They are focused and determined, and are now being recognized for their efforts. Saima Bhat highlights some of the many Kashmiris who have achieved and inspired in 2011.


Arshad Mushtaq

Arshad Mushtaq was awarded the International Fellow at the Documentary Center, George Washington University in Washington DC, USA for the year 2010-2011.  The fellowship, designed for practising documentary filmmakers, brought together 20 filmmakers from across the globe to the United States.

A Kashmiri theatre play, ‘Wattepaed’ (footprints) directed by Arshad Mushtaq has been selected for performance in National School of Drama’s annual International Theatre Festival, Bharangam-2012, a rare feat for a Kashmiri production. Arshad has also directed plays like ‘Su Yee’ (He will come) and ‘Akh Daleel Loolech’ (A story of Love). ‘Su Yee’ was the first ever Kashmiri production to be showcased in the same festival earlier.

Showkat Nanda

Showkat Nanda, a freelance photojournalist and formerly Assistant Editor with Kashmir Life have been awarded the Fulbright fellowship 2012-2013 to study photojournalism in a top American university. The fellowship is given by the US State Department to people who demonstrate excellence in their respective fields of study.

A postgraduate from Kashmir University’s MERC, Showkat began his career from AFP in Srinagar as a trainee photographer. Since then he has worked with several local national and international media organizations both as a reporter and photojournalist. He has also taught photography at IUST, Awantipora and Baramulla Degree College.

Earlier this year, he received the National Press Photo Award- the most prestigious honour given for excellence in the field of photojournalism in India. In addition to winning the top title, he also won two other prizes in the prestigious photo contest held in February 2011.

Dr. Arshid Hussain
Dr. Arshid Hussain

Dr Arshid Hussain, valley’s noted Psychiatrist has been awarded with Fogary International Centre (FIC) ICOHRTA fellowship program in Behavioral Disorders. The fellowship is to be scheduled at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida.

Ashwaq Masoodi, a correspondent with The Asian Age was awarded Fulbright-Nehru Master’s Fellowship for Leadership Development 2012-1013 which offers grants to study, teach and conduct research for non-US citizens to come to the US. Ashwaq received her Bachelors’ from Government Degree College, Baramulla and has a postgraduate Diploma from Indian Institute of Mass Communication, New Delhi.  She has also worked with Press Trust of India (PTI) for two years.

Maroosha Muzaffar, a New Delhi-based correspondent with The Indian Express, has been awarded the Fulbright Fellowship for Leadership Development 2012-2013. Maroosha received her Masters’ in Mass Communication and Journalism from Kashmir University and in 2009 she joined the Indian Express in New Delhi.  After coming back from the US, Maroosha is planning to pursue long-form projects in Kashmir and other South Asian countries.

Shazia Yousuf

Shazia Yousuf was awarded the Ford Foundation International Fellowship Program in 2010 and started the fellowship from 2011. She was working as a correspondent with Kashmir Life.

Haroon Mirani was awarded the Ford Foundation International Fellowship Program in 2010 and started the fellowship from 2011. He was working as a reporter in Kashmir Life.


Baba Umar

Mohammad Umar Baba, a Correspondent with Tehelka, received an award from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and Press Institute of India (PII) for best print media article on humanitarian issues after a panel discussion on the theme, “Media Reporting on the Fate of Victims of Armed Violence”. Mohammad Umar Baba started his career as a trainee reporter in The Indian Express in Srinagar where he reported on the South Asia earthquake of 2005. He has reported extensively on human rights and worked as features writer/editor at Kashmir’s first online news content provider Kashir Newz. In 2008, he joined Rising Kashmir as a reporter. He has contributed to US-based wire on conflict, politics, tourism and human rights in Kashmir. His series on conflict victims, health, brand thefts, tourism, and trans-Kashmir trade has won him accolades across the Valley. In Tehelka, his focus has been on water conflicts, environment, human rights and insurgencies across India. He is based in New Delhi.

Saima Iqbal

Saima Iqbal will be honoured with the 2nd edition of the “Young Indian Leaders Awards” announced by IBN18 in association with IRB Infrastructure Developers Limited (IRB). The award is aimed at honouring youth for their commendable contributions and achievements that have aided in bringing a wind of change and pride to the nation. Saima Iqbal is a young conservation architect from Kashmir who carries out her quiet campaign to restore bits of Kashmiri heritage. Saima pursued her M.Sc in Historic Conservation from the UK and is helping to conserve Kashmir’s rich cultural heritage. She has aided the mapping of Srinagar’s cultural resources, worked on the conservation of the 15th century Aali Masjid and pushed Kashmir’s Mughal Gardens for the world heritage proposal.

