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JAMMU: Quleen Kaur Bijral an alumnus of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University has successfully announced the online launch of her first novel titled “The Witch Some Witch” published by the reputed Partridge Publishing, a Penguin Company.

In the novel the author pours forth an unforgiving story of the voiceless while reaching after the suspenseful depths of a beautiful brave world. What is the message of the work – attack apathy and instill the need for awareness. As without it, anyone can turn us into a scapegoat, a victim and even a slave!

“The novel as a witty prose of memory, revenge, love and crime is a chilling story about a murder in self-defense, dishonour of a hapless girl, a town reeling from riots and a forced sacrifice for a witch,” the author tells. 

The fantasy/horror novel is now available online on Amazon.in

An excerpt from the book:

The witch. Some witch. I wanted her to be fiery like some mighty deity. I wanted her to be evil like a sinful siren. I wanted her to titillate me, incite fear, mystery and alarm. I didn't want her to be human.

About the Author

Quleen Kaur Bijral known by the pen name Quleen O Queen is a writer, journalist, musician and an avid lawn tennis player. As an alumnus of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi, Quleen clinched First Position in her Masters and recently submitted her doctoral thesis. She works as a columnist at the Logical Indian. And as a musician, she is planning to release a music album on the great Urdu shayari by Iqbal, Ghalib, Meer, Dehlvi and Faiz.  

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JAMMU: The Pashmina Artist and the global voice for the community across Himalayas, Babar Afzal today got constituted with the Karmaveer Chakra and Karmaveer Global Fellowship in association with the United Nations. Karmaveer Puraskaar is National People's Awards for Citizen Social Justice and action in India. These awards are instituted by iCONGO. All the awardees are dubbed Noble Laureates. These awards seek to celebrate and inspire individual citizen social responsibility, justice' and action initiatives and are held every year on, the day the Indian Constitutional Pledge was signed. 

Babar has been conferred with this award for his constant advocacy work for the community from past several years. He stated that the pashmina weaving in the Indian handicrafts industry used to take place through middlemen. These middlemen exploit the artisans by not paying them amounts commensurate with their art. Babar from past few years has been looking at multiple ways to change this scenario. Hence he is working on establishing a social business model of Pashmina Goat Project, connecting the poor shepherds, weavers, craftsmen and women with the global markets by building a global supply chain focused on developing human capability and skills at the grassroots level, providing steady income for rural men and women in the most depressed parts of Jammu & Kashmir and connecting them with markets in the United States. Babar  is the founder of Pashmina Goat Project.

It is his story that clearly shows how determination and willpower, enables one to serve humanity. He believes that the reason behind his devotion to the cause is seeing underprivileged people empowered. He wants to identify, develop and enhance their skills, so that they could continue sustaining and lead a respectful life In order to uplift the grassroots and introduce them into the pashmina production value chain, he established KASHMIRINK Foundation, which works to enhance their artisanal skills and design sense, helping them further to become entrepreneurs. By elevating their status from mere wage earners to become business owners, it aims to providing better ways to artisans, especially women to earn more and lead a financially empowered life. It’s all about turning artisans as leaders within their occupation and to become self-employed for the future.

Babar Afzal has been nominated for the prestigious REX Karmaveer Global Fellowship (2015-16) honor and the Karmaveer Chakra award instituted with the UN. REX Karmaveer Global Fellowship is for life-changing innovators, champions of change and people striving to fulfil their passions and dreams, to network and collaborate with like-minded, ethical and socially conscious global citizens. A Hacker who quit his international corporate career to become a Pashmina Goat Shepherd in High Himalayas to save the Pashmina Goats and the Luxury Pashmina Eco-System of Himalayas.

He is a Luxury Pashmina Artist, Activist and a Shepherd. He is the inventor of Unique Luxury Pashmina Art which he discovered, developed and perfected while he was living as a Nomad in Higher Himalayas. He is the founder of the Pashmina Goat Project and is featured regularly in state, national and international media, and referred many a time as "the Most Credible Man on Luxury Pashmina in the World". Babar was profiled by TIME Magazine in its "Genius Issue" where only 10 people have been profiled so far from around the world in the past decade. Babar is a proud recipient of the Shri. Rabindranath Tagore Award, Dr.B R Ambedkar Award, Shri.Rajiv Gandhi Excellence Award & Bharat Gaurav Award. He is a public speaker and he makes an attempt to talk and link the world to his real Heros "The Pashmina Shepherds and Weavers and Craftsmen and Women of Himalayas".

