Let's talk about the real Jammu and KashmirA

Let’s Talk About the REAL Jammu and Kashmir

For a long time we have been asking people to focus on the positive aspects of Jammu and Kashmir. Spreading word one by one, slowly, to achieve an inner perspective of the valley rather than the outer. Hoping that one day we will renounce all negativity attached to our heavenly land. The land where people are boosted with talent and there is no denying the availability of abundant opportunities; the land of almighty’s love spread in the form of nature.

 

jammu and kashmir, about kashmir

 

Who else loves Kashmir?

 

While we are glorifying this truth with the help of highly passionate new generation and their achievements; Conde Nast Traveller (India) is doing the same by reflecting the bright colours of the land of Jammu and Kashmir. It is a luxury and lifestyle travel magazine published by Condé Nast and focuses on literary journalism (Travel writing). As per editor in chief, Harold Evans, travel industry’s major significance arises from a writer with an insider’s perspective; he coined the motto of the magazine as “Truth in Travel”. The magazine has a separate publication and website for travel stories and guides for India, i.e. Conde Nast Traveller, which makes it an international platform to extract information of travel from.

 

Conde Nast Traveller is a blessing in disguise

 

They published a Jammu and Kashmir Special Edition- “To Kashmir with Love”.

 

To kashmir with love

 

They send their love to Kashmir and honors it with a separate column on its website, called, “To Kashmir with Love”.

 

column in Conde nast traveller, conde nast traveller

 

They speak the language of heart.

 

Editor, conde nast traveller

 

They explore the food and streets together.

 

marryam reshi for conde nast traveller

 

They reflect the serene by enlightening the personal events.

 

wedding in kashmir

 

 

Conde Nast Traveller, along with being an international platform, is a widely spread medium for a travel guide. Its presence on social media is magnificent. Be it Twitter, Facebook, YouTube or Instagram, the magazine is a huge influencer in all its forms. And, having a separate column for Kashmir helps the valley to get an international recognition for its positive aspects over the negative ones (which are naturally more or less present in every state and the valley does not need to be known ideally for that). Hence, the Magazine helps Jammu and Kashmir to put forward its natural form instead of the one that has been framed over the years.

 

conde nast traveller

 

Through New Age Kashmir, we aim to bring the real Kashmir in front of the world. And, having support is all that matters to us. We wholeheartedly thank the initiative taken by Conde Nast Traveller to back the goal that we aim to achieve. We hope with a constant pace, strong belief and positive attitude we can one final day free Kashmir of its loops and let it shine in its true present beauty.

Haji Public School - ‘Terras Irradient’

Haji Public School – ‘Terras Irradient’

Let Them Illuminate the Earth.

Breswana village, an average, remote, inaccessible village in the mountains of Doda in Jammu and Kashmir, was an area where the concept of education was almost unknown for over 30 years. Yes you might have come across the name of the village quite a number of times, why not? Breswana village of Doda – a district 160 km northeast of Jammu was once a hub of militancy. Here almost every household was hit by militancy till 2004.

 

Rekindling hopes at Haji Public School

Walk with us today to an altitude above 7,100 feet, about 200-odd kms from Jammu through a rocky, harsh terrain with steep slopes, not to mention the adverse weather for most time of the year to a Road to Change.

In 2008, Sabbah Haji sat at her desk based out of Bangalore, and watched in harrowing news reels her small town in the Doda district as the Amarnath struggle of Jammu & Kashmir unfold. It was when Sabbah decided to move to Breswana and join her parents to change people’s lives there and grab positive news headlines for her ancestral home. And what better way to change people’s lives than to educate them?

“And just like that, out of nowhere, we started talking about it,” says Sabaah Haji, Director of Haji Public School, speaking to India Today.

Rekindling hopes for education in the Doda district which went without any education to feed the knowledge-hungry for 3 decades. Education will help break the vicious cycles of violence, terrorism that citizens find impossible to come out of.

Here’s how pieces of the jigsaw puzzle fit

The village overlooking the Chenab River needed to see a drastic change that would uplift it. Nasir Haji, Sabbah Haji’s uncle who is a Singapore-based Indian businessman almost impulsively decided on starting the Haji Public School to change people’s lives there by educating them. The government schools did not function and there were almost no private schools there.

“Uncle Nasir suggested we start a school there,” says Sabbah.

