“ There is nothing new in world except the history you do not know.” – Harry Truman

Two related stories of Cheer and Hope

14-year-old comes up with an idea of cheap ‘solar sprayer’

S F Ahmad (Kashmir Images)

Soafshali, Kokernag: If you are a fruit growers and buying spray pumps burns a hole in you pocket, here is some good news as you may soon own a “solar sprayer” to relieve you of the burden of shelling out big bucks. And the credit for creating such an innovative sprayer will go to a 14-year-old boy of Soafshali, Kokernag, some 40 kilometres from the main township of Anantnag.

Pir Showkat Ahmed, a class 8th student of Boys High School Sagam, has come up with the idea of what could be called “solar sprayer”, and the experts at the Kashmir University’s Science Instrumentation Centre (USIC) term his idea a “big idea for invention”.

Director USIC, Prof G M Bhat says that Showkat’s idea is of great importance from the technological point-of-view. ”After some testing at USIC, the efficiency of this sprayer will be tested, only then this will be in the market,” says Prof. Bhat. “Yes I know Pir Showkat,” said Prof. Bhat, adding “when I saw him at Sagam with this idea, I was very much impressed. Now this idea needs to be converted into a product which we will do provided he approaches us.” Prof. Bhat further says the need for such a product in the market is very high and “I am of the opinion that this product would serve the purpose of thousands of the farmers because it will be very cheap in the market.”

Pir Showkat was also discovered last December when National Innovation Foundation (NIF) Ahmadabad, in collaboration with USIC Kashmir University, organised a two-day workshop titled “Gross-root Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development” at Sagam. Pir Showkat is not only getting appreciation from Kashmir University’s USIC but his Prior Informed Consent (PIC) Form has also been forwarded to NIF Ahmedabad.

When ‘Kashmir Images’ contacted Pir Showkat, he said, “I am very happy because I cannot believe that people you like want to project me! I am grateful to NIF for having brought me in focus.” And believe it, the little boy wishes to “invent a train engine which could run on water”.

Entrepreneurship: It can only develop when there is necessary support system

In all vibrant economies world over the contribution of entrepreneurship has been central. It is a known fact the economy of any people gets strengthened if people participate in it. Entrepreneurship is in essence a better way of participating in economy. People in Kashmir usually tend to benefit from economy, rather than contribute to it. This has resulted in the shrinking of economy and there by reducing the opportunities of earning livelihood.

It is the demand of times that youth in Kashmir change the mindset of becoming parasites. The workshop started in Kashmir University by the Entrepreneurship Development Cell (EDC) in collaboration with Co-ordination Federation, an NGO, to provide an opportunity to the unemployed youth of state is a much needed step. As stated by the G.M. Bhat, the Director University Science Instrumentation Centre (USIC), Kashmir has a fertile soil for growing medicinal plants and with only 1000 out of 4000 varieties known to the experts the field can accommodate a large number of people. Furthermore, if systematic cultivation of these plants can be done it can constitute a promising rural industry.

If such programmes can really make our youth understand the importance of developing industrial units that can process different medicinal plants, it can revolutionize our economy. In all this government is under an obligation to provide the necessary support system. It may include providing land for establishing the units, making the necessary formalities easier and speedier, providing financial assistance and regular inputs of knowledge and information.

In Kashmir it has been observed that those who are inclined towards establishing their own industrial units get discouraged by the kind of difficulties they encounter from getting the necessary projects reports prepared to availing the financial assistance from different financial institutions. Government must take initiatives to clear the blocks in the way of entrepreneurs. Otherwise in presence of such dampers the talk of developing industry in Kashmir will always remains hollow.

(Reported in Rising Kashmir)