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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.

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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