At a tender age, Zahoor Ahmad Parray taught students in his locality to meet the financial needs of his family. His hard-work and dedication has paid off as the global community has recognized an emerging scientist from Kashmir Valley, Ruwa Shah reports.
Born in an impoverished family living in the midst of Homshalibugh, Yaripora in Kulgam district, Zahoor Ahmad Parray (Beigh) had to find his own way to meet his needs as well the needs of his family since childhood.
Zahoor was determined to achieve new heights in the field of science. Although Zahoor’s family lacked educational background but his father spent relentless days in the agricultural fields working as a farmer so that the education of his children did not suffer.
“I can say without any hesitation that my father had to even beg so that our education doesn’t suffer. Our mother never went to any school but it is impossible to put it in words her sacrifices towards her husband’s mission”, 36-year-old Zahoor says.
Zahoor who aspired to become a research scientist at a tender age did his matriculation from Salfia High School, Yaripora and later went to Government Higher Secondary School, Yaripora. He then joined Government Degree College, Anantnag to complete his Bachelors in Science.
With a monthly income of only Rs 200, Zahorr’s father could not support the studies of his four children. At that time, Parray was in Class 10 and he started to offer tuitions to the students living in his own locality. Initially, he taught one student but within a month the number grew to hundreds.
Having saved some money from tuition classes, Zahoor managed to get admission at University of Kashmir’s Department of Biochemistry for his post-graduate degree. Later in 2001, he appeared in the entrance examination at Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research-Chandigarh (PGIMER) to get admission in the research programme in which he got selected as well. He started doing his Ph.D in November 2001 and completed it in November 2006.
After finishing his doctoral degree, it has been no looking back for Zahoor. Since 2006, he has won a number of awards which has helped him to earn recognition and some money to support the needs of his family. He even sent his parents on Haj pilgrimage in 2011.
When he was a student at a primary school in his village, Zahoor was always appreciated by his teachers for his talent. They used to tell him that he would shine like a star one day. Recalling those days, Zahoor feels like living the dreams his teachers has dreamt for him.
“I was always in a dilemma whether to opt for job to address my mother’s health problems or to continue studies. But ultimately I was able to not only take care of my mother but also managed to continue my research,” Zahoor added.
Zahoor who is currently posted as a Senior Scientist (E-I) at Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine, Srinagar has already got offers from different universities in the world to join there as a doctoral research fellow.
His research topic “Chemotherapeutic evaluation of orally administrated alginate nanoparticle encapsulated azole and anti-tubercular drugs against drug susceptible, drug resistance and latent tuberculosis” fetched him many more awards and he even appeared on the cover page of a science journal on infectious diseases.
Zahoor will be conferred the Jalma Trust Fund Oration award funded by Japan which will be the first for a scientist from Jammu and Kashmir. The award comprises of a gold medal, cash prize of Rs 20000 and a certificate of honour. The result of the awards for 2009-2010 was declared on April 30, 2013 by Indian Council of Integrative Medical Research (ICMR), New Delhi, the oldest healthcare research body in India.
The award is given to scientists for sustained research activity in the field of leprosy and other microbial diseases like Tuberculosis. Zahoor has even attended many international conferences based upon the same research subject. “All praise to Allah. It was His infinite mercy that came to my assistance and brought the best out of me,” he says happily.
He credits his success to his siblings and his wife Nusrat. Although his efforts raised his family from poverty, even his siblings worked hard to better their lives. His elder brother is a government teacher and the younger one is doing post-graduate degree in physical education while as her sister is doing master’s degree in English. “It’s only the hard work and dedication which pays at the end,” he says.