizami who has created history by becoming the first-ever female driver from Kashmir to compete in Frozen Rush 2 in January 2018.
She is a doctor by profession and she has been enjoying driving from the past 20 years and she aims to become a source of inspiration to other aspiring women in the valley.

Kashmir Off-Road: Kashmir’s First-Ever Car Racing Club for Adventure Seekers

Sharmeen says that “If you have it in you, and you are provided with a well-structured platform to show your skills, then you must give it a try at least. Perhaps in the future, we will have a team of Kashmiri female racers too.” (Source:https://yourstory.com/2018/01/kashmir-woman-participate-frozen-rush)

Faheem Altaf, one of the first club members of Kashmir Off-Road and a businessman by profession, said, “It’s adrenaline-pumping experience when your car is pitted against a slope when the only option is to go forward. The sense of satisfaction is exhilarating when such obstacles are overcome. Going on such off-road trails also throws open beautiful views of the Kashmir alpine valley and we get to experience some truly breathtaking views.” (Source:https://jandkheadlines.com/headlines/kashmir-off-road-brings-off-road-adventure-and-motorsport-to-the-valley)

If you are an adventure junkie, then this club is totally meant for you! Get a chill down your spine by driving through the Paradise on Earth with the Kashmir Off-Road. Hurry up! Get yourselves enrolled and go out on an adventurous ride with your gang!

Sandeep Chaudhary IPS banner

Sandeep Chaudhary IPS, an inspiration for the society

Meet Sandeep Chaudhary, an IPS officer, who provides free coaching classes for UPSC, SSC and other competitive exams to the students of the Valley.

In almost everyone’s life, there would be a role model who inspires them to walk through the untrodden ways in life so that they could stand out from the rest of the world.

Sandeep Chaudhary, Superintendent of Police is one such role model for the society. He hails from Punjab and was first posted in Jammu. He did his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts from Indira Gandhi National Open University.

While he was preparing for his UPSC exam he did not take up any coaching classes; as they were expensive so he took guidance from his friends and seniors while preparing for the exam.

After taking charge of his duties in Jammu, he decided to bring in about a change in the society by making it a point that expensive coaching classes are not at all mandatory to clear these exams.

So he started “Operation Dreams” on May 30, 2018, to provide free coaching classes to aspiring youth for competitive exams like UPSC, SSC, J&K Sub-Inspector and banking exams.

His initiative was administred for the students who are facing financial and academic hurdles. As the coaching classes for competitive exams would cost them around Rs. 1.3 lakh – 1.6 Lakh he has put forth this initiative as a means to curb down their financial hindrance.

“Getting through tough exams is possible even without attending expensive coaching classes. I feel the youth don’t get much exposure in Jammu while preparing for competitive examinations. My small step aims to provide a platform to such aspirants so that they could achieve their goals.” He added (from Better India).

https://www.thebetterindia.com/144229/upsc-ips-officer-free-coaching-jammu/

He started the operation with 10 students. He religiously gave two hours from his busy schedule to the coaching classes (from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.).

Initially, the classes were conducted in his office chamber but within a few days the number of students raised to 150 which compelled him to change the spot. So he shifted his classes to Rani Plaza Banquet Hall in Nai Basti, Jammu.

The same year, 38 out of these 150 students qualified through their written test for the post of Sub-Inspector in different wings of Jammu and Kashmir Police.

Out of those 38 students, Moin Khan is one amongst those who qualified. Moin Khan from Thanda Pani Village, Jammu who worked as a pizza delivery boy and car washer has now turned into a police officer.

Sandeep Chaudhary IPS banner

Recently he was posted to Shopian. As his generous initiative gained momentum, he has started off his classes in Shopian on June 14 with 6 students.

Even though he is providing free coaching classes, he is also utilizing his initiative as a means to fight against the drug menace in the Valley. He feels that by giving an appropriate direction to the youths there would be a decrease in drug consumption.

Apart from being a watchdog of law and order, Sandeep Chaudhary is a true inspiration for everyone. On one side he is performing his duties and on the other, he is the messiah for the unprivileged layer of the society who aspire to dream big.

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Dr. Aaqfeen Nisar – Breaking Menstrual Taboos in Jammu & Kashmir

Even in the 21st century, there has not been any prominent change in people’s attitudes towards menstruation. People don’t wish to talk about it openly because they believe it’s not socially accepted.