 

Sabbah Haji with students

 

The mountain-cut village school was established and is managed by Nasir’s brother Saleem Haji and his daughter Sabbah Haji. Her mother Tasneem Haji, an educationist, too is part of the school set up. For a School that has just one objective – to impart knowledge to those children who cannot avail of the academic facilities, a strong foundation for classrooms was needed.  What better way than all the village inhabitants coming together and laying the foundation of the school brick by brick?

The Haji Public School started on 4th May 2009, at the ground level, teaching only the lower and upper kindergarten students.

A master plan to get children back

From parents lined up around windows to poke their heads into classrooms as a curiosity to parents not willing to give up on a good education for their children so that they get an opportunity to make it on their own when they grow up, Haji Public School is making a redeeming difference. When it started, the school had student strength of 30 with two grades. As of today, the student strength has risen to 400 plus studying in classes up to eighth grades from 15 villages, who walk hours across mountains every day to attend school. Last year, Haji Public School’s first batch, who had joined in KG in 2009, cleared their Class 8 Board exams with flying colors. This year the second kindergarten batch is through.

2017 batch

 

“We have had families move from cities to the village for the school, because we provide good quality education. All of this is because we have kept it simple. Minimal fee structure, very competent teachers, good infrastructure and teaching aids and fun learning,” says Sabaah to India Today.

Talking about the positive change the school has brought about in his children, Abdul Latief Ahanger (father of two children studying in grade six and grade seven of HPS) says: “I always see them obsessed with books. Also, they were very shy in initial days but now, their level of confidence has increased manifold.”

It takes a big heart to shape a little mind! – That’s for our Volunteer teachers redefining education

 

Volunteer at HPS

 

Who would mind to spend some quality time with our good old Himalayan Mountains, you wonder! Well, many would especially because the district 160 km northeast of Jammu on the lap of our old friend was once a hub of militancy.

“I feel people are too scared to come here and there is a necessity to teach the students here more than any other normal city in India,” says Karishma, a volunteer teacher.

While there’s no doubt your experience in Breswana will be worthwhile, Sabaah warns that the volunteer programme is not a “chill volun-tourism gig” and we can’t agree more. After all, a good teacher makes a good student and that is exactly what HPS is trying to make, bright kids for a brighter tomorrow.

As a volunteer teacher at Haji Public School, you’ll be offered free boarding and lodging in return for your time at the school. Teaching roles at such remote, almost inaccessible places come with extra responsibilities and dedication. To be a volunteer at Haji Public School, you need to be very serious, hard-working, patient and a sincere worker as the hopes of many parents lie on their shoulders so that after completing their education they can work for betterment of their village and make it a better heaven.

Karishma Prakash, 25, quit her engineering job in Bengaluru and Sanu Khan, 30, took a sabbatical from Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) in Thiruvananthapuram. Both volunteer as teachers at the Haji Public School in Breswana village of Doda.

“Coming here has been an eye-opening experience. The children despite the different kind of hardship they face are tremendously bright,” says Dhamini Ratnam, 33, who quit her journalism job in Mumbai to teach class 7 students here.

Thanks to the efforts of these volunteers and many more who are trying to make it better with every single passing day whose constant efforts to make something out of these children is already bearing fruits.

Besides the many deodar and pine trees around the enthusiastic children are waiting for you. Go and share as much knowledge as you have acquired and let the nature be your teacher instead, that’s the best part of imparting knowledge!

You can check out the complete details of their Volunteer Programme here. Click here to see how you can help Haji Public School.

 

Leap of Happiness

Luckily, google up Breswana on the net now and you’ll find a lot of links that talk only about Haji Public School and Sabbah Haji. This amazing journey of changing the narrative of a strife-ridden place to a success story is all due to Sabbah and her amazing team that works day in and out for the betterment of the place.
New Age Kashmir salutes their will-power and will be back soon with more such stories that’ll help you find positive stories in a world full of negative headlines.

