J&K 12 Big Shots Who Made It To JK Bank Wall Calendar

FinMin Dr Haseeb A Drabu with JK Bank Chairman, VC Kashmir University and Prof Sidiq Wahid unveiling the 2017 wall calendar

KL News Network


Diverting from routine and the tradition, J&K Bank – state’s premier financial institution, dedicated its 2017 corporate wall calendar to 12 youth who are achievers in their own right. This is for the first time that the bank started looking towards the people who inhabit the beautiful space that was normally the main theme for decades together.

With a whopping print order of 13 lakh, this is the biggest ever promotion to these 12 people. They were selected by a group of two top academicians – Prof Andrabi, the VC of Kashmir University and Dr Sidiq Wahid, former VC of Islamic University.

JK Bank CEO Parvez Ahmad signing the ‘wall of fame’ (KL Image: Meraj Bhat)

“We had more than 200 entries and selecting 12 was a very difficult process,” Prof Andrabi said. “We had to be correct on many ways, across sectors, regions, faith and cultures.”

Speakers at the formal unveiling of the calendar by Finance Minister Dr Haseeb Darbu said it necessarily does not mean that all others were not achievers.

The achievers were given a memento and a cash of Rs 11000 each. Some of them spoke briefly. Some were very emotional especially the brother of Sanjay Saraf, the painter who said though his brother had received a huge number of awards but “this awards means a lot because this means the services and capacities of my brother were acknowledged by the society to which we belong.” Sarafs’ have migrated and do not live in Kashmir.

Drabu termed the calendar as “intervention in social space”. He said the calendar that will be on the wall of 13 lakh households will send a strong message. He said these achievers have succeeded despite government being a road block that makes their success doubly important.

For the next 12 months you will have to look at the following 12 individuals who made it on the wall calendar:

Tajamul Islam

She won six games in five days. The last of those was the gold medal bout at the sub-junior World Kickboxing Championship in Italy. From a remote village in Bandipora, 8-year-old Tajamul Islam has made winning a habit. In the process, she has won the hearts of spectators with her never-say-die and fearless attitude.

Islam’s coach Faisal Dar trained her in an open field with makeshift apparatus. That did not stop her from beating athletes from countries such as Japan, France and the US. She now trains in Delhi and aspires to win an Olympic gold medal.

Dr Rouf Banday

This Kashmir-born US-based scientist is part of the team that uncovered an inheritable genetic factor that heightens the risk of cancer. Dr Abdul Rouf Banday’s path-breaking discovery was featured in the reputed scientific journal Nature Genetics and the findings could herald a new era for cancer prevention and treatment.

Dr Banday holds a Ph.D. in biochemistry from A M University, Aligarh and was awarded the highly competitive Council of Scientific Industrial Research Junior Research Fellowship. He currently works in the US at the National Cancer Institute. He has received several awards such as the US National Cancer Institute Director’s Innovation Award and American Association of Cancer Research Scholar-in-Training Award.

Abhay Sopori

Versatile, progressive, legendary; this is how Abhay RustumSopori, a 9th generation santoor player who sings during performances, has been described. He is the only contemporary Indian composer whose composition Haftrang, a tribute to Kashmir, has been conducted by the legendary Zubin Mehta and performed by the Bavarian State Orchestra.

He learnt music under the Guru-Shishya Parampara from his grandfather Pandit Shamboo Nath Sopori, the ‘Father of Music’ in J&K, and his father, Padma Shri winner Pandit Bhajan Sopori. He is a recipient of the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar and J&K State Award.

Hashim Mansoor

A few weeks of training may not be enough for most people to become the best in the country, but it was plenty for 7-year-old Hashim Mansoor, who won a gold medal at the national Karate trials in Srinagar.

Following this, he won another gold medal for India at the Asian Youth Karate Championship in Delhi.

This aggressive yet disciplined child comes from Nadihal, a remote village in Bandipora and trains at Ali’s Sports Academy. Mansoor is now all set to represent India at the World Karate Championship as well as the World Martial Arts Games in 2017.