Since the olden times, women are exposed to various ill measures when dealing with their menstrual cycle. There are many women in the far-flung areas who still use dry leaves, rags or other unclean materials that could pose a threat to their lives. Unfortunately, these sorts of cases are not only found in the rural areas but in urban places too.

Yet things are starting to change. Meet Dr. Aaqfeen Nisar, a postgraduate from Government Medical College, Srinagar; who has made it her mission to break the taboo surrounding menstruation and empower women.

While practicing her profession she came across an alarming issue. She observed that most of the adolescent girls used ragged and used cloth instead of sanitary napkins during their periods.

She said that in the last one year, she has identified many young adolescent girls who suffered from different menstrual-related ailments and most of them were affected by Reproductive Tract Infection due to the usage of worn-out cloth.

Dr. Aaqfeen, being true and loyal to her profession, wanted to help them out. So she started her initiative by conducting a survey where she could track the cause for this issue. She conducted one-on-one interviews and asked for their personal reasons for not using the sanitary napkins. Later she arrived at the two main reasons why they pulled themselves back from using pads and that was: lack of awareness and economic conditions. Besides, it was the misleading information imparted by their own mothers that prevented them from maintaining menstrual hygiene. They were told by their mothers that sanitary napkins would lead to infertility.

After knowing the ground reality, Dr. Aaqfeen Nisar made it her mission to change the mindset of people. So she started off a crowdfunding campaign titled “Panen Fiker” which means “to take care of ourselves”. “It is a project in social marketing to enhance the use of sanitary pads amongst the adolescent girls.” she said.

Her next step was to provide the sanitary pads at a subsidized value (to curb the economic factor). But she was uncertain whether her campaign would work or not because of the social taboo that prevailed.

However, when the campaign started; she gained a positive response from the girls after using the sanitary pads.

“I could have provided these sanitary pads free of cost but I preferred giving them on subsidized rates,” Aaqfeen said. “I decided to counsel them that these pads would be provided to them on cheaper rates. It clicked. ”

Now the campaign is gaining momentum and is gaining much support from the society. But there is one more question that haunts Dr. Aafqeen. If this is the condition of the girls who are living in the cities of Kashmir, what would be the plight of the girls who are living in the far flung areas of Kashmir?

So in order to extend a helping hand, she is planning to launch a website and ask people to contribute to help out the girls in the remote areas of Kashmir. She would also visit these remote locations to spread awareness there. So let’s hope for the best and keep our fingers crossed that her NGO could bring about a meaningful change in the lives of young girls facing this stigma.

Dr. Aaqfeen Nisar is truly an inspiration for women. In the 21st century, where menstruation is still not openly talked about, she came out like a savior lending a helping hand for many young girls in Jammu And Kashmir.

Nahida Manzoor- First Kashmiri Woman to summit Mount Everest

Nahida Manzoor- First Kashmiri Woman to summit Mount Everest

The road to success are challenging undoubtedly are challenging but the victory made it worthy of one. Nahida Manzoor made our state proud by becoming first Kashmiri Woman to successfully summit the World’s highest peak, Mount Everest.

She is a 23 year old residing in the Zeewan area on the outskirts.
Her father Manzoor Ahmad Pampori is a mutton seller and mother is a housewife. She has two more sisters. She was always passionate about mountains, since her childhood. Nahida along with her group had left from Everest Base camp for the summit and she made the successful summit of the peak.

Nahida Manzoor- First Kashmiri Woman to summit Mount Everest

Nahida completed her mountaineering courses from the Nehru Institute of Mountaineering which includes the Basic Mountaineering Course and the Advance Mountaineering Course. She also did a Special Mountaineering Course and a Method of Instructions course from the institute.
She collaborated with Transcend Adventures company for her maiden attempt to scale Mount Everest made the news about Nahida’s successful summit public.

“The Fourth summit of the day is Nahida Manzoor along with her Sherpa Guide Nima Kancha. Nahida hails from the state of Jammu & Kashmir. The 26-year old lady has been passionate about the snow peaks and took to the mountains at a very young age,” Transcend Adventures posted on their official Facebook page.

Nahida Manzoor- First Kashmiri Woman to summit Mount Everest

She started crowdfunding for her summit and she got massive response from the sponsors, once this news was carried by TCI Max group and Greater Kashmir. TAs the news went viral Deputy Commissioner Srinagar also sponsored part of her expenses to promote sports persons from Jammu and Kashmir.