Sabbah Haji can be followed on Twitter: @imsabbah

The school website: http://www.hajipublicschool.org/

Braj Bihari Kachru, Linguist, Kashmiri Linguist

Remembering the Great Kashmiri Professor Braj Bihari Kachru

When we talk about the youth of Kashmir, their achievements and fame; we can’t leave behind the source of inspirations that guides them. It is the mixture of tradition and individual talent that propagates ones insight. We are all aware of our heroes like Sonam Wangchuk (Engineer, Innovator etc.), Zinda Kaul (Poet, Writer and Teacher), Anupam Kher (Actor & Chairman of FTII), Professor Amitabh Mattoo (writer- on international relations), Ustad Allarakha Qureshi (tabla player), etc. It’s time to remember and honor one of the most precious gem of the Valley, Professor and Linguist Braj Bihari Kachru.

Personal Life and childhood memories 

Braj Kachru’s father, Damodar Das Kachru, was an educator and much respected in the neighbourhood. He was lovingly called Lala Sahab. But, Kachru’s mother didn’t live much longer to see her son succeed as she died when he was only five years old. Born in 1932, Braj, was greatly influenced by his father’s status in society. He learned to be humble
and patient from him. Also, he had the opportunity to surround himself with the company of the famous Kashmiri writer and poet Zinda Kaul, who was very good friends with his father. Hence, Kachru was inspired by his elders and acquaintances, as the youth today is inspired by him!

Kachru’s Life as A Scholar
Kachru was Professor of Linguistics, Jubilee Professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Center for Advanced Study Professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana. The achievements of Kachru are enormous. He has authored and edited around twenty-five books. As a Linguistic professor, Kachru has studied and researched in the field of World Englishes,
including Asian, and one of his most influential research is based in the study of Kashmiri Language. His book “An Introduction to spoken Kashmiri” stands evident of his association and belonging to his motherland.

 

Koshur. Kashmiri Language, Kashmiri

 

Kachru has pioneered the study of “Koshur” (Kashmiri Language) and dedicated his pedagogy of spoken Kashmiri to his linguistic inclination. His work acts as a metaphorical support to the valley’s dying mother tongue. This article is an ode to the incredible Professor Kachru his indelible impression and charismatic raconteur. He was also a kind and caring mentor, a warm and supporting colleague, an imaginative institution builder and a confident, fearless, visionary intellectual. Even after his tragic demise in 2016, we as Kashmiris feel proud about his omniscient presence in our lives through his works. May his soul rest in peace!

BANNER NAG

The Other Kashmir – Developments in Kashmir over the Years

We have been living with the typical image of the stunning beauty of Kashmir. There are a number of books written about the colors of the Kashmir valley depicting its beauty, its cultures and traditions.
This Heaven on Earth is not just beautiful but also a source of pride for us Kashmiris. Let’s get over the beauty of Kashmir for some time and move over to some rapid developments that Kashmir has seen in the past few years.

Yes, it is raining developments in Jammu and Kashmir.

Prosperity, health, education, connectivity and jobs are all the parameters to measure development. Being a citizen of the paradise here is a little glimpse of the developing Jammu and Kashmir that’ll help people understand the realities much better.


Human Development Index:

Jammu Kashmir is ranked 7th among major 17 states with a score of 0.64 classified as medium HDI economy, which is of course better than other Indian states.


Infrastructure:

 

North India's first Cable stayed bridge

North India’s first cablestayed bridge – the fourth of its kind in the country.
Named Atal Setu, the bridge was inaugurated y Border Roads Organization (BRO) on Dunera-Basohli-Bhadharwah road in Basohali town in Kathua district of Jammu and Kashmir.

 

Chenab bridge

The Chenab Bridge – World’s highest railway bridge being built in Jammu and Kashmir.
Another reason to cheer is this arch type bridge being built over the Chenab River in Jammu and Kashmir’s Reasi district. The arch will stand higher than the Eiffel Tower.

 

patnitop tunnel

Chenani-Nashri tunnel (or Patnitop Tunnel) – country’s longest road tunnel.
An engineering marvel, Jammu-Kashmir’s new lifeline the longest tunnel will reduce the journey time by two hours and provide a safe, all-weather route to commuters travelling from Jammu and Udhampur to Ramban, Banihal and Srinagar.

 

Zojila Tunnel

The Zojila underground tunnel, which is to connect Ladakh to the rest of the country all year round.

Development of aviation sector in Jammu and Kashmir.
The Jammu Airport is set to offer a world-class experience to passengers with an expanded and modernised terminal.

 

Leh Airport

Leh Airport
Truly Heaven on Earth – An early morning landing at the Leh airport in Ladakh.

