Sportsperson Of the Month: Shining Beacon Of Hope ‘Inshah Bashir’
‘The National TV's Exclusive Interview’
“Life is mostly froth and bubble,
Two things stand like stone.
Kindness in another's trouble,
“Courage in your own.”
This unrivaled quote reverberates with the phenomenal courage embedded deep in the soul of Inshah Bashir that she is living with equal élan. Life throws us a trial to test our valor when we least expect it. During this trial, a choice has to be made whether or not, to acknowledge the repulsive flavor of fate. No matter how unfriendly this world may seem that time but we need to keep our belief intact that the quantity of good prevails over bad.
Inshah’s story is a credible illustration of the same that what may initially appear as a series of ill-fated incidents may, in fact, be the beginning of a purposeful journey. Extremely trying ordeal of Inshah’s refuses to die down anytime soon. Nevertheless, a lot has certainly changed during her first encounter of a devastating truth until traveling to the USA to participate in Sports Visitor Program 2019.
Meet ‘Inshah Bashir’, a warrior soul who defied all odds to become a trailblazer in paving the way for upcoming wheel-chair basketball players despite the lack of sports facilities in Jammu & Kashmir. Inshah has truly become a beacon of hope for young women navigating through the gloomy moments of their lives.
‘I’ve trusted many a friend who failed,
And left me to weep alone;
But I’ve found enough of my friends true blue,
To make me keep trusting on….,
I’ve drained the cup of disappointment and pain,
And gone many days without song;
But I’ve sipped enough nectar from the roses of life,
To make me want to live on’
Inshah Bashir Interview with Hiranshi Mehta
In this interview with Hiranshi Mehta, Inshah Bashir elucidates her courageous journey and ebb and flow of life.
Tell us about yourself.
I am a simple village girl who is an introvert by nature. My life completely turned around when I fell from the balcony of my Budgam’s house. I suffered severe injuries in my spinal cord but what devastated me was a piece of news that I will not be able to walk anymore. Perhaps, it was merely a beginning of the vicious circle of numerous tragic events that I was about to experience until realizing my dream of being a basketball player.
I had to give up the dream of being a doctor as commuting was a taxing job. I had no choice left except switching to another subject so I opted for Humanities and pursued BA and B.Ed. when my father succumbed to Parkinson’s disease; I took the initiative to be less dependent on them. That was the time when I came to know about Shafatkat rehabilitation center aka VMS Bemina (Srinagar).
I enrolled myself for 6 months to undergo physiotherapy. There, I was introduced to the wheelchair basketball game by the men’s team. This event marked a new beginning of my life. I still remember the blissful feeling when the basketball plunged into the net and since then there has been no looking back.
Absence of any in-house basketball team in J&K compelled me to travel to Hyderabad so that I could qualify for the National Championship. I did perform exceptionally well by Almighty’s grace and from there my career began to proceed in the right direction. Post that life-changing match, I moved to Delhi and joined Amar Jyoti Institution as a teacher. I continued traveling to J&K whenever time allowed and whenever I was invited to provide training and also counseling to the girls who desired to pursue their career in basketball. In 2018’s October month in Mumbai, my talent grabbed the attention of US Consulate during a match and I was invited for prominent Sports Visitor Program 2019.
During my ordeal, my family stood by me like a rock. My cousins and few of my friends did put their best foot forward in ensuring that I don’t sink into depression. However, the truth is that not a single day passed by when I would not contemplate suicide until one day when a thought-provoking realization shook me to the core. I became conscious of the fact that my life does not belong to me solely. My life also belongs to my parents who brought me into this world and to every genuine well-wisher of mine.
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
My Strengths include my never-dying optimism, my larger-than-life psychic strength. As far as my weakness is concerned, it lies in a fact that I am unable to fetch the attention of the government (both, State and Center) towards the dilapidated state of Sports Facilities. Yes, honestly, you may say that it is rather my helplessness than a weakness. In J&K, not even our stadium is user-friendly for specially-abled people.
Right from the railway station to public washrooms, nothing is accessible. I have been trying to change a lot of things but at times, I feel as if I am fighting a losing battle, trying to shake system all alone. Many educational institutions invite me to deliver a motivational talk. I cannot help but lament that engineers do not consider integrating better accessibility while planning the architecture of the buildings for specially-abled people.
Such disturbing thoughts continue to run across my mind as I go on to encounter difficult moments while accessing public washrooms, shopping malls, railway stations, etc. Amidst all these, Amar Jyoti Charitable Trust comes across as an institution with an exemplary model as the concept of accessibility is deeply rooted in its architectural foundation.
Any movies do you like or you think they inspired you to do something?
Movies certainly have helped me in dealing with my wearisome journey full of struggles. Here are the names of a few of my favorite movies:
Rebound (‘You will never think about disability the same way again’).
