Way back in 17th century Mughal Emperor Jahangir is believed to have said:- “If there’s ever a heaven on Earth, it is here(the Kashmir Valley)”. It is famous for mountainous landscapes and holy shrines and it can be stated that the Indian state of J&K truly lived upto the expectations of people along with the tag ‘paradise on earth’ is rather a justification. Having talked about that now let us digest the real truth of J&K. The state is strife-torn, famous for violence, sudden terrorist strikes, and there goes never ending sequence of protests. It means people of J&K needs to be cautious and alerted as the situation demands that only. Now from the tag of ‘Valley of Paradise’ it became ‘Valley of Death’. Also the presence of Indian military in this region puts restriction on locals to move out of their own freedom. The story was about J&K cricketers and the reader might be thinking that talking about J&K might be a deviation from the actual path. This is mainly done to put forward the situation of J&K and how some Kashmiri youth despite regional problems found some solace in sports of cricket. cricketers like Parvez Rasool, Amir Hussain Lone, Rubiya Sayeed and Manzoor Ahmad Dar prove how cricket gave them an option to express themselves and their potential to the world, allowing them to break out and excel.
As we all know that Parvez Rasool is a spinner in the Indian bowling department, his entry into the Indian team from a place like Kashmir is like “Setting Thames on fire”. There are many youths from J&K who always dream to become a part of playing 11 and Rasool’s entry has given them light of hope. Earlier he was suspected as a terrorist because he was believed to be carrying explosives in his bags at a time when he came to Bangalore to represent J&K in under 22 trophy. It was found that Rasool was innocent and police freed him. This incident could have made Rasool to shift his focus away from cricket. But he’s a real gentleman and came back strongly and now he’s a part of the playing 11. He set an example that despite all odds you will taste success only if you believe in yourself and work hard to achieve your dreams.
We have talked a lot about Parvez Rasool but now we shift our attention to Amir Hussain. Rasool is no doubt Kashmiri star but real superstar is Amir Hussain. It was very much tragic of an incident when he lost his both arms in his father’s bat manufacturing sawmills. But can you believe that he’s now the captain of J&K para cricket team. He definitely deserves an award for this. It is near to impossible achievement but for them nothing is impossible for them. He holds his bat between his neck and chin and bowls with his legs. He loves to play the glance off his legs towards square leg. He’s a leg spinner and uses his right foot to grip the ball. Really a salute to them. Next time if anyone asks for any example of inspiration then examples of these J&K would be the best ever.
While Hussain’s story is about overcoming physical odds, Rubiya Sayeed’s is about breaking stereotypes and a glass ceiling. Now Kashmiri women are slowly making their presence felt in the global theatre. Rubiya belongs from Badasgam of Anantnag district in south Kashmir. She recently played for North Zone women’s team in a inter-zone tournament organized by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in Mumbai. She played a marvellous innings in BCCI’s Under 23 Women’s League scoring 160 runs with the highest being 82 in a match against hosts Punjab. It is because of her awesome performance that impressed the selectors and finally she made it to the North Zone team. In a country like India cricket is being dominated by boys only. The society doesn’t value cricket as a profession especially for a girl. And we already know that J&K is a state of constant turmoil. Despite that Rubiya is a successful cricketer. Really she’s an inspiration for women all around India to take up cricket as profession.
With turmoil and violence being regular players in J&K, it is very difficult for any youngster to take up cricket as profession because access to equipments, coaches and training facilities are all scarce. That’s what makes Rasool, Hussain and Sayeed’s achievement, all the more special, setting up an example of courage, will power, persistence etc and in general terms providing hopes for tomorrow.