 

Srinagar_Airport

Srinagar Airport
Rated as the 2nd best airport in the world, in the category of handling up to 2 million passengers per year by the Airports Council International.

 

Train to Kashmir
The Baramulla-Banihal train racing down the snowy valley surrounded by mountains in the distance has become a talking point on social media, with even Railway Minister Piyush Goyal taking note of it. And, why not?

Kashmir Train Ploughing Through Snow Is A Feast For The Eyes

Railway line linking Kashmir with rest of India may become functional by 2021

New expressway from New Delhi to Katra

A project would come up which would reduce the distance between Delhi and Katra by 110 km.
Health:

 

Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Narayana Superspeciality Hospital

To bridge the health divide in Jammu and Kashmir there is an availability of Super specialty hospitals like SMGS, GMC in Jammu and SKIMS in Srinagar along with various other government health facilities.

In a recent development the centre has agreed to setting up two AIIMS in Jammu and Kashmir.


Education:

Education occupies a pivotal position in the socio-economic development. There are many Universities, Colleges like NIT and Medical colleges. Major ones are listed below.

List of universities

There are a lot of institutions of higher education that are preparing students for a promising career.

Infrastructure in Jammu & Kashmir – Education

“Best investment of any nation is in woman education”

Similarly, education of women in Jammu and Kashmir plays an important role in the development of the state. Slowly but steadily the status of education of women is improving in the society.

Status of Female Education in Jammu and Kashmir Since 1950

The Centre is planning to set up an Indian Institute of Management (IIM) in Jammu and Kashmir.

IIT Jammu to start this year with 90 students.


Sports:

 

The state is trying to give a boost to the sports infrastructure in the Valley to join the road of development.

JKOA demands reconstitution of Sports Council

In major push to sports, Jammu and Kashmir government announces a football club for every Valley village

Tourism:

 

kashmir-dal-lake

Jammu and Kashmir uses the power of nature and relies heavily on tourism and believe me a take a tour to Jammu and Kashmir and escape into the lap of nature.

Tourism in J&K is one of the most important sectors of economy.

Tourism acts as a catalyst in the development of backward and far flung regions of a particular area. Not only that, it has become a multi -segmental industry in Jammu and Kashmir by providing different types of jobs like hotel managers, guides, tour operators, chefs etc which further strengthens the J&K economy by increasing income and standard of living of the people. It can also give a boost to the economic condition of the residents by promoting local art like Handicrafts, Handlooms, Cricket bat industry and Ayurveda.


Extras:

More the violence less the development. Good news emerging from the valley as the number of youth joining militancy in Kashmir has come down in the recent years.

 

Astronomical Observatory in Ladakh

Not many will know but there is an Astronomical observatory in Ladakh.

It’s funny how the backward, underdeveloped and controlled Kashmir is the only thing that attracts the media’s eye. While on the other side these developments in Kashmir have demolished all the stereotypes and presented the image of the aspirational Kashmiri and not a stone-pelter Kashmiri.

IAS couple from J&K

 

jannat_kashmir

From young Kashmiris entering the civil services to a five-year-old girl cleaning up the Dal Lake, we are also determined and dedicated to develop our Nation.

BANNER (10)

ADEEBA TAK, the sunshine girl of Kashmir

‘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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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).

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.

 

 

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.

 

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.

Rising Star of Kashmir- Aabha Hanjura

Rising Star of Kashmir- Aabha Hanjura

“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

Aabha full

 

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.

 

Moulding ideas into Innovations, Kashmir

Afoot through the Kashmir Valleys’ (1902) by Marion Doughty rightly describes the forgotten Kashmir that unfolds under “the walnuts and the mulberries, shady and fruitful, ready to aid the hard lives of the people by their bountiful stores of food stuffs.”
These old books remind us of different times in the Kashmir Valley and will make you wish peace prevailed forever in our Paradise.Kashmir has walnut tress everywhere and a lot of people in the village and even the rest of Kashmir are involved in cultivating and selling walnuts. In fact it is one of the major sources of income for people of Jammu and Kashmir.
But, Kashmiri walnuts are a tough nut to crack. Manual walnut peeling and cracking is a tedious process. Also the sap of the walnut skin burns hands and stains clothes. So, the need of the hour was a WALNUT CRACKER which could easily crack, peel and wash walnuts saving huge time and manual labour.

mushtaq_dar

Oh wait, but Dr. G M Bhat, Director of University Science Instrumentation Centre (USIC) and Advisor, Entrepreneurship development Cell (EDC), University of Kashmir, says: “Such walnut cracker isn’t available even in China, where there is a flourishing walnut industry”.
Then how will we have it here in Kashmir???
‘Eureka!’ we have MUSHTAQ AHMAD DAR!