A Walk To Remember
The Fault In Our Stars
Tare Zameen par
These movies inspired me to take charge of my destiny and taught me how to emerge as a fighter. Of course, the ways to deal with the varied distresses in life may differ from one person to another. Nevertheless, one common thread that I found amongst them was that sufferings can be dealt with provided you hold on to your determination and optimism.
What are your hobbies?
I love to pen down my thoughts and also sing at times. I am an avid reader with a voracious appetite for novels of diverse genres. I am also extremely fond of watching inspirational videos as they help me in keeping my focus intact towards my life’s goals.
Say out any of your favorite quote or quotes.
‘Tu Shaheen hai parwaaz hai kaam tera Tere saamne aasmaan aur bhee hain
Auqabi Rooh Jab Baidar Hoti Hai Jawanon Mein
Nazar Ati Hai Iss Ko Apni Manzil Asmanon Mein -
Nahin Tera Nasheman Qasr-e-Sultani Ke Gunbad Par
Tu Shaheen Hai Basera Kar Paharon Ki Chatanon Mein’
Also, here are a few quotes penned down by me:-
The harder you work for something, the greater you’ll feel when you achieve it.
Life is a gift, and it offers us the privilege, opportunity, and responsibility to give something back by becoming more.
What motivates you in your professional life and personal life?
Motivation comes to me in vivid forms. So many young women showers compliments on me as they look up to me and consider me as their role model. Compliments from my family make me feel so proud of a fact that how far I have come.
This motivation is indeed my drive that makes me aware of a higher purpose that I am perhaps destined to serve. I aim to revolutionize the concept of Infrastructure accessibility in India.
In fact, I dream of that day wherein the culture of the entire world not merely India, will become more inclusive wherein all people will be able to access Sports opportunities irrespective of their abilities.
What was your LOW and HIGH POINT of your life?
A remarkable feeling that I am J&K's first woman who went on to earn spur in the wheelchair basketball game is certainly an ecstatic moment. Also, accessing an opportunity to travel to the USA under a knowledge exchange program named ‘Sports Visitor Program:2019’ and being the recipient of the prestigious title ‘WBFI Player Of The Year: 2019’ are my ‘High Points’ in life.
‘Banda he besabra hota hai’(It is a man only who becomes impatient) but God, he never fails to appreciate the utmost sincere efforts put by a determined soul.
What coaches, teacher or other people have been great influences in your life and why or how?
I will always remain indebted to my parents Bashir Ahmad Wani and Suraya Nasreen, my coaches Varun Ahlawat Sir and Suvarna Vijay Limaye Ma’am. Their unvarying emotional support and guidance persuaded me to aim for higher achievements.
My sister Rumaisa Wani turned out to be my biggest strength. Right from ensuring that my hands do not tremble while writing to making me familiar with countless tales of courage, she would always strive to cheer me up. I express my deep gratitude towards my cousins Anisa Saleem and Sahreen Mushtaq as they would write on my behalf during my exams and towards my cousin Wasima Mushtaq, also my classmate, for providing me with the study notes.
Millions of gestures demonstrated by my real brothers Ishafaq Bashir and Saniyasnain and three cousins including Bilal Ahmad Wani, Irfan Shafi Shah and Shahid Rashid Lone are absolutely unforgettable. They too stepped out of their comfort zone to ensure my emotional and mental well-being
I am extremely grateful to my friends R. Hassan, Preeti Kumari and Dr Deepti Yadav for being the beacon of my life. When I am unwell, they do take me to the doctor. Whenever I feel broken, they leave their work and come to my hostel to lend emotional support. I have no clue what would I do without them.
Being a doctor, Deepti Yadav has been extremely supportive. She is merely a call away even at midnight when I experience sudden excruciating back pain. Being a sportsperson himself, my friend Shah- e -Alam is a pure blessing in my life. He not just helped me in my gymming activities but also taught me the significance of a positive outlook.
To sum up, in my darkest moments, what got me through were my friends. Almost everyone talks about physical fitness but people tend to forget that mental health is equally vital.
The memory of the unconditional support provided by Seema Tuli Ma’am (Principle of Amar Jyoti Institution) still lingers in my heart. She not only did lend me the required emotional support but also took care of my day to day problems. In fact, every single person of the Amar Jyoti did lend the best possible support to me. I do hope to get rid of a guilty feeling of hurting her if I have (certainly unintentionally).
I will always be indebted to Wheelchair Basketball Federation of India (WBFI) as this incredible Federation left no stone unturned in shaping up my career. I thank Madhavi Latha Ma’am (President, WBFI) and Kalyani Rajaraman Ma’am (Secretary, WBFI) from the bottom of my heart. Their thoughtfulness is a precious gift that I will treasure till my last breath.
The day when I will be able to do something for these kind souls that would indeed be the day when my soul will find true peace.
What is one key event that changed your life positively or negatively?
There is no point in talking about the negative things as they are countless, right from accidents to bitter memories of humiliation to tantrums to hardships. Amidst these, one most magnificent event that is worth remembering and narrating is ‘Basketball’.
