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SRINAGAR: Youth are a prized possession of a nation, full of energy, ideas, and dreams. Yes, struggles too. Even Islam, the religion of peace, attaches great importance to this young age. It occupies first slot in the hadith in which Prophet Muhammad says, “Take advantage of five (things) before five,” and begins with, “Your youth before your old age”. Jammu and Kashmir is a young state which, over the years, against all odds, has produced some great names that have won many accolades and earned great respect in their respective fields both at the state as well as international levels.

Kashmir News Bureau (KNB) interact with two of youth – cricketer Parvez Rasool and businessman Javid Parsa – from the Valley whose journeys have been full of struggles, but whose dedication and perseverance got them through. They have not stopped where they have reached, but continue with their efforts to contribute and inspire many others to walk the path of their dreams.

“There is a lot of hard work behind any achievement,” began Parvez Rasool, who along with his fellow cricketer Irfan Pathan was waiting for the lunch when we arrived in Sher-E- Kashmir cricket stadium near All Saints Church in Srinagar. “All of us are aware that when it comes to cricket or any other sport, the infrastructure and facilities are equivalent to nil in Jammu and Kashmir. Despite this, choosing cricket as a profession was a big decision. But, the most important thing in my case was my father himself was a cricketer who has been a great support,” he said.

Parvez, who belongs to south Kashmir’s Anantnag district, added that he had to cover 50 kilometres in a bus with a hefty kit when he was playing for Under-16. “I had to face a lot of hardships,” the state’s star cricketer said. According to Parvez, he ‘exactly’ realised that he could take cricket as a profession when he played Under-23 and finished as a top all-rounder and scored 700 runs in the North Zone cricket for which his team had qualified for the first time.

“Then, I also had a good Ranji Trophy season. Afterwards, when Bishan Sing Bedi joined, he said several good things about me and my bowling, which made me take my bowling a bit seriously. That year, I took 33 wickets in seven games and scored 600 hundred runs. Thereafter,, I figured in India A and then in Board President’s XI in 2013 against Australia which had international players including Steve Smith on its side. I took seven wickets for 45 runs against Australia. This was a turning point in my career,” recounted Parvez.  “I was then selected in the national team for the Zimbabwe tour but, unfortunately, I couldn’t get to play any game.”

Based on his all-round performance in Ranji Trophy 2013-14 season in which he picked 27 wickets and scored 663 runs in nine matches, Parvez was honoured with the Lala Amarnath Award. He has, so far, played two international matches: an ODI and a T20 match against Bangladesh and England respectively. With the exception of last season, Parvez Rasool has also played with Royal Challengers Bangalore, Pune Warriors India and Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Indian Premiere League (IPL). “Definitely, when one puts in his best efforts, God also stays with him,” remarked Rasool. 

Sitting with his guests at a corner table in his single-room restaurant at Sarah shopping complex was the Managing Director of Parsa Foods and Beverages, Javid Parsa. Earlier, when we entered, we mistook him as a customer and went straight ahead to the counter to ask one of his employees where he is. The employee stretched his free arm and pointed towards where Javid was seated.

Our greetings and introduction was a kind of interruption as he was busy talking and listening to his guests, who he later said were going outside the Valley the next day. But he was decent enough to offer us a table next to his and requested five minutes to finish his meals. He ordered food (rolls) for us too. Javid launched his new brand Parsa’s in October 2017, doing away with Kathi Junction he previously ran.

“I want to expand my horizon and it is my dream to take this pocket-friendly menu to every corner of the state, while creating more businessmen,” Javid said. “Majority of the youth who are taking my franchisees have just stepped out of colleges. I want to create a pool of good, genuine and young businessmen”.

Javid has already set targets to be achieved by the end of 2018. “We are targeting around ten outlets and provide employment to around 100 Kashmiris, which is a moment of pride for all of us at Parsa’s,” the ambitious businessman said. So far, under brand Parsa’s, outlets in Baramulla, Leh, and SSM College have been launched. Another outlet is due to open at IUST on September 18.

When asked what massage he would like give to the youth of Kashmir, Javid said, “Life never comes easy. We fail but only to rise again. People, friends, businesses come and go. The only thing that stays with us is our honesty, hard work and determination. The most important thing is that you need to listen to your heart. It may not be always right but, at the end of the day, accept yourself as an imperfect human being”.

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SRINAGAR: Meet Aadil from Bandipora who is a singer by passion, a Youtuber living his dreams and achieving all with his hard work. Aadil made his  debut with “Chand” on his Youtube channel in the year 2017. He completed his M.Sc. in  Environmental Science from Dehradun.  

Aadil set Youtube on fire by his song “Dupte Nunem”. His YouTube Channel has crossed 81K subscribers and counting.  “Dupte Nunem” was first uploaded on YouTube on March 31, 2018, and has garnered over 5,318,522 views and 46k likes so far.

Senior Editor, Kashmir News Bureau, Malik Sameed interviewed Aadil Gurezi. KNB produces the interview in full below..