“Must is a hard nut to crack, but it has a sweet kernel.”
A walnut is totally tough on the inside but once you manage to crack that shell, then you are in for a treat. Keeping that in mind Mushtaq came up with a practical technological solution to the persistent problem. His keen eye for the problem led to an innovation which every Indian is proud of today.

“Innovations which help the poorest and the most deprived, are true innovations. India specialises in such innovations, though not many are widely known.”

Kreeri village in Shahabad area of South Kashmir, Islamabad district is no different in its beauty and allure than other places of Kashmir, but what sets it apart is that the place has given birth to a lot of innovators; three persons have come up with five interesting ones in last few years. Among those inhabitants is Mushtaq Ahmad Dar, who had a fondness for putting his creative ideas to practice right from his childhood.

Since he was a keen observer, he thought a machine that would help mechanically peel walnuts would be a great idea. So he developed a manually-operated walnut cracker, peeler and washer machine that can peel, wash and crack up to 80 kg of green walnuts of various sizes, shapes and thickness per hour without damaging the fruit inside, a process which would take days if done traditionally by hand.

Walnut cracker

“I used two wooden drums between whom the space can be adjusted according to the size of the nut. Walnuts are cracked between them as the drums start rolling while the cracked nuts are left beneath,” he explains.
This crude model of his walnut cracker machine was further modified by Dr Bhat and his team to increase the efficiency.
This home-grown technology has made life a lot easier. His innovation has made sure that walnut cultivation and production thrives and we can feel proud to serve the perfect gift from the Chinar country that anyone would be happy to snack on.

premium-quality-kashmiri-walnut-without-shell-gift-pack-6-97

The creative genius has participated in a workshop on Inventors of India, organised by prestigious Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad and was awarded a certificate for ‘knowledge network for incubating innovations into enterprises’.
The innovation impressed agencies from many countries including Gigi Cheung of China, Joe of Australia, Papakonstantinou A of Greece and Peter Kondrat of Poland have approached Dar for manufacturing rights of walnut cracker.

I feel elated. It is great feeling when requests for manufacturing rights by international agencies come,” Dar says.

He has received many accolades for his innovations and says it only increases his drive.

His mind was always open to the problems faced by people around him and he took interest in solving them. Dar did not stop there and went on to inventing a Pole climber for electricians as well. It could also be used for tree climbing.

“I am working on making a mechanical washing machine that can wash bulky clothes, particularly carpets. The machine should be ready in a couple of months”, he says.

Innovating better ways of living have made a qualitative difference in the lives of the local communities. All these inventions were in direct answer to a felt need, which obviously wouldn’t be addressed by formal channels. Adversity brings out the best in us, that’s why I guess Indians are innovative, even in such adverse circumstances.

“Every once in a while, a new technology, an old problem, and a big idea turn into an innovation.”
Keep coming back for more such hidden jewels

Beginning of Film Making Courses in Kashmir

Beginning of Film Making Courses in Kashmir

“Ye chand sa raushan chehra zulfon ka rang sunhera,

Ye jhil si nili aankhe, koi raaz hain inme gehra……….”

This song reminds the older generation of Shammi Kapoor singing to Sharmila Tagore in Kashmir Ki Kali in the midst of serene Dal Lake, Srinagar, and the younger ones of Ranbir Kapoor imitating Shammi Kapoor in Rockstar. In both the conditions the setting of Dal Lake and its magnificent beauty remains contagious. I can’t really hide my excitement when it comes to film shootings in Kashmir.  It happens often that we come across actors of the Bollywood industry. We have also witnessed various films being shot in our beautiful valley. Many of us have seen the snippets of shooting of popular films like Rockstar, Haider, and Ye Jawani Hai Deewani in the past years. Kashmir is not just a scenic beauty but also a hub of talent, which given an opportunity and right guidance will glow with names of its people.

