Insha Bashir – ‘a role model’, overcomes disability to write history

The story is about overcoming a physical handicap, forgetting pain and adversity by the strong will of one’s mind. It’s about controlling your emotions on such an extreme level and taking every opportunity that comes your way while sitting in a wheelchair and making the wheelchair your wings to pursue your dreams and not just to give the example to future generations, but to be a role model for everyone. This is the story of Insha Bashir-Kashmir, the first international female wheelchair basketball player.

Insha, 27, is from Beerwah village in Budgam district in central Kashmir and is currently pursuing a Masters of Social Work (MSW) degree at Delhi University. She graduated with a Bachelor of Education from the University of Kashmir and a Bachelor of Arts from Government Degree College Beerwah Budgam.

Furthermore, she is the current captain of the J&K women’s wheelchair basketball team and has been awarded by India’s Minister of Sports, Kiran Rijiju and the Jammu and Kashmir Sports Council for her achievements.

“However, I use a wheelchair but I couldn’t forget my goals. Since 2017, I have been continuously active in basketball and social activities,” Insha Bashir told Rising Kashmir.

She represented India in the USA in March 2019, and participated in the national championship in Mohali Punjab in 2019 while representing Jammu and Kashmir, as captain of the women’s team. The team reached the quarter-finals for the first time, courtesy of Insha. For this, Insha was declared player of the year in 2019.

The wheelchair sportsman has played nationally and represented Delhi in Tamil Nadu in 2018, apart from participating in the National Wheelchair Basketball Championship in 2017 held in Hyderabad.

“Once you are determined enough to do something in life, the Almighty comes to your aid, in addition to the support of the good people around you,” she says.

“With your willpower, you can see yourself in a better position,” she said.

Insha has become an inspiration and an example of endurance and effort for those who want to pursue their life’s passion despite being in a wheelchair or with other physical disabilities.

“Everything I have done or achieved in life so far can be achieved or done by anyone,” she says.

Shortly after, she gave a lecture to Ted, in Mangalore, where she was given a standing ovation by dozens of people present, the majority of whom were doctors from all over India, Insha was called “Muniba Marizi from Kashmir” , a famous motivational speaker in a wheelchair who herself met with an accident and eventually turned into a motivational speaker.

Second, between four siblings, her path to success was strewn with pitfalls and obstacles.

“There are a lot of people in the world who are physically disabled and among them there are people who, despite their disability, move forward in life and make a name for themselves,” she says.

In 2009, at the age of 15, Insha met an accident that caused her to lose her permanent power which completely changed her life.

“It’s been 10 years now since I had this accident in which my spinal cord was injured and since then I have been in a wheelchair,” she recalls.

Describing the ordeal of the accident, she says she was studying a chemistry book on the second floor of the house as she was an aspiring medical student.

“At that time, I felt like throwing up, although my cousin was also present and supported me, I don’t know rest until I open my eyes in SKIMS hospital,” says- she.

It was after this accident that Insha could not stand up because the accident had paralyzed her in both limbs.

She says when she learned that her spinal cord had been injured and she could no longer stand on her own legs, it felt like her life was over and there was no more reason to live.

“My parents hid the truth from me that I could no longer stand on my legs, as I aspired to study medicine. However, when I was told that I could not continue my medical studies, if I felt like it was the end of my life,” she said with tears streaming from her eyes.

She recalled that she used to cry and hide from the outside world by lying in bed all day. This went on for a long time because she used to think things over and wonder if her room was the only place for me!

“Before, I used to hate my wheelchair and tell my mum to keep it away from me, it will be fine, mum and my dad would motivate me by saying ‘one day I will make them proud,'” she says.

She remembered that all family members supported her, however, soon depression overpowered her and forced her to change her tune.

“Even though I continued my studies, I was missing something that could boost me. Nothing was working for me. I cried a lot, I also dreamed of becoming a doctor,” she said.

She says she was fed up with fake well-wishers and sometimes even made fun of becoming a burden on her parents.

“Not everyone spoke well of me. Some even said that it was better for me to die in this accident as they considered me a burden on my family which was true at the time as my family faced many hardships after my two legs were paralyzed,” she said.

Insha added that her family undoubtedly suffered a lot but they continued to support her, whether it was her parents, cousins ​​or siblings, they never stopped. to support her.

If that wasn’t enough, she had to deal with other health issues.

“Before I met this accident, I was diagnosed with a stomach ulcer, causing bleeding from the mouth everything I ate, nothing digested then,” she recalls.

With so much left to her, Insha couldn’t take it anymore and fell into depression. She dabbled in the issue for about five years, during which time she became short-tempered and used to hurt herself with little things.

“After the accident, I was in depression for five consecutive years, which caused me to face many difficulties and obstacles in the life to come,” she said, added.

“I used to think about what was going to happen to me as I had lost all dreams and the will to live,” she sighed and added, “but I am grateful to the Almighty that my family never left me alone and supported me in every possible way to help me overcome this difficult phase of life.

“After being repeatedly approached by my father, I went to the Shafkat rehabilitation center located in Bemina,” she says.

“Once I was on a daily physical therapy routine, when I saw J&K wheelchair players playing basketball, that was the moment I thought if they could play, why can’t I “, she recalls.

She said there was one person who happened to be a national player with different abilities, Mohammad Rafi Paray, who approached her asking if she wanted to play and she nodded in affirmation.

Insha credits her basketball success to Mohammad Rafi Paray, Dr. Saleem Wani, her parents for supporting her in times of adversity and depression.

According to Insha, the support of the family is the only reason why she was able to reach the position she currently occupies in her life.

After repeated attempts by her father Bashir Ahmad Wani and constant counseling sessions by renowned urologist Dr. Saleem Wanivalley, Insha was able to overcome this difficult phase in her life.

“Although it took me a long time to accept this reality, but once I realized I started to take everything in a positive way and saw my disability as a challenge that had become a obstacle in my path to success,” she said.

“Although I was in a wheelchair, I decided to become a wheelchair basketball player.”

She says it was sports that changed her life.

“Before that, I had no idea that I could do this on a wheelchair after encountering such an accident,” she adds.

Despite this harsh reality of life, she continued her studies but it was the sports that changed her life. “Only sport has changed my life, I told myself that I had to do something for others, for myself and make a name for my father and my mother,” she said.

“I want to work hard and make Kashmir and the country proud of me,” she says, adding that she wants to be an Olympian by winning gold,” she laughs.

She adds that she recently wrote a chapter “Rising Greater than disabilities” in “101 unconventional strategies” a book that is a bestseller on Amazon.

Rebecca R. Santistevan