In restive South Kashmir, teenage girl soothes minds through her paintings, poems

Abid Bashir

Srinagar (NVI): South Kashmir districts in J&K have been in news for encounters, killings and protests for the past many years. But a teenage girl from the southern district of Anantnag is soothing minds and souls through her poems that are aimed to address anxiety and depression.

Sahiba Irshad Wani, 17, daughter of Muhammed Irshad Wani, a resident of Dupatyar village of Anantnag district, about 2 kilometers from Bijbehara town, is a young poetess, besides being a good artist who paints sketches to address anxiety, depression and to heal minds.

A class 12 student of Radiant Public School Anantnag, Sahiba says since her childhood, she was interested in making sketches and drawing different kinds of paintings, besides writing poems. “I started making these sketches when I was in 4th standard,” she says.

However, she was opposed by her parents vociferously and was asked to concentrate on studies only. “My parents wanted me to qualify NEET. When they tore my artwork, I used to cry all alone,” she recalls. “In utter disappointment and lack of family support, I started writing poems to address anxiety and depression.”

Sahiba says she has so far written around two dozen poems and they are multi-dimensional, however, her prime focus is about depression and anxiety and how to get rid of it.

“Being a science student and securing around 90 percent marks in class 10th, I want to become a doctor and treat people. I want to continue my art and poetry work to heal people by writing poems. I also want to ease out the depression levels of people through sketches and paintings,” she said.

She told NVI that poets like William Wordsworth and Shakespeare inspire her. “I am writing on different things but due to the pressure from parents, I hardly get any time to spend on my artwork.”

“My message to the youth of Kashmir would be that don’t get depressed at any stage, don’t feel let down, just show consistency and patience. You can achieve any goal of life,” she says. Sahiba is an inspiration for many young students in restive South Kashmir that has seen countless encounters, killings, protests and a tough life over the past almost a decade.

“Lot of people visit Sahiba’s house to see her paintings. Many believe they feel relaxed after seeing the young girl’s artwork,” says Irshad Ahmed, a local villager of Sahiba’s native village in Anantnag.

Sahiba urges the younger generation not to waste time in playing games on mobiles as she believes “it affects the life badly.” “Try to utilize every minute of your life so that you can contribute your part towards society,” she says in her appeal to youth in Valley.