Beginning of Treasure Hunt

Beginning of Treasure Hunt

Beauty & history of Kashmir leading to film shooting in the valley, and recognition of Kashmiri descent actors like Raaj Kumar, Jeevan, Anupam Kher, Manav Kaul, etc. is a renowned and recognised phenomenon. The dynamics of genius began to show when in 2011 Parallel Post, an e-magazine, in collaboration with Islamic University of Science & Technology (IUST), Awantipora organised a film festival called Verite Film Festival. The festival is held every year since its inauguration in 2011. It is aimed at exploring the hidden and budding talent in the field of film making among youth. The objective of the film festival is to brush and groom the potentials of short-story or documentary film makers across the country, especially from Kashmir. One such awarded film screened by Verite Film festival is Life on Wheels by Adil Shah.

 

Initiative of FTII- Film and Television Institute of India

Initiative of FTII- Film and Television Institute of India

Though held every year, Verite did not suffice the exposure that the youth required, they were missing the availability of guidance while opportunity was in abundance. Recently and for the very first time, FTII (Film and Television Institute of India) collaborated with Indian Army in Kashmir to roll out short-term Film Making Courses for the students interested in acting, smartphone filmmaking and screenplay writing. The initiative is engagingly welcomed by the students in Kashmir as a large amount of participants enrolled for the courses that will begin from 25 June, 2018 extending to 15-20 days of classes.

Object and Benefits

The short-term courses will help the students to realise their skills and potential in film making and learn about the right forms and methods used in the field. These courses will provide them with exposure and the opportunity to learn from highly qualified experts in the subject. I myself aspire a career in Film Making, to document my childhood experience of living in Awoora, Anantnag with my nain (grandmother), capture her delicious recipes and instil her Kashmiriyat into my film. FTII courses will give students like me the opportunity to learn and accomplish our dreams in the field. Once we learn well, we will be able to showcase better. There are platforms like KIFF (Kashmir International Film Festival) where the skills of Kashmiris in film making are exposed to entire world. KIFF serves as a huge platform for recognition of the potential present in Kashmir.

Vote of Thanks

We students, are all very eager to attend the courses presented by FTII in the categories of acting, film making and screenplay writing. The initiative will help in reviving the culture of Kashmir, the more students take part in it- the more native stories will come forward. In 2017, the film, Kashmir daily, of Kashmiri director Hussein Khan hit the box office in 2017. Hussein is an inspiration to the youth of Kashmir who despite having shifted to Mumbai after schooling decided to come back and produce a Kashmir based film. FTII will provide students with a platform to groom their talent and help them to explore the infinite boundaries of Film industry. At New Age Kashmir we appreciate their endeavour and aim to spread a word about the opportunity at hand.

Kashmir Super 30 Medical Project, 2018

Kashmir Super 30 Medical Project, 2018

Blessings come in all shapes and sizes. In the holy month of Ramzan, and very near to Eid, Indian Army gifts a bunch full of joys wrapped with opportunities, to the youth of Kashmir. The initiative to develop Super 30 programme from engineering to the field of medical has become a reason for the smile on the face of thousands of students; adding splendid joy to the festive occasion.

Super 30, the initiative by Anand Kumar, a mathematician, aims at providing entrance exam coaching for IIT-JEE to support the economically unprivileged students.  He is recognized world-wide for his mentor-ship and efforts.

A similar platform, Kashmir Super 40, was adopted by Indian Army for the student of Kashmir to help them achieve educational success. The initiative began in 2013 in collaboration with the Center for Social Responsibility and Learning (CSRL) and Petronet LNG Ltd. (PLL), solely for engineering students as “Kashmir Super-40”. The project was a big success. In 2017, 28 students from Super 40 had cracked IIT-JEE Mains exam while 9 got into IIT.

IIT/JEE in Kashmir

 

After the triumph of engineering project, the Indian Army inaugurated “Kashmir Super 30” on 12th June 2018 for medical aspirants in the valley. The entrance exam coaching programme for NEET is being managed by an NGO, National Integrity and Educational Development Organisation (NIEDO), based in Kanpur. The NGO will avail teachers for academics while the Indian army manages the overall logistics, administration and infrastructure of the programme with the funding from Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL).

