In a First, Kashmir to Host Paintball

by Sarmad Dev

SRINAGAR: Kashmir young men and women are being introduced to a new type of outdoor, all seasons activity that they have never experienced before, Paintball.

Wildbeest Hub Private Limited is bringing this action-packed game at Doodpathri on August 29, 2021, to give the Kashmiri youth an escape from online gaming and offer them a real-life fun experience.

Paintball is similar to any other sport where teams are divided in two and the goal is to eliminate the opponents with a paintball gun which consists of spherical dye-filled gelatin capsules shot using low energy air weapons. It is being termed as fun and completely safe activity enjoyed in all parts of the world.

In India, all the states have at least one paintball arena where people go in large numbers to play with the exception of Kashmir which has now been fulfilled.

Wildbeest Hub, a company founded by a young entrepreneur from Pampore, Tajamul Rashid who has studied MBA and is experienced in sales and marketing said that they are trying their best to give the youth of Kashmir the experience of a lifetime and with this step, the people have given a lot of appreciation and love to introduce a sport which was mostly unheard of in the valley.

“I was working outside of India and like every Kashmiri parent, my parents called me back here and I had some ideas that I never really wanted to pursue, such as dairy farming, RND and such,” Rashid said. “But my main aim was to entertain the people.”

“As PUBG was on the rise since the last four to five years, I had this epiphany that maybe the youth would be more interested in a real life experience of the game in a safe manner so in 2017-2018, I came up with this idea of bringing paintball in the valley,” he said.

Yet the idea came to fruition after a lot of hardships faced by the Wildebeest Hub as they, “had to make the authorities aware of the sport as they were not aware that this activity does not require arms or ammunitions but is played merely by a toy gun and while it was highly taking place in other parts of the country as well as the world, most people of Kashmir are alien about the sport.”

In 2019, this idea almost came to be but with the abrogation of Article 370 and Coronavirus simultaneously, this all came to a halt.

“Jammu already had a paintball arena because it was started by an Army official but for a Kashmiri like me, the procedure was a big problem to be approved by the Government as they used to be skeptical that it might cause controversy and there were almost no facilities or avenues,” he added.

However, now that it’s opening on August 29, at Tangnar, Doodpathri.

“Doodpathri has always been special to me, but the main reason why we chose this place is that it’s completely raw and has picked up a slight pace in the recent years, with less environmental pollution and remote locations, this would be a perfect spot as places like Pahalgam, Gulmarg and such, even though being really beautiful, are highly commercialised now and has lost its the essence,” Tajamul said.

The word of mouth is helping the investor to have his clientele. “Ever since my childhood, I’ve seen paintballing in movies or cartoons and I always wanted to play this game but I never had a chance to do that, but now i do, this is an excellent opportunity for the people of Kashmir,” said Muhammad Farras, a resident of Jawahar Nagar.

Moazzam Sameer, another resident of Rajbagh, said, “I have played paint ball in Australia and in Bombay as well but i would have never believed that I could ever see a paintball battleground in Kashmir, that’s wonderful.”

Zubair Ahmad, resident of Hyderpora said that he has been playing paintball like a professional but he had to go to Delhi to play his favourite sport.

Other than paintball, the Wildbeest Hub are also trying to bring in other outdoor activities such as Archery as well as Airsoft battles to the people of the valley to get them away from social media and online gaming and have a true family and/or friends get together activities.

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