Srinagar (Jammu and Kashmir), November 19 (ANI): All of 20, Arhan Bagati has taken the mantle upon himself to realise a promise that several generations of political bigwigs made to the people of Kashmir Valley but failed to accomplish.
At a time when many Kashmiri Pandits have threatened to leave the Valley citing lack of security in the wake of recent targeted militant attacks and killings, Arhan, also a Pandit who was born in Delhi, returned to his roots in pursuit of shaping a 'new and prosperous' Kashmir.
Speaking to ANI, Arhan, who studied in the United States, said he came back to the land of his forbears to realise his chershed goal of doing away with all the problems plaguing the Valley and restoring its uniqueness and soul.
"There is soething about not forgetting the things that make us. Like the beliefs we were raised on and the traditions and values that our parents instilled in us. It is on the foundation of the beliefs that I, and many like me, grew up on that we can now build a new and prosperous Kashmir," said Arhan, clad in a pheran (a traditional Kashmiri attire) and assembling the memoirs of his Army officer grandfather, who was from Bulbul Lanker in Srinagar.
His grandmother was a native of Batmaloo in Srinagar.
He has woven great expectations around the venture that brought him back to Kashmir -- KYARI (Kashmir's Yumberzal Applied Research Institute), which conducts academic research to understand and find solutions to developmental problems in Jammu & Kashmir.
Under Arhan's stewardship, KYARI has been roping in the Valley's intellectuals to explore ways to engage the youth through employment opportunities and restore lasting peace in the union territory.
KYARI recently co-hosted the first-ever 'Kumaon Literary Festival' in the Valley. The event drew several renowned writers in the Valley and even Bollywood personalities.
Arhan said KYARI's main aim is to "focus on research topics such as rural tourism, tribal communities, climate change and a host of other developmental issues, along with promoting Kashmir as a viable future for the youth in the region".
"Through KYARI, I got an opportunity to connect with those who need attention, those who might not have a voice, and understand and solve their day-to-day problems to the best of my abilities. Each conversation and connection has made me revel in the spirit of Kashmir and enjoy my work at KYARI. Setting aside politics, urban and rural issues hold more significance for the people here than I had anticipated," Arhan told ANI.
On what made him think about putting together an organisation like KYARI and helping people through it, Arhan said, "Motivation alone is the key component to unlocking and achieving one's true potential. However, motivational triggers vary from person to person. I was motivated to build an environment where all feel excited and energised. It was this motivation that brought me here and helped me set up KYARI," Arhan added.
Arhan said he always had a quest to learn something new and seek ways to contribute to meaningful projects that provide him with a sense of ownership both in his own work and his overall working environment.
"Learning is what I love the most. It isn't just about technology but also about finding ways to be more effective. I always wanted to see what's around the next corner and have the motivation to find solutions to the day-to-day problems here," he said.
Arhan's empathetic self also came to the fore in his role as the Awareness and Impact Ambassador of the Paralympic Committee of India (PCI).
Arhan also launched mobile apps -- InRio and IndTokyo -- to assist India's Paralympic athletes.
He became the country's first and the world's youngest deputy chef-de-mission of the Indian contingent for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
Also the youth ambassador for the 'Pixstory' Application, Arhan lives in Srinagar where KYARI is based.
After completing his International Baccalaureate Diploma Program (IBDP) and his Liberal Arts education with a Bachelor of Arts in Politics (specialization in Comparative Politics) and in Asian Studies (with a concentration on India), from Pomona College, US, and also a stint at the prestigious Cambridge University, he now wishes to work on the everyday problems faced by the people of of Jammu and Kashmir, with focus on intensive field-work to truly capture the ground reality. (ANI)