Shahida Shabnum was awarded the Sanskriti Award, which was presented to her on November 17 by the former President, A P J Abdul Kalam. She is among five Young Achievers who were awarded the 2011 Sanskriti Awards for their contributions to the world of literature, journalism, art, music and social achievement. Shahida has received her Masters’ and MPhil in Kashmiri and is presently pursuing her PhD at the Institute of Kashmiri Studies in the University of Kashmir. Shahida has also worked as an editor with the weekly Meeras.

Nahid Soz, Managing Director J&K Women’s Development Commission has been awarded National Award by Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment under the category –Best State Channelizing Agency of National Handicapped Finance & Development Corporation (NHFDC).

J&K Women’s Development Commission was incorporated in 1991 as State Channelizing Agency and started functioning from 1994. The Corporation is implementing a number of Developmental Schemes of State as well as Central Government for Socio-Economic Upliftment of Women with a special focus on the families living Below Poverty Line (BPL) & Women belonging to Minorities, Backward & Other Classes.

Prof. Farooq, a Noted Astrophysicist, former HoD Physics and former Dean Faculty of Physical and the Material Sciences University of Kashmir has been awarded Emeritus Professorship in Physics by University Grants Commission. This year UGC awarded this prestigious position to seven Physicists of the country and a letter in this regard has been received by the University from the secretary UGC.Prof. Bashar Bashir was awarded Sahitya Akademi Award for his book ‘Yemen Paden Mey Wechar Gochae’. Prof. Bashar is a noted writer and head of the Markazi Noor Sheikhul Aalam, University of Kashmir.

Tawqeer Hussain, a freelance Journalist was awarded for reporting on ‘Technological Innovations at Grass root Level by GIAN cell, the University of Kashmir on March 26 2011.

Naseem Shafaie has been chosen for this year’s Sahitya Akademi Award for her poetic collection, becoming the first Kashmiri woman to get the prestigious literary award. Her poetry collection titled “Na Thsay Na Aks” has been listed for this year’s Sahitya Akademi Award in Kashmiri literature.

Ruqaiya Shabir Tantry, is a Kashmiri now settled in Rawalpindi, Pakistan who published her first novel ‘Magical Moonbeams’ in May this year. The novel is published by ‘Arqam Afaq’. Ruqaiya was born in Palhallan, Pattan and then shifted to Pakistan along with her family.

Malik Sajad is the only Kashmiri whose collection of paintings and wall art was exhibited in London. The exhibition was held on October 8-9 under the name, “Malik Sajad’s ‘Endangered Species’. Malik Sajad is presently working as a cartoonist with Greater Kashmir. His artwork gives a voice and texture to the desolation left behind by the war.

Muzamil Jaleel

Muzamil Jaleel, became Associate Editor at Indian Express this year. He is the only Kashmiri in Indian media at this position. Earlier Muzamil was Srinagar bureau chief of the Indian Express. He was a visiting scholar at the University of California Berkeley. On another fellowship, he worked in London for the Guardian, The Observer, and The Times newspapers. Muzamil has won Ramnath Goenka Award in 2009 April for his investigative articles on the Sex Scandal in the valley, a Sanskriti Award for excellence in Indian journalism and literature and he has also been awarded Kurt Schork Award for International Journalism from Columbia University.

Basharat Peer was sent on a special assignment to Saudi Arabia for covering Hajj by The New Yorker. Basharat was an Assistant Editor at Foreign Affairs and is presently a writer in residence at Open Society Institute in New York. He also writes for publications such as The Guardian, Financial Times, The National, Granta and the New Statesman. He is the author of Curfewed Night.

Iftikhar Geelani is now an Associate Editor with DNA. Geelani has worked for a number of national and international media organizations. Earlier he was the Delhi bureau of Kashmir Times. He contributes regularly to Radio Deutsche Welle (Voice of Germany) and is the India correspondent for Pakistani newspapers Daily Times, Friday Times and Khabrein. He also won Sahitya Akademi award for his book, a memoir of his days in incarceration – My Days in Prison, which he wrote after spending 7 months in Tihar Jail. After writing it in English he also translated it in Urdu which became the first-ever book published by Penguin in Urdu.

Abdul Hamid Punjabi was elected as the president of Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries (KCCI). Punjabi was formerly Senior Vice President KCCI.   Punjabi became an executive member of the chamber for the first time in 1980 and his firm had joined the chamber in 1979. Pertinently, Punjabi had earlier held different positions including senior vice president and secretary general in the chamber. Basharat Dhar has been given an extension of 3 years and is now going to head the PDC (Power Development Corporation). Earlier he was Commissioner Secretary to Government, Power Development Department.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here