To support her many people came forward including former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti of Jammu and Kashmir. She tweeted “Kashmiris too have dreams & aspirations like everyone else. Somewhere between stereotyping & demonising them, human stories are lost. All of twenty three, Nahida Manzoor is the first Kashmiri woman to scale Mt Everest. More power to her & the youth of J&K.”

Nahida Manzoor- First Kashmiri Woman to summit Mount Everest

National Conference leader and former chief minister Omar Abdullah who is National Conference leader and former chief minister also congratulated Nahida and two other Jammu and Kashmir police officers for summiting Everest.

“It’s a proud moment for our state and its people. I congratulate the trio who have successfully scaled the world’s highest peak. Moreover, the team also comprised of a girl. I congratulate her, and I believe that her achievement has the ability to transform a generation, as will do her male counterparts. They truly are an inspiration for others,” Omar said in a statement.

We hope just like Nahida Manzoor, youth of Kashmir will keep conquering their dreams and never ever give up on their goal. Till then we’ll keep bringing you inspirational stories like this.

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Dr. Ruveda Salam- First woman IPS officer from Kashmir

The State of Jammu and Kashmir is a land of immense talent. Every now and then, there is some or the other person who is setting an example not just for our Valley but also for the entire country. One such person is an IPS officer Dr Ruveda Salam. She is the first woman IPS officer from Kashmir. She cleared the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) exams not just once but twice!

She is from Kupwara district of the Kashmir Valley. She comes from a place where most women of her age get married and start a family but this woman stood strong and pursued her dreams. When she was growing up, her father wanted her to become an IPS. So, it was him who motivated her and that’s what made her more determined about her goals.

Before this, she got into medical college. She completed her MBBS from Government Medical College in Srinagar. Instead of doing a post graduation in medicine, she chose to prepare for the UPSC. She cleared UPSC in the very first attempt in 2013 and got selected for Indian Police Service cadre.

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Now she has been working in Chennai as an ACP. “Being a young ACP is a challenging role. It carries a lot of responsibility. I am in a state where people respect the police. When girls see me in uniform they look at me with admiration!” she says.

Ruveda used to give motivational speeches to the youth, particularly girls. She encourages the young girls in Jammu and Kashmir not to get confined around the walls. She had conducted a workshop for girls in Hyderabad as well. The girls who attended the workshop were totally inspired from her.

Other than that, in her free time, she even writes poems. She likes Robert Frost and William Wordsworth. She jogs to be fit. She also likes to explore new places and speak to locals to know more about their culture.

Development will lead to peace in Jammu and Kashmir. “Peace and development go together. We should look to the future. Living outside has helped me understand the situation better,” said Ruveda.

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In 2018, the President of India facilitated 112 women achievers who have achieved a first in any field on 20th Jan 2018 at Rashtrapati Bhawan. Known as ‘First Ladies’, these women have been identified by the Ministry of Women and Child Development of Government of India. Dr. Ruveda Salam was one of the women who were on the list. She made the entire valley proud on her. She works for our valley in every possible way she can and make ensure that development and peace prevail in the state of J&K.

Son of BSF ex-head constable topped CBSE Class 12 in Jammu and Kashmir banner

Son of BSF ex-head constable topped CBSE Class 12 in Jammu and Kashmir

Result season of Class 12th and 10th is going on. Students are biting their nails and are curious about their results. Be it education, sports, extracurricular activities, the youth of our state has performed well in every department. We had so many achievements in the very starting month of January in the field of sports. And the wind is still the same, only this time the category has changed. Recently, Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) results of class 10th and 12th are out. People are going gaga over it. Students had performed tremendously well and our valley proud of them.

One such student who has become the topper of CBSE Class 12th result in Jammu and Kashmir is Vivek Mishra. He belongs to a humble rural background. He is the son of BSF ex- head constable. With a score of 97.80 percent by scoring 489 out of 500 marks he has made his family proud. He did his from BSF Senior Secondary School from humanities stream. In an interaction at his school, he dedicated his success to his parents and teachers. Moreover, he shared his tips and the success mantras with the students. He believes that doing the right things at the right time is all you need to be a winner.

