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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. 

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SRINAGAR: A Malaysian group of 71 people who recently visited Kashmir showered praise on Valley’s beautiful landscape and hospitality. The Malaysia group was headed by Nursufinas Binti Othman Malaysian agent “She said Kashmir needs to be promoted at international level especially in Malaysia where from many travellers will love to visit Kashmir”.  He said Kashmir has beautiful landscape, culture and tradition which can attract tourists from around the globe. The group all come from Malaysia to listen the folk Music of Kashmir. 

The group also enjoyed hospitality in Kashmir. “We were surprised at the way Kashmiris are welcoming the visitors here. They give a home like feeling to tourists and are eagerly waiting to provide services at affordable rates,” they said. “It is surreal experience, there is no place beautiful than this Valley,” Mohyi Bin Mokmin says “hoping that he would come again to Kashmir more often and also promote it across globe so that more and more people come to know about the beautiful valley.”

“I had not heard about this place till my friend told me. But there were apprehensions about security as people keep telling that this place is not safe. But what I found here is totally different experience, the people here are hospitable and warm and also there is no threat,” he added.“We (Malaysian) are more comfortable in Kashmir than any other part because of religious belief and food patterns,” said Seriatin Binti Abd Rahim a female from Malaysian said. “Dresses here are quite cheaper in comparison to Malaysia. As a result of which I am working out on possibilities of importing stuff from here,” she said.

She added that “The folk Music it is really amazing I can’t understand but instruments was super”. “Kashmir needs to preserve its environment and essence to keep attracting tourists,” she said. The group stayed in Kashmir for three days and visited famous Mughal gardens, Dal Lake, heritage sites in Srinagar and also the prime tourist resorts like Gulmarg. 

The tour was organised by Sufindia Tour & Travels and also held event in Zarbarwan Park related folk Music and culture of Kashmir.  Managing Director Tauseef Ahmed Bhat, Sufindia Tour & Travels, While speaking to News Agency Press Trust of Kashmir he said that “this group is mesmerized by Folk Music and hospitability of Kashmir. They have promised to promote Kashmir tourism in their country.”

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JAMMU: Aabha Hanjura, an award-winning singer, live performer, composer and songwriter who seeks her inspiration from the deeply embedded Sufi influence in the Valley of Kashmir launches her latest single, Khanmoej Koor.  The track is from her forthcoming album, Aabha Hanjura & the sound of Kashmir, a popular melancholic piece sung at most Kashmiri weddings. The song has been written by Lt Nazir Das, a poet from Kashmir.


Aabha's music is a unique mix of fresh modern and compelling vintage influences that render a matchless sound which has a universal appeal. Khanmoej Koor by Aabha Hanjura, captures the anxiety in the bride’s mind as she nervously embarks upon the journey to her new home. Its features her shyly imploring her brother to bid her adieu as she takes the long walk towards a new life, her feet and soul burdened by the weight of memories.


Aabha Hanjura’s Kashmiri Folk Ensemble a live project which features authentic Kashmiri instruments like rabab, santoor, Kashmiri saarangi and the percussions of Kashmir like, tumbaknari alongside a LIVE band that creates a unique sound that is truly her’s.

Sharing about Khanmoej Koor, Aabha says “Khamoej Koor is a deeply personal song for me & while it’s ready to release I can’t help but feel that with this track,I will be baring a part of my soul for the world to see, while this is an artist’s job, it’s a bittersweet feeling. Everything about the song & the video is a page from my own life.”

Over the years, Aabha has enthralled audiences with her concerts across India. An eclectic live performer, Aabha castes a spell on the audience with her inimitable ardour and breathtaking energy. ‎She is the founder and the front woman of India's popular Sufi, Folk rock ensemble, 'Sufistication'.  "Khanmoej Koor is the latest single from eclectic folk pop singer & composer, Aabha Hanjura’s forthcoming album, Aabha Hanjura & The Sound Of Kashmir.


A popular melancholic piece sung at Kashmiri weddings , the song has been written by Lt Nazir Das, a poet from Kashmir. Sung by a Kashmiri bride, to her brother, the song tugs at your heart, for its gut wrenching poetry. 


The poignant narration of the song captures the anxiety in the bride’s mind as she nervously embarks upon the journey to her new home. As the valedictory reality sets in, the bride is overcome by nostalgia as her mind wanders through the events that symbolize “bidding goodbye” & she warily takes leave. She hesitantly implores her brother to bid her adieu as she takes the long walk towards a new life, her feet and soul burdened by the weight of memories.”

  • Aabha Hanjura & The Sound Of Kashmir

An album in the working for 2.5 years, this album is a labour of love of eclectic folk pop singer & composer, Aabha Hanjura who is a pioneer in reinventing the rare and unique accents of long lost Kashmiri folk sounds and instruments.The album also features an ensemble of vintage instruments like the reflective 'rabaab' that embodies the depth of the valleys accompanied by the melodious "santoor" reminiscent of meandering wild rivers finished with the rustic sound of the "tumbaknaari" that evokes the calm sense of homecoming signified by the Dal Lake. A first of its kind, Kashmiri pop album, it consists of some of Aabha’s original compositions & some Kashmiri folklore , covering the work of some of the most prominent saints, poets & dervishes of the valley. The debut single, Hukus Bukus,from the album went on to become a viral sensation ,garnering more than 1.5 million views on YouTube.

  • About Aabha

Aabha Hanjura is the founder and vivacious lead singer of the eclectic folk-pop band Sufistication. An award winning singer, live performer, composer, and songwriter, she has established herself as a unique independent musician since starting off in 2012. She is a pioneer in reinventing the rare and unique accents of long lost Kashmiri folk sounds and instruments. Her latest single, Hukus Bukus, from her forthcoming album, Sound Of Kashmir, a viral sensation, went on to garner more than a million organic views on YouTube, reaching a global audience and not just her core fans in J&K and the rest of India. Aabha recently successfully concluded a historic mega concert in Kashmir, that was attended in large numbers by both her fans and the crème de la crème of the valley’s society & was also awarded as the Best Folk Artist of 2017, at the 6th Artist Aloud Awards.