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28 July 2011

SPECIAL REPORT: Kashmiri Youths march towards better careers, opportunities

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Information Technology - the new draw among youths in valley


By Bismah Malik


Photo Courtesy: Ali Imran
They are engineers, students, businessmen from everywhere in Kashmir. They meet after a fortnight or so and the venue is one of the basements of a suburb Srinagar building. This is no political gathering but a classroom which promises big things in life.


A classroom which makes them forget the adversities associated with growing up in Kashmir and take a leap forward into a successful career.People who have already been here and have passed out are working in big IT firms in UAE and US living a life, normally one does not even dream of in Kashmir.


In front of them is a man who is easily their role model.


This man only knows winning. He entered into the IT arena of Kashmir a year back and Khawar Butt is a brand name already among Itpreneurs all over the world. Having worked in places like Google, Yahoo, NASA, IBM, Khawar and his IT institute Netmetric Solutions has footprints in Dubai, Spain, UK, US, Sri Lanka, Banagalore, Delhi and in Kashmir.


Having imparted exquisite IT skills to the enthusiasts all over the world, Khawar still finds Kashmiri youths the most avid learners.Even though his venture in Kashmir is only one year old, but the kind of lucrative jobs it promises is a refreshing welcome.


The courses offered here are not high tech, high paying but high charging as well. But that is fine, since the valleyites are economically better off than people living in many other states of India. Literacy is fast spreading here among boys and girls, so spending on education has never been that big an issue.


Turmoil has affected many families, but economically even the affected families have been able to pull through.


“It is once in a lifetime opportunity. We are being taught by the best IT professionals of the world.In front of us is a brand new career and a whole lot of opportunities. So spending a bit too much for this course that I am doing does not matter,” Bakir , a Netmetrics Student pursuing his CCIE (Cisco Certified Networking Engineering) course for which he paid a sum of 2.5 lakhs says.


Interestingly, Bakir's class comprises of 15 students all of who aspire for clearing their CCIE examinations and land in hot shot IT jobs in India and abroad . There are just 29,000 CCIEs in the whole world.


The course became popular only in 90s when internet camer into the homes and the need for CCIE professionals grew. While today, mostly Americans, Indianns are CCIE professionals, Kashmir is playing its part too.


Photo Courtesy: Ali Imran
Thanks to Khawar Butt, Kashmir is also being seen in the elite world map of CCIEs and his students could not ask for anything more. In hostile and turbulent atmosphere, establishing a platform for youths is challenging but for people like Khawar challenges mean success too.


“In my 20 year long career, I have trained IT professionals in US, Europe, Middle East and most of India but Kashmir was untouched. Two years since I set up my centre here,I realised that we need to start many such ventures in the valley , looking at the way Kashmiri youths are untouched by quality education and promising careers. I was always apprehensive of whether people here would be receptive of any new idea like the course which I introduced here but it is all going smoothly untill now. Like everywhere else, it is the older generation which is reluctant to changes as compared to youths,” Khawar asserts.


Khawar does not rule out the fact that violence and other conflict related tragedies that struck the valley for two decades now have had their repercussions on education sector too.


“Of course there are implications.Every now and then, the strikes , the risks involved have certainly prevented the education sector in Kashmir from developing to an extent it should have. But now that the situation is seeing fair degree of improvement , we should not hold back and contribute in whatever form we can,” Khawar feels.


Ever since turmoil hit this part of the world in late 1980s, the quality of education went downhill forcing many students and professionals move outside the state to explore better career opportunities. But with ventures like the one which Khwar has set up and peace returning to the valley, hopes among career aspirants have also been raised.


“Initiatives like these need to be set up here. There is a lot of potential and enthusiasm among the youths but at the very same time the risks involved and the fear factor have not diminished totally. In a violence torn state like Jammu and Kashmir, the government needs to play a lot more responsible role and aid the private initiatives,” opines Dr. Maqbool, a young medico.


"With whatever the people of Kashmir have been facing, especially since last twenty years has not let their hopes die down and dream of a better future. Problems arising due to a two decadal conflict are inevitable but that should not stop us from marching towards better careers and opportunities," Arif Khan, a young IT aspirant says.


[Bismah Malik is a Journalist based at Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir. She can be reached at bismah.malik4@gmail.com]

1 comment:

  1. Khawar Butt is a fraud. He has looted money of many innocent students.

    ReplyDelete