-Talent is like electricity. We don’t understand Electricity, we use it.

                                                                                                                        -Maya Angelou

Kashmir is the Indian state where people possess limitless talents. The people here probably have something special embedded in their genes to be able to possess such multitude of gifts. Be it any field like sports, acting, dancing, singing etc the Kashmiris have excelled and left the world mesmerized by their performance. Virtues of hard work, dedication, willingness to proof and exploring their own limits provides them the X factor required to create indestructible marks in the history of any particular field. Just like any passionate youngster, they take great pride in representing their state and country, thereby giving every ounce of their energy so that they can bring glory to the nation. Belonging to a state that is torn apart by the terrorists and provides very less opportunities of growth in any sector, they face a lot of struggles for their basic rights. Growing in such a hard environment, struggling to meet basic necessities, they become born fighters. This spirit combined with unreal talent makes a deadly combination, which is reflected in their performance. All we need to do is to present them with necessary opportunities. In subsequent paragraphs I would cover few of the illustrious Kashmiris who had contributed and created a niche for themselves in their respective fields.

Noted historians like Lalit Gupta, thinkers like Amitabh Mattoo, scientists like Sonam Wangchuk and Subhash Kak and scholars like Ved Kumar Ghai are some of the famous names in these particular fields. All of these have been born and brought up in Jammu and Kashmir, and made their name in academic field despite the hardships.  Apart from them Shah Faesal (first IAS topper from Kashmir), Mudasir Rehman Dar (Painter and creative artist, awarded in Asia and India book of Records) and KSHMR (EDM artist) are globally known names. Our own Bollywood has many gems from the state such as Hina Khan, Kunal Khemu, Mohit Raina, Vidhu Vinod Chopra and many more. Naming out each and every one is not possible in one article. However, these names are just a drop in the ocean and indication of the heights achieved by the Kashmiris in their respective fields.

Sports has been the favourite field for Kashmiris. The locals love a field day more than anything else. The kids and young people are seen playing all sorts of games right from the beginning. It is said that Kashmir has more stadiums than schools. Till now Kashmir has produced nineteen international football players. Abdul Majeed Kakroo took the game to another level. As a striker he became the first player from Kashmir to Captain Indian team. He went on to play for two of India’s greatest football clubs, Mohan Bagan and East Bengal. Muheet Shabir, a footballer from Srinagar has been bought by Kerala Blasters Football club. The young goalkeeper started out of Jammu & Kashmir football academy and is one of its finest products. Afshan Ashiq is Captain and goalkeeper of Jammu & Kashmir women’s football team. Her picture as an angry Kashmiri girl pelting stones at the Jammu & Kashmir police got her into national media spotlight. Her achievement in the sport is a testimony that sports takes the youth away from radicalization and anti-national activities. The transformation of Afshan Ashiq is a true inspiration for the youth of Kashmir. Moreover her story clearly highlights that how the extremists & separatists misguide the youth of Kashmir & destroy their future.

Cricket is another very popular in Kashmir as a leisure time sport for youngsters. Jasia Akhtar is the first women from Kashmir to be selected for the India’s women national cricket team. Parveez Rasool Zargar is an all-rounder who became the Captain of Jammu & Kashmir team and a regular member of India A. Rasool was the first cricketer from Jammu & Kashmir to have played in IPL. Abdul Samad, Umran Malik & Rasikh Salaam have been regular players & famous names in IPL. Apart from these famous sports people also follow sports like Basketball, adventure sports, Wushu, ice sports etc. Kashmir with its varied and rich geographical specialities provide a great scope for adventure sports like skiing, ice skating, ice hockey, paragliding and mountaineering. With current pace & advancements in infrastructure Kashmir is soon going to produce many world class players in all fields in coming times.

The pool of talent in Kashmir needs no introduction. However, ways and means need to be devised so that such talent is spotted, supported, developed, provided the right opportunity and infrastructure so that it can reach the pinnacle and perform to the maximum of its ability. The state government and central government need to work hand in hand and institute long term methods. Provision of infrastructure, good education, basic facilities are the primary role of the government that in turn will produce many such legends in all fields, who will surely represent the country at the top most level. Then our beautiful Kashmir will truly become beautiful and be known for the right reasons.

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