Son of BSF ex-head constable topped CBSE Class 12 in Jammu and Kashmir banner

Even Inspector General of BSF Jammu Frontier, NS Jamwal congratulated Vivek and his parents for the success.

NS Jamwal said, “Students like Vivek are real gems and they inspire others to do better. It is a combined effort and hard work of students, parents and teachers together which has resulted in this exemplary achievement of the BSF School.”

Son of BSF ex-head constable topped CBSE Class 12 in Jammu and Kashmir banner

The principal of his school SK Shukla and BSF chief Rajni Kant Mishra also applauded him for the hard work he had done the entire year.

When asked for his further plan, he told he wants to graduate from Delhi University and then he will try for civil services exams.

Apart from him, seven students from JK Public School, Kunjwani, Jammu have also performed well. Anoushka Bhatnagar (Humanities) scored 96.4% marks, Khushboo Khajuria (Humanities) 96%, Riya Choudhary (Humanities) 95.8%, Aahwan Gupta (Commerce) 95.6%, Sanskriti Singh (Humanities) 95.4%, Aman Goswami (Non-medical) 95.2 % and Bhavini Sharma (Humanities) scored 95% marks.

SK Singh, the principal said,”This is a proud moment for the entire JKPS family. We at JK Public School are committed for the holistic development of our future leaders. Our alumni students are now representing J&K State in defence sector as army officers, film industry as actors, legal services as advocates, medical services as doctors, and in the research sector as scientists and engineers.”

Conquering in every field is what our Kashmiri youth is trying to do. A step at a time will take you to the road of success. And that’s the idea of New Age Kashmir!

Sangeeta Bahl to become the oldest woman to scale MtDenali

Sangeeta Bahl to become the oldest woman to scale MtDenali

“Some people are old at 18 and some are young at 90…time is a concept that humans created.” ~ Yoko Ono

Age can never put any kind of limitation on our dreams. If you don’t mind, it won’t matter. And this is what Sangeeta Sindhi Bahl was inspired from. She is the first woman from the state of Jammu and Kashmir and the oldest woman to conquer the world’s highest peak, Mount Everest (29,035 ft). She also broke the previous record of Prem Lata who had climbed the world’s highest peak back in 2011. And now she is all set become the oldest Indian woman to scale the highest mountain peak in North America’s Mount Denali.

Sangeeta Bahl to become the oldest woman to scale MtDenali

She was born in Jammu and was very ambitious since childhood. She was a former Miss India contestant in 1985 and was able to make it to the finals. She is also the founder and director of Impact Image Consultants which is based in Gurgaon. Previously, she has worked in the aviation industry. Also she has designed uniforms for few airlines. She got the idea of mountaineering from her husband who had successfully scaled the world’s highest peak in 2016.

Sangeeta’s journey started in 2017 but was not able to complete due to some health problems. Her husband kept her motivated all the time. Mt Kilimanjaro in Africa which 5,895m was the first mountain she climbed with her husband in 2011. Then the saga goes on. In 2014 she climbed Mt Vinson then Mt Aconcagua. When tried to scale Mt McKinley she got a knee injury. But still she was very determined to achieve what she wanted.

Sangeeta Bahl to become the oldest woman to scale MtDenali

When she applied for a mountaineering course at the Himalayan Institute of Mountaineering in Darjeeling, her application was rejected due to her age. She said “My application was rejected as I was above 40 years.” But she didn’t give up on her dreams. Her husband worked very hard to train her.

The highest mountains of each of the seven continents of the world makes seven summits. She had already climbed six summits and now all set to conquer the last one Mount Denali in North America. If she achieves this one successfully, which we hope she does, then again she will break the record of Premlata. She did her training in Leh. She said, “I have learnt how to navigate snow and ice crafting while being in Leh. I had a wonderful training in Leh.” Sangeeta has also turned vegan recently.
“My cause on this climb is veganism and stopping all cruelty to animals. I wish to spread my voice for the voiceless”, she added.

She is a big inspiration for all the people and taught us you are never too old to dream. We wish her the best of luck for the next mountain she is going to scale. Hope she makes our state and country proud, again!

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”

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

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.

3) March- ATEEQA BANO

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.

5) May- KOTA RANI

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.

6) June- MISS MALLINSON

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.

8) August- RUPA BHAWANI

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.

12) December- GIYANI MOHAN KAUR

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.