Wheelchair-bound Kashmiri woman plays basketball at national and international level

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Wheels of Glory

Bisma Manzoor

A schoolgirl preparing to study medicine to be a doctor. An accident at age 16. Spinal cord injured. Wheelchair-bound. Despair, depression.

Inshah Bashir, Kashmir’s first wheelchair-bound woman basketball player rewrote her destiny with sheer grit and determination. Facing hardships that can break most individuals, Inshah conquered her challenges and emerged as the first woman from Jammu and Kashmir to play wheelchair basketball at both national and international level.

Inshah hails from Beerwah in Budgam district. Her father retired as a teacher, and her mother was Head Nurse at Bones and Joint Hospital at Barzulla, Srinagar. Inshah has three siblings – two brothers and a sister.

Inshah’s accident injured her spinal cord. But her family stood by her like a rock and did not let her slip into desolation. They encouraged her to build a new life for herself. With their unrelenting support and encouragement, Inshah developed a keen interest in playing wheelchair basketball. Inshah’s visit to Shafqat Rehabilitation Center in Srinagar gave her the motivation to move forward in her life. After that, she never looked back. She worked hard at excelling at the sport. Her results bore fruit. In 2017, Inshah competed at national level. In 2019, she represented India at a sports event held in the US.

Inshah began her education at Mazhar-ul-Haq Public School in Beerwah, and later shifted to Government Higher Secondary School, Beerwah.

When Inshah was about 14 years old, she developed a stomach ulcer. A year later, she was standing in the balcony of her house with her cousins when she suddenly felt light-headed and vomited blood. She fell from the balcony on the third floor. The injury left her paralysed.

Sports Journey

After a visit to Shafqat Rehabilitation Center, Inshah showed interest in basketball. She played with a mixed team and later at the national level in 2017. Her father was detected with Parkinson’s Disease, and her mother got busy looking after him. “I was feeling lost but getting involved with basketball gave me new direction. The Coach guided us very well. It was amazing for me to play at the national and thereafter international level,” says Inshah.

Inshah says J&K didn’t have a women’s basketball team for wheelchair-bound women. Inshah took the initiative to motivate other women and form the team. She is now the captain of Jammu and Kashmir women’s wheelchair basketball team.

My Inspiration, My Dreams

“I got inspired by many people but my role model is Mohammad Rafi Parray. He is also a basketball player in the Jammu and Kashmir team. He is doing tremendous work and is an inspiration for many players.

I want to participate in other sports too, for example swimming. I have achieved so much Alhamdulillah, but I need to practice more and excel at my sport. My dream is to win a gold medal for the country.

I also want to do something substantial for disabled people. I have faced many hardships during my struggle. I want to inspire all disabled persons so that they build a happy life for themselves.”

Parents must motivate their children to do something. Never leave them alone, especially disabled ones. They only need your moral support. One day they will make you proud like I have made my parents proud. Kashmiris are very talented. They can shine in any field.

Milestones

* Awards by VMS, Shafaqat Rehabilitation Center, District Level Basketball Championship, Green End Crop, Save Youth Save Future, Kashmir Harvard Educational Institution Wheelchair Basketball Federation of India, CEO Budgam, Union Minister Kiren Rijiju and Jammu & Kashmir Sports Council.

• Participated at the national level in Mohali, Punjab, 2019. Represented Jammu and Kashmir as Captain of the women’s team. For the first time Jammu and Kashmir team reached quarter finals, and Inshah was declared Player of the Year 2019.

•         Represented India at the USA in March in 2019.

•         Played national level in Tamil Nadu 2018, represented Delhi.

•         Participated in the National Wheelchair Basketball Championship 2017 at Hyderabad, Represented Rest of India Team.

ALLAH HAS GREAT PLANS FOR YOU

Inshah says it took her nine years to triumph over the trauma. “It was possible only because of the total support of my family and friends. I am lucky to have such a compassionate family. They became my backbone and my legs, and never let me suffer any negative thought. I got so depressed sometimes that I contemplated suicide. But they made me live with hope and happiness.”

Inshah remembers the sympathy of her neighbours that made her cringe. “They said to my parents that I am a burden now, and who will marry me. It would have been better if I had died. But my parents, siblings and cousins stood by me at all times. They helped me by writing my papers in the exams. They carried me to the examination centers. An elder cousin gave me great inspiration. He always said to me that Allah has great plans for you, so never underestimate yourself.”

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