Sonam Wangchuk

When one of India’s finest films is based on you, it is clear you have touched the lives of millions. Sonam Wangchuk, whose story inspired the Bollywood blockbuster 3 Idiots, is a mechanical engineer from NIT Srinagar and primarily, an innovator. In 2016, he won the prestigious Rolex Award for Enterprise for “innovative thinking and dynamism”.

His idea to freeze millions of litres of water in the form of ‘ice stupas’ is an ideal solution to water shortages in a cold desert. He plans to use his award money of 100,000 Swiss francs to establish an institute that facilitates alternate solutions to socio-ecological problems.

Akbar Khan

He is a farmer’s son and lives near the India-Pakistan border. However, Akbar Khan’s geographical location did not stop him from becoming the first ever cyclist from Kashmir to represent India when he rode at the Track Asia Championship in 2015.

Akbar Khan has won 2 National Road Cycling Championships and 5 consecutive Annual Inter-college Cycling Championships. He also won 2golds at the All India Inter-university Championships in 2016. He is currently studying for a master’s degree in physical education and has inspired 60boys from his village to train to become professional cyclists.

Insha Manzoor

‘A graduate from the Institute of Music and Fine Arts Jammu, Insha is the first candidate from the entire North India to be selected for the MA – Painting programme by the prestigious Royal College of Artin London.

A recipient of the National Award of Scholarship (2015-16) to India’s young artists, she is currently pursuing a Double Masters in Painting.

Sanjay Saraf

Sanjay Saraf is a differently-abled painter from Jammu who refused to allow disability to become his defining identity and went on to beautify blank canvases with his brilliant imagination. He topped the All India Art Competition for his canvas paintings in 1999 and 2000.

His work was nominated by the Very Special Art institute (USA) for the International Festival Visual Arts Project in 2004. Additionally, Saraf won the J&K Academy of Arts Culture and Languages Award for his canvas painting titled ‘ValkinVapour’. He also bagged a junior fellowship in the field of Visual Arts from the Ministry of HRD in India.

Chandeep Singh

In 2011, avid footballer Chandeep Singh was electrocuted due to accidental contact with a high-tension wire and subsequently lost both arms. However, his sporting spirit refused to wane and he began skating instead. Displaying grit, determination, passion and conviction, Singh has been competing with able-bodied skaters ever since.

In 2015, the Jammu resident won bronze at the 7th All India Roller Skating Championship in Mussoorie. He was Sports Captain at Banyan International School and has won a Gold medal from Sahyog India for his skating skills.

Ranveer Singh Jamwal

In 2016, renowned army officer Lt Col Ranveer Singh Jamwal became the first officer from J&K to scale Mount Everest thrice. He had first reached the summit of the world’s highest peak at 8,848 meters on 25th May 2012 and then conquered it for the second time on 19th May 2013.

A reputed climber, Lt Col Jamwal led a group of six people to the summit, thereby having led a record 17people during his 3 expeditions to the summit. He won the Tenzing Norgay National Award in 2012-2013 and has scaled 20 peaks including the highest ones in South America and Africa.

Chain Singh

What do you do when your remote village lacks proper roads? According to Chain Singh, you shoot for the stars. In 2016, this member of the Army Marksmanship Unit became the first athlete from J&K to represent India at Olympics when he participated in shooting events in Rio.

Singh, who hails from a pastoral village in Doda District won 6 gold medals – three in individual events and three in team events – at the 2016 South Asian Games in India. He was also a bronze medalist at the 2014 Asian Games in South Korea.

Dr Shah Faesal

Currently the Managing Director for J&K State Power Development Corporation Ltd, Dr Shah Faesal became a household name in the state when he became the first Kashmiri to top the Indian Civil Services Examination in 2009. Hailed across the country, he has emerged as an iconic figure among those aspiring to join the civil services.

He has served as Director of School Education Kashmir, District Commissioner and Assistant Commissioner earlier and is one of the youngest and most dynamic minds in the state bureaucracy. Dr Shah Faesal has attended some prestigious workshops on leadership both within the country and outside.


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