Super 30 Medical in Kashmir

 

“I will be very happy to see you all joining the medical colleges across India next year”, says Chinar Corps Commander as he applauds, compliments and wishes luck to the selected students of Kashmir Super 30 for their final training period of 12 months. The selection process that began after signing the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on 15th March 2018 was lengthy and yet vigorous. NIEDO conducted a written test for over 14,000 applicants lead by an interview and screening test for 170 shortlisted students. They were finally able to select 30 skilled, bright and aspiring students from the huge crowd of enthusiastic candidates of Kashmir Valley. The fact that so many students were looking forward to career opportunities in medicine was inspiring. The whole procedure turned out to be one of the best event to be held during Ramzan.

Indian Army in Kashmir

 

We whole-heartedly thank our Indian Army for their support and productive vision for our future as they take another initiative in the field of academic development of Kashmir. The Kashmir Super 40 project have proved to be an effective tool in transforming the society and we hope the same from Kashmir Super 30 as well. We believe that the endeavour will infuse a new ray of hope in the lives of under-privileged students. It will not only help them in recognising their talents but also make them able for better employment opportunities. At New Age Kashmir we cherish the efforts of Kashmiri people, Army and look forward to more generative developmental ideas.

Khuram shafi mir

High-Density Apple Orchard Inaugurated in Kashmir

“Waqt lagta hai, par ho jata hai.”
says the protagonist, Shahid, of the Bollywood movie Shahid. Read the article to find out why I have opened my article with the above quote.apple orchards 

The apples of Kashmir do not need any introduction. The stories of the taste of its divine fruit are popularly spread across the globe and thus, are in high demand, especially, in South Asia. Jammu and Kashmir is famous for producing a wide variety of apples which serves as a direct or indirect source of income for farmers. It is in the apple-picking season, which is from late July to October, that the actual joy of farmers can be seen. The green apple orchards, the dew drops on the fruits, and the sun kissed trees magnify their happiness with the beauty of Kashmir.

To keep the craze of apple farming intact and to nurture the productive growth of apple plantation, an US-educated Kashmiri born engineer, Khuram Shafi Mir, has taken revolutionary actions towards it. He is the son of a farmer from Penjoora village, district Shopian, who from an early age of 17 has been making efforts to enhance the plantation of world-class apples that ripen in the arms of Kashmir. His achievements begun from establishing a Control Atmosphere Store (CAS) in 2009. After working hard for 9 years to revive the apple industry of Kashmir, he finally set up a high-density apple orchard in June 2018 in Leh region.

 

high density orchard

 

Khuram, for a very long time, wanted to set up a high- density apple orchard, which is different from traditional orchards. A high-density orchard gets sunlight from all directions which helps the apples to ripen in same colour from all sides. The dream has finally taken a shape with the help of Ladakhi engineer, innovator and education reformist, Sonam Wangchuk, whose vision has served as a guiding star for Khuram’s ideas.

The high- density orchard, initiated by Khuram, has been set up in Phyang village of Jammu and Kashmir, 19 kilometres away from Leh at the university campus of Sonam Wangchuk’s initiative, namely, Himalayan Institute for Alternate Learning (HIAL). The plantation began with planting 264 trees of Gala Redlum, Red Vilox, Fuji and Golden Reaindeep apple varieties. Khuram mentions that they have changed three layers of barren soil successfully to ensure healthy plantation. And, thanks to Wangchuk, as his innovation of irrigating the orchard with the strong trellis system that receives water from “ice stupa”, has added more motivation to the initiative.

 

ice stupa

 

Nazi Ahmad, the horticulturist and head of the task force for high density plantation, has estimated that by 2050 the demand for apples in the world will reach up to 160 lakh metric tons. The current production is of 35 lakh metric tons. As per Ahmad, this is the perfect time to choose contemporary technique of high-density orchards over traditional orchards. Even the locals have begun to realise the importance of high-density apple orchard and have already adopted to it.

 

apples

Khuram and Wanchuk are two Kohinoors (Diamond) of Kashmir. They continuously remind the youth about the necessity of education, the resulting economical and national growth that comes from it and the hard-work that eventually pays off. Khuram becomes an inspiration to generations for his vision as he takes revolutionary steps towards the development of his state and country altogether.
New Age Kashmir happily represents gems like Sonam Wangchuk, the great engineer who inspired the character of Phunsukh Wangdu in “3 Idiots”, and introduce sprouting personalities like Khuram Shafi Mir, who have over and over taught the lesson of hard-work and dedication.