SRINAGAR: Born to deaf and dumb parents, Urwah Hinan, 22 year old multi-talented girl and exceptional sportsperson of Jamalta area of old city in Srinagar gives up her dream for the survival of her family.
Urwah who overcame many odds to shape her dream and make her family’s life comfortable has two immediate expenses staring at her: father’s treatment and her sister’s marriage.
Urwah’s father, Jan Muhammad Jan, now 45, used to run a small hardware shop in Jamalata to feed his family, but habit of trusting people at random slowly started taking tool of his business. “He sold things on credit to people he slightly knew,” said Urwah.
Within no time Urwah’s father was out of work and at home. To keep Urwah’s family feeding, her father started doing odd jobs for survival. A part of the expenses were borne by her mother who would do Aarie Kaem (handicraft) in her free time. “But it was not enough to feed us all,” said Urwah.
It was then her uncle, Suhail Jan, who runs a school in the locality, who came forward to help his brother’s family. “He enrolled us free of cost at his school and took care of our every need,” said Urwah. “He (uncle) treated us like his own kids and gave us freedom to decide our future.”
In 2009, Urwah joined classes to learn the art of self-defense. “When I was in Class 10, I learned Matsogido, a form of martial arts,” said Urwah. “I won a gold medal at the national level next year in Goa.” The win helped Urwah find her passion for sports and her confidence.
In 2013, she enrolled herself at Women’s College Srinagar for a bachelor’s degree in arts. “On the first day I asked my physical education teacher if I can participate in all the games played here,” recalls Urwah. “He was puzzled, but eventually allowed her.” The same year Urwah came second in a cycle race held in Srinagar. “Next year I once again took the second spot,” said Urwah. “In third year I worked hard and bagged first position.”
Apart from cycling Urwah is an all-rounder when it comes to cricket. In 2013, Urwah recalls, how she came across Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association (JKCA), trails at her college. “I went straight to the coach and asked him if I can play too. He was impressed by my batting and bowling,” said Urwah”.
Since then Urwah has represented her college at the national level in Delhi (2014) and Amritsar (2016). Besides, Urwah has participated in state level volleyball tournaments. “We won the tournament. Our team was given Rs 10,000 as award money. This started my volleyball career”.
In 2016, at a state level championship of volleyball sponsored by Rajiv Ghandi Khel Abhiyan (RGKA) , Urwah played in Rajouri and won. Later she was selected to play in senior national Volleyball Championship Banglore. However, because of her final year exams Urwah couldn’t participate.
Then in 2016, Urwah participated in Governor’s Silver Rolling volleyball State championship held in Udhampur. Her team ended up as runner ups. Later, she also participated in RGKA nation volleyball championship at Patiala. Same year Urwah was selected for senior national volleyball championship Chennai.
However, before Urwah could have rejoiced her wins, her father suffered kidney failure. With no permanent source of income, the news came as a blow for the family.
“Once again it was my uncle who helped with the treatment and other expenses,” said Urwah.
Urwah is no ordinary girl; neither has her struggles been ordinary, from learning to speak, learning how to conduct dialysis on her ailing father and being an exceptional sportsperson, Urwah has beaten all odds and come out shining. Urwah is an inspiration for those who lose hope.
It was not possible for Urwah to take her father to the hospital dialysis on a daily basis, so they decided to do it at home. “It would have cost us a lot if we had taken him to hospital for dialysis. So I decided to learn it myself,” said Urwah. “It was not easy but I had no other option.” Doctors had instructed Urwah’s family to conduct dialysis at least thrice a day, but it meant spending lots of money, which they didn’t have. “We could do it once a day only as it costs less,” said Urwah.
Born to deaf and dumb parents, even learning to speak was a struggle for Urwah. When she was born, her parents, Jan Muhammad Jan, Tehmeena, 40, were both ecstatic and worried. The concern was, ‘what if Urwah too is deaf and dumb like them’. But as Urwah grew into a beautiful girl with all senses fully functional, the concerns of her parents, faded.
Urwah recalls her father’s struggle to strive for the survival of his family. She said that because of his disability, it was not easy for him to travel on his own. “To overcome his disabilities, he learned to ride a scooter. It was difficult to keep track of our father once he would leave home,” said Urwah. “He cannot hear or speak which makes it extremely dangerous for him on a busy road,” she said. But Urwah’s father had no choice as he had a large family to feed.
But the destiny had something else to do. After Urwah’s father turns dialyses patient, all responsibilities fall on young Urwah’s shoulders. Compromising her dream, Urwah decided to earn to keep her family surviving. Urwah’s heart was in physical education. “But I have to earn to keep my family alive. How long we can rely on our uncle for our needs. I have two immediate expenses staring at her: father’s treatment and her sister’s marriage.” Urwah’s younger sister Urfa, 19, dropped out of college to help her mother with the family affairs.
After completing her graduation, Urwah wanted to do a degree in Physical Education, but couldn’t clear the exams as she suffered from typhoid. Later she applied for a degree in laws but couldn’t pursue it because of financial issues at home. “I then sought financial help from my aunt Saima Jan,” said Urwah.
“I am desperately looking for a job so that I can help my family survive,” said Urwah. Urwah insists that she is not doing anything extraordinary for her family. She said, “This is what children are supposed to do”.
From 2017 Urwah is working hard for feeding her disabled parents. Since last two years she is applying for different government jobs but always loses hope. Recently she qualified the ground tests of sub inspector, constable and also cracks some interviews in sports council.
At the same time, Urwah harbors a dream of becoming an athlete. In order to stay in touch with sports, Urwah coaches students from her locality in volleyball. “I coach under 14 and 17 teams for both boys and girls. Recently they won three matches at the school level,” said Urwah proudly.
Urwah’s life story besides being an inspiration for all of us is a wake-up call for a society we are living in. A society where we need to introspect and think about hapless and helpless people around us.