He also holds a rich international experience of working as a senior professional for organizations including McKinsey & Company Inc. and Computer Associates in India, USA, UK, Middle East and Saudi Arabia as a Technology Analyst, Business Consultant, Information Security Architect and A Senior Project Manager. He is a graduate in Electronics and a Post Graduate in Business and holds over 25 High End International Business and Computer Certifications and is also a Certified CISSP and PMP from PMI(USA). He said, “I dedicate this award to the real Heros of the Pashmina Eco-System of Himalayas which include the Pashmina Goats, the Weavers, Craftsmen and Women of Ladakh, Kashmir and Basholi”.

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NEW DELHI: SaMaPa (Sopori Academy of Music And Performing Arts), the well known music academy of India by music legend Pandit Bhajan Sopori and music maestro Abhay Rustum Sopori, today announced the names of the recipients of this year’s SaMaPa awards, the exclusive national level honours pertaining to Jammu & Kashmir. The awards will be given on 2nd, 3rd & 4th of December 2016 during the 12th edition of SaMaPa Sangeet Sammelan, the topmost classical music festivals of Delhi.    

SaMaPa is a cultural movement translating from a deep rooted vision of the great music legend Pandit Bhajan Sopori and the tireless efforts of the members of Board in creating a unique, unbiased and empowering national level platform for presentation, propagation, and teaching of traditional music and performing arts. SaMaPa is acclaimed as a Cultural Bridge of the State of Jammu & Kashmir with the rest of the country and to have created a new generation of music connoisseurs. 

The prestigious ‘SaMaPa Kala Vardhan Samman’ is being conferred upon Sanskar Bharati, a national level cultural organization for its immense contributing towards the growth & development, and promotion & propagation of Indian art & culture. The Award will be presented to Baba Yogendra, the eminent cultural activist and Founder member of Sanskar Bharati, who will be felicitated for his lifetime contribution to Indian art and culture.

The award will also be presented to Pracheen Kala Kendra for its significant contribution to growth and propagation of Indian classical music and dance. The award will be presented to eminent Kathak Guru and founder of PKK, Dr. Shobha Koser who will be felicitated for her lifetime work and contribution. ‘SaMaPa Vitasta Award’, which carries cash honour of Rs. 50,000 is being conferred upon the veteran vocalists Pandit Venkatesh Kumar from Dharwad for his lifetime contribution to Hindustani classical music (Vocal).

‘SaMaPa Nund Rishi Samman’, which carries cash award of Rs. 25,000 will be given to Abdul Rashid Hafiz and Gulzar Ahmad Ganaie for their immense contribution to Kashmiri Folk Music. ‘SaMaPa Acharya Abhinavgupt Samman’, which carries cash award of Rs. 11,000 is being conferred upon Meena Banerjee from Kolkata for her lifetime contribution to the field of art and culture as a music critic & musicologist. ‘SaMaPa Yuva Ratan Samman’, which carries cash award of Rs. 11,000 will be conferred upon Kamal Sabri, one of the foremost Sarangi players of the younger generation for his significant achievements and works in the field of Hindustani classical music (Sarangi). 

The announcement was made by the General Secretary of SaMaPa and music maestro Abhay Rustum Sopori in New Delhi. He said that the awards will be presented during SaMaPa Sangeet Sammelan 2016 by music legend Pandit Bhajan Sopori and many other dignitaries.  

SaMaPa Sangeet Sammelan 2016 is featuring some of the eminent musicians of Indian classical music including music legend Pandit Bhajan Sopori & maestro Abhay Rustum Sopori (Santoor), Pandit Venkatesh Kumar, Malini Awasthi, Bholanath Mishra (Vocal), Ustad Faiyaz Wasifudding Dagar (Dhrupad), Pt. Rajendra Gangani (Kathak Dance), Kamal Sabri (Sarangi), Gaurav Mazumdar (Sitar) and many others. The festival is also a gateway for the young musicians with exceptional talent getting their first stage in a prestigious festival along with senior legendary maestros of the country. This year, again a number of young musicians will be presented and promoted in the festival. The festival is being presented in collaboration with Incredible India, Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India, Ministry of Culture, Govt. of India, IFFCO and SCZCC. The festival will also feature the Annual edition of Painting Exhibition featuring the artists of Jammu and Kashmir presented in collaboration with J&K Academy of Art, Culture & Languages.