How is life as a YouTuber? Tell us about your experiences?

Youtube is a very big platform and one can’t ignore the power of a quality content, sooner or later it gets noticed and all of  sudden you find yourself in the limelight. The road to success isn’t that much easy and I have faced my share of rejections but at the end of the day it is your will power & determination that matters the most.

In Kashmir, Do you think it is a challenge to sing?

In Kashmir, parents need to understand that there’s much scope in alternate careers and being doctors, engineers, and civil servants isn’t the end of world. We can contribute to our society in many ways like I represent Kashmiri language and culture overall through my music and stage shows. I am thankful to people of Kashmir who supported and posted my videos on their instagram pages and other social media sites as Jammu and Kashmir is only state where people have good number of followers and pages likes as compared to other state of India.

Has any music director approached you?

I never keep it in mind that Bollywood music director will approach me. I am doing it for my Kashmir to represent my culture, language. No doubt if you will work good, people will recognize you.  The ones who rejected me earlier are today willing to work with me today and I treat it as a blessing and at the same time I want to take this opportunity to thank all those people who have appreciated my work and share my videos online over the past many years.

You are now Youth icon in Kashmir, How do you feel?

I am thankful to people of Kashmir, they supported me in all ways. People supported during my tough times when I was suffering from throat infection. That is true I am getting good comments from Kashmir and as well as bad comments but I am focusing on good comments. 

What would be your message to the aspiring Kashmiri youth? 

Dedication and Confidence!

I always say, where there is a will there is a way. One who wishes to sing always finds songs.

 

Do well, represent your culture, language, don’t think Kashmiri language is only within Kashmir and only people of Kashmir will watch you.  Friends!  Don’t think less people will love us. Music has no language. After I sung Dupte Nunem, people across the world watched and appreciated me.

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SRINAGAR: “Poverty is the biggest curse, the claws go deep and when poverty strikes, the ripples do not leave anyone untouched,” said Khatoona Begum with tears rolling down from her sunken eyes.

Khatoona Begum probably in her sixties ,a resident of Kupwara, while narrating her story  said “I along with my family were living a happy kind of life ,a life which was full of happiness ,we were happy in our small world, My husband was the sole bread winner for our family and we had everything, food to eat, shelter to live and clothes to wear, the basic necessities but time keeps on changing and destiny has its own plans. One day my husband met a massive stroke and lost his right side to paralysis and that day was the biggest turning point in our lives,” she added. 

“Soon after this incident the tale of our life completely changed,we lost our caretaker,the one who was feeding my family became unable to work, and He was just confined to a chair and was sitting at one place. Time kept worsening because of the growing needs and unavailability of money to take up the treatment of the paralyzed husband and a my daughter who is suffering from malnutrition”, Khatoona said. 

“The whole responsibility was now left on my shoulders, I was in need of work ,I tried my luck everywhere but could not make it , Months passed I was shattered after losing all hopes I was just praying to Almighty.It was July 2014 when ICRP team visited our village,The team members delivered speech regarding Umeed and aware us what this project ‘UMEED’ is all about and through them I got to know what this project is all about and how beneficial it is for people like us ,Within days me and other women in our village like me who were in need of money to survive ,we formed and joined Self-help group namely ‘Jasmine’ ,so After the formation of self-help group ,the first thing we all do was that we started saving 100 Rupees each and opened a joint bank account,”she said with smile on her face. 

“Days passed ,I along with my self-help group members started to attend regular meetings ,we just learnt what this project is and we followed all the Panchsutras (five principals of this project UMEED) and after three months our jasmine group was eligible for Revolving fund ,(RF) an amount of 15000,and JKSRLM department gave that amount to our group ,the amount was divided into three ladies by our group leader ,after some months again our group was eligible for Community Investment Fund( CIF) an amount of 40000 , I myself took an amount of 20000 from that and bought a candle machine and some material for making candles, and started making candles at home,” Khatoona recalled. 

“I along with my kids expensed  day  night in making candles of different varieties ,I could have utilized this amount in any other business but I started making candles because our village has scarcity of power and being not so economically sound people in our village prefer to buy candles ,so I thought that I will get good amount  by selling out these candles  within my  locality,” she said.

“After passing months my financial condition was a bit sound now ,but the problem was I wanted to setup a  shop ,apart from making and selling candles , so after some months our self help group was eligible for CIF 2(Community Investment Fund and I took 50000 from this CIF2 and set up a  shop with in my locality,” she said. 

On being asked how much amount you earn monthly and what JKSRLM project Umeed is for you ,she said that, “At present I earn near about 40000 per month and it’s all because of UMEED project ,I suggest people who are like me to get attached with this project ,take me as biggest example, there was time in my life when I had no money to buy basic necessities to survive, When I was wandering here and there but nobody was there for me ,everybody turned up their face against me ,and at that time Umeed project adopted me and now I own everything as I am owner of a shop and make candles which I later sell to  various villages of Kupwara and I have  made some savings of  around 1 lac Khatoona joyfully said with a shine in her eyes.