Now, I can confidently validate this thought, “Find a place inside where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.”
What one word or phrase do you want people to associate with your name?
That word would be ‘Inshah: Shining Beacon of Hope’.
What words of advice or encouragement do you have to share with athletes?
You have a choice to become what you intend to become. You have a choice to behave the way you aim to behave.
There will always be people around you trying to tell you that you can’t accomplish your aim. That is indeed the time when you have to be the master of your destiny.
Be generous and embrace an opportunity to pay forward whenever it is presented to you. Pay attention to your conscious as at times you may find yourself in a situation that will be completely new and unfamiliar to you. For instance, when I encountered my spur-of-the-moment choice, I did choose to play for the J&K team instead of the Delhi team. As my conscious could not think of letting down the faith of those young women became the part of the J&K team on my motivation.
In what way do you assess success?
Medals, Trophies, Recognition certainly bring joy to me but ultimately it is my utmost sincere efforts that bring contentment to my soul. For me, the meaning of true success lies in my ‘Aspiration to become an Inspiration’
Share any biggest criticism you have heard about you?
Not exactly criticism but yes I remember how so many people would underestimate my talent owing to gender-biases. So, you see, I have learned to get accustomed to such kind of indirect criticism and also the allegations of gaining a celebrity attitude after fetching lime-light. Nevertheless, my focus remains intact towards leading a life envisioning accomplishing my purpose instead of making it the victim of unproductive opinions of others.
If you could rewind your life 10 years back, what would you like to change?
I wish I could change the way I dealt with the things initially. They say that we are engaged in a pursuit to seek the meaning of life but I belong to a different school of thought. I believe that we are indeed in the quest of an experience to feel alive.
10 years back, it was difficult for me to be vocal about my emotions but I have come to learn that life is no solo act. We all need those people around us who can nurture us, show concern and lend their support during the moments of strife. God has been kind enough to bless me with an ideal support system.
‘Did you tackle that trouble that came your way
With a resolute heart and cheerful?
Or hide your face from the light of day
With a craven soul and fearful?
Oh, a trouble's a ton, or a trouble's an ounce,
Or a trouble is what you make it,
And it isn't the fact that you're hurt that counts,
But only how did you take it?..’
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I sincerely aim to make my country feel proud on an international platform by winning a gold medal. However, for that, wheelchair basketball first needs to gain recognition as a sport in lot many sports events on the national and international platform, both.
If ‘Inshah’ could change anything about the Indian Sports System, what would that be?’
The shabby state of the sports infrastructure especially in the context of specially-abled sportspersons, the ignorance on the part of the state and center government (both) pinches me a lot. The country on a broader note remains non-friendly when it comes to accessibility aspect for the specially-abled sportspersons or even the other non-sports specially-abled people.
At times, I simply wish that overnight a miracle happens and government resurrects the entire Sports System by using some kind of magic wand. In the USA, sportspersons have access to not merely the best of the sports facilities but they are also benefitted from suitable compensation. In India, the word sports appear to be a synonym to the Cricket. Who has time to bother about the existence of the other sports? I am not complaining but just highlighting this bitter truth.
I also do acknowledge the fact that the current government is truly committed towards initiating everlasting reforms but overhauling Sports System is truly the dire need of the hour. Despite so many achievements, I am yet to access a quality-oriented sports wheelchair that could certainly enable me to deliver improved performance.
Author’s Note: In India, still the existence of women is chained up by patriarchy in some or the other way. Majority of the time, their inherent flair is learned when it gets too late. I and the entire ‘TheNationalTv’ team do acknowledge Inshah as a true warrior who when lost her dream to pursue a career as a Doctor, turned to basketball to depict her fervor. If you aim to empower Inshah, you may consider contributing to sponsoring a quality-oriented sports wheelchair for her. For the same, you may email her at email@example.com.
So esteemed readers, if you are ready, read along with us. We have an incredible heroic of Inshah Bashir to tell you, whose astounding appreciation for passion and talent for basketball is the strongest link to the world. This awe-inspiring tale will certainly make you equipped with the weapons that you may require while sailing through an arduous journey of life.
About the Author:
A Copywriter, an Image Architect, an Apparel Designer, a Brand Strategist, Hiranshi Mehta is National Creative Head with ‘TheNationalTv’. Her epistemophilic personality epitomizes her winning personality traits. Outside her professional life, she has a distinctive vantage on world talents and the concept of altruism, the conventional underpinnings of diverse shades of life and of course the creative prowess to blend it all together.
About the CEO:
An Educationist, an Entrepreneur, a Visionary Leader, but above all, a remarkable sophophile, Mr Sunil Sharma’s aptitude is not new but it has been discounted as many people fail to appreciate his larger-than-life vision. Nevertheless, he believes in being a trailblazer in the milieu of initiating revolutions in a country that is eager to embrace the vivid cultural and social transformations to make its presence felt on the world’s map.
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