In the heart of Kashmir, often known as heaven on earth, lies a land of serene valleys, towering mountains, and meandering streams, adding an exquisite charm to this earthly paradise. Living amid such breathtaking beauty is an experience, for “they say we are a reflection of our surroundings”. Presenting Parvaiz Yousuf, a Kashmiri Kashur, who will share his lens with you while travelling through time machine and show you glimpses of his childhood in Kashmir, while narrating how Kashmir was then and now.
Image Courtesy: Parvaiz Yousuf
“Pampore, my beloved hometown nestled amidst saffron fields, has been the cradle of my existence that has shaped me into who I am today,” shares Parvaiz.
In his blog he mentions that surrounded by the majestic Zabarwan mountains, with four serene satellite wetlands just a leisurely stroll away, his village exudes the very essence of nature's beauty. As he recounts his childhood and begins the narration, you'll find that every memory is intricately woven with the tapestry of nature.
Parvaiz is enthusiastic about avians since his childhood. He has authored an informative book, “Birds of Jammu & Kashmir,” which is about different bird species found in Kashmir. While going through his article, I came across an instance where he shares that in the heart of Pampore, within the expansive embrace of the Chatlam Wetland Reserve (CWR), he has witnessed a grand congregation of migratory birds that would grace the wetland with their unique calls and vibrant plumage.
I can imagine the awe-struck sight of it, but think, he witnessed it. Amazing!
Image Courtesy: Parvaiz Yousuf
He mentions that he learnt the English names of the birds during his Master's Degree in Zoology, Central University of Kashmir. He shares a personal connection with Mallard (Pachun/ “Aasmaen Batuk” in Kashmiri) and Greylag goose (Anser anser). Greylag geese are large grey geese with a pinkish-orange bill and pink legs. “I’ve heard most stories about them from my grandfather,” he shared.
Talking about sustainability and tourism, he mentions that the natural biodiversity of the lake has a lot of potential for bird tourism. In 2013, the administration transferred the management of Pampore's four wetland reserves: Chatlam Wetlands Reserve, Fashkoori Wetlands Reserve, Manibaug Wetlands Reserve, and Krenchoo Wetlands Reserve, to the Jammu & Kashmir Wildlife Department, pushing forward the agenda of ushering in an era of ecotourism.
While talking about his favourite pastime i.e., Fishing, he shares that the trickiest part of it was crafting the fishing rods ("Brislai"). The main species of fish found in the lake were Common Carp, Grass Carp, and Schizothorax (Kashir Gaad in Kashmiri), Gambusia in a very few numbers.
His inclination towards saffron cultivation is incomparable. Right from the childhood, he was taught how to pluck “Kong Posh” (Kashmiri name of saffron flowers).
Regrettably, this cherished place has gradually waned due to floods, change in the temperatures, climate and much more. However, the beauty persists, and naturalists like Parvaiz and many are trying their best to protect and preserve nature in its as much as unbridled form and spreading the word.
Come, embark on this journey through Parvaiz’s formative years, where Kashmir’s nature influenced his upbringing and way of thinking as an ever-present companion.
Click below to read his story, “A Childhood in Pampore, Kashmir = Tying Knot with Nature Early On!” (Image Courtesy: Parvaiz Yousuf)
Author of the Article, “A Childhood in Pampore, Kashmir = Tying Knot with Nature Early On!”: Parvaiz Yousuf
Parvaiz Yousuf is an author, consultant TCRP, SEO writer, birder, researcher, and science journalist hailing from Pampore, Kashmir. He holds a master’s degree in Zoology from Central University of Kashmir and has an abiding interest in the field of ornithology. Parvaiz also works as a Director of the Wetland Research Centre Wildlife Conservation Fund and aims to pursue a Ph.D. in ornithology.
As a child, he grew up near serene Pampore wetlands, which host thousands of migratory birds every year. He also has around a dozen publications in some reputed journals such as Nature, IJMS, BNHS, etc.
Author of the Blog: Smruti S Samantray
Smruti, a Climate Reality Mentor trained by Nobel Laureate Al Gore in 2015, brings over 11 years of corporate and marketing communication expertise. Her efforts span sustainability education, youth mobilization, and community outreach. She's authored 3500+ articles and research papers on subjects from sustainability to education, and review 100+ books. Smruti holds a Master's Degree in Journalism, a PGD in Urban Environment Management and Law, and a Master's in International Business. She's received awards like "Exceptional Women of Excellence 2018" and is committed to journalism, climate change, and early childhood education. Beyond her work, Smruti enjoys art, poetry, music, and cooking.