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Braving odds, 18 year old authors his first book in Kupwara district's far off village

By Basharat Rashid*
For last few years, the young writers in Kashmir valley have been showing exhilarating passion in publishing their books on different aspects in nook and corner here. Most of the writers have been writing novels and poetry with particularly focus on the youth empowerment, social evils, conflict, nature and women empowerment. 
Recently, a young and a poor Kashmiri boy namely Bilal Ahmad Khan (18), from a far-off village, in North Kashmir's Kupwara district, while braving all odds has managed to make debut, as an author, by releasing his first book.
A student of BA political science (honours), 2nd year, at Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), Khan belongs to Dardpora village, which is known as 'the land of widows' -- as around 300 hundred women of the village lost their husbands to conflict in 1990s.
Titled as 'Apricity of Pain' Khan's book mostly focuses on social evils and youth, that how can the youth introspect themselves, to know about their inner talents, for their better future. Khan said that "youth has the potential to change the society, if they utilize the energy, in a proper way, in different fields."
He said that his motive to write this book was to contribute something good for the welfare of the society, which became possible in the four months of lockdown, as he did write this book in those months. In a reply to the question that what challenges he faced as a writer, Khan said that he completed his 10th and 12th classes, from government schools, in far off areas, amid hardships, before getting admission at AMU.
He said that "there is no reading culture in the place where he lives, and no one is educated in his family, due to which he had to manage the things alone, which was the main challenge."
Khan further said that he struggled a lot, as his father is a 'labourer' and the lone bread earner of the whole family, which consists of seven members but, has helped him, despite being a poor man, with many other responsibilities on shoulders.
The young writer believed that poverty and lack of resources should not be an obstacle in achieving the goals, and suggests that "people who are informative, excelled and good at somework must motivate and inspire those who are not either aware or interested."
"I was writing poems in the beginning and was highly inspired by Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, which helped me to find the way to AMU. To publish my first book, I had to collect one year's money, which i used to receive from my family, for different things, on different occasions," Bilal Ahmad Khan narrated, adding that his ultimate aim is to make his father proud and give him comfort always.
Khan is now aspiring to qualify the civil service examination, after completing the graduation, from AMU, and is all set to publish more books in future.
Earlier, young writers particularly the students (including girls) have authored their books in North, South and Central regions of Kashmir, following which writing culture becomes very common in Kashmir.
Even some school based children also managed to release their books in last few years, few of them are: Touyiba Binti Javaid of Dadasara Tral, Duha Bhat of Khanyar Srinagar, Rubayata Umeed of Baramulla, & Mir Areiba of Pampore.
---
*Journalist based in Srinagar

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