By Pawas Verma
1. Bhajan Sopori
Bhajan Sopori is an Indian instrumentalist. He hails from Sopore in Kashmir Valley and traces his lineage to ancient Santoor experts. He was 10 years old when he performed first at a conference organised by Prayag Sangeet Samiti and the University of Allahbad. Pandit Sopori is considered as the cultural link between Jammu and Kashmir and rest of India. He also runs a music academy called SaMaPa which is actively involved in promoting Indian Classical music. The academy has trained several musicians and revived old instruments. It was presented the state government dogri award in 2011. Sopori was awarded the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1993 and Padma Shri in 2004.
2. Basharat Peer
Basharat Peer-The man who scripted the heartfelt Haider is an Indian journalist and script writer based in New York. Peer was born in Seer, Anantnag and later on moved to Columbia University to study Journalism. He has written extensively on South Asian politics for Granta, Foreign Affairs, The Guardian, The New Yorker and The Caravan.
He is the author of Curfewed Night, an eyewitness account of the Kashmir conflict, which was chosen among the Books of the Year by the Economist and The New Yorker. Peer currently runs the “India Ink” blog on the digital edition of The New York times.
3. Dina Nath Walli aka Almast Kashmiri
Known by his pet name Almast Kashmiri, Dina Nath Walli was a renowned artist and poet from Srinagar city in Kashmir valley. He was part of the modert art movement in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. He lived in Badyar Bala area of Srinagar, which has been home to many Kashmiri Pandit artists including S.N. Bhat and Mohan Raina.His painitings are good examples of impressionism being unique in their own way. His accent on realistic art or people’s poetry is best seen in his two collections of his poetry, Bala Yapair and Sahaavukh Posh. Walli has also published a book of his Kashmiri poems Bala Yapri which has been well received in literary circles.
4. Ghulam Rasool Santosh
Ghulam Rasool Santosh, born in Habba Kadal, was a prominent Kashmiri Indian painter and was best known for his themes inspired by Kashmir Shaivism.He studied Tantric art and Kahsmir Shavism and adopted this style to create some of the best examples of modern Tantric paintings. His artwork reflects vibrance of colors, spiritual energy and senuousness. He is reknowned the portrayal of his mysticism and his sense of visual perception which is marked with splendid semi-abstract treatment.
He also wrote plays, poetry and essays in Kashmiri. He was one of the very few people who could read and write the ancient and almost extinct Kashmiri script called Sharda. Since 1953, Santosh has held over 30 one man shows. In 1973, he recieved the Lalit Kala Akademi award in 1973 and the Padma Shree in 1977.
5. Subhash Kak
Subhash Kak is an Indian American computer scientist. Born in Srinagar, he accomplished his BE from NIT srinagar and Ph.D. at the IIT, Delhi. He has made contributions to cryptography, neural networks, and quantum information. He is also notable for his Indological publication on History, the philosophy of Science, ancient astronomy and the history of mathematics. He claims to be amongst the first to apply information metrics to quantum systems. Alan Sokal labeled Kak as “one of the leading intellectual luminaries of the Hindu-nationalist diaspora.”