The sport of cricket in Jammu and Kashmir is slowly and steadily gathering pace with male team doing well in a domestic tournament like Ranji Trophy. Women in the valley are also taking up the sport with a young Insha Basheer Ahmed leading the charge and challenging the social and religious stereotypes.
Wearing a hijab and carrying a cricket kit on her shoulder, she regularly goes to her college ground for training. She is not only facing deliveries on the ground but also obstacles created by the religion. Hailing from Baramullah Insha captains her college women’s team Baramulla’s Government Women’s College. Most of the women players on the team wear hijab or burkah and play with bat and ball.
In the year 2017, she won the Inter-University cricket tournament. Speaking to Indiatimes she says “I want to stay independent and play without fear. Rabia who is a first-year student in the college and plays as an all-rounder wears burkha and plays the sport. Inspite of being from outside Baramullah she wears hijab and plays cricket.
When Isha started playing cricket, there was a lot of people had objections in taking up the sport. When asked about her journey inspite of all the troubles, she said ” The journey has not been easy. When I used to step inside the ground with the bat, people used to complain to my father. My family has been my pillar of strength. My Urdu professor Rehmatullah Mir also supported me.
“we started a campaign on social media was started with the hope of getting some help, but the comments from the male-dominated society were discouraging. Then, with the help of the college principal, we decided to form a team and compete within the university,” he added.
Isha’s father Basheer Ahmed who is a fruitseller wishes to see her daughter wear the Indian jersey one day. Basheer says “I don’t care about what people say and would rather focus on what my daughter wants All I wanted her to do is pursue her dream. I am thankful to her coaches Gurdeep Saheb and Showkat Ahmed for training her well. Cricket is only a game but they have developed in her a fighting spirit,”.
Donning the Indian jersey is a long shot, but Insha will be hoping to fulfill her dream of playing for the country one day.
(Quotes courtesy Indiatimes)