At the young age of 15, when your dreams are just taking little steps, a tragic event could change your entire course of life. A similar event which happened in 26-Year-old Inshah Bashir’s life that left her shattered and devastated. Falling from her balcony made her crippled and wheelchair-bound for life. But this brave heart decided to embrace all the challenges that came in her way and emerge as a basketball player even though she is on a wheelchair.
Hailing from Budgam district in Kashmir, where resources and opportunities are scarce, she started playing basketball after witnessing the boys’ team at the rehabilitation centre in Srinagar practicing basketball on wheelchairs. Her passion for the sport and her determination to take her dream to another level made her qualify to play it on a national level in 2017. “My wheels are my wings,” says Inshah Bashir when asked about her continuous source of motivation even after facing deterrents and shortcomings in her personal life. Surely, there are no excuses when it comes to acing life as we all just got one shot at it. She is the first wheelchair-bound female basketball player from Kashmir and soon is going to represent the nation at international level.
The incident that changed it all
Inshah Bashir recalls her happy life prior to the tragic event. She was diagnosed with stomach ulcer a year before the incident and it led to frequent bleeding from her mouth. Her life was already difficult and the incident just added salt to her injury. Speaking with The Logical Indian, Inshah Bashir says, “I was in class 12th when this incident happened. Due to major spinal injury proper treatment, I became dependent on wheelchair. Lack of proper medical facilities in Budgam even made it more difficult for my family and I was just confined indoors. But my family’s constant support helped me to overcome that phase.”
Following this incident, she underwent a major depressive episode which made her feel like a burden on others and she lost the motivation to aim for big things in her career. But life had big plans in store for Inshah. When she visited a rehabilitation centre for her treatment, she was thrilled to see boys practicing basketball on wheelchairs. She was keen to try it as she had always been an avid basketball lover since her childhood days. This was just the beginning of her journey with this sport. Even though there was no separate girl’s team in the valley, she practiced and mastered basketball with the facilities already available.
Bouncing back at life
Sharing her experiences with The Logical Indian, she says, “After spending eight years being just confined in my room, I lost the zeal to try new things in life. My depression made me feel isolated from the outside world and harsh remarks by my relatives and near one’s always made me rethink what would I do with my life ahead. My interest in sports was rekindled after I met the boys’ team where many of them were playing happily. It was a life-changing moment for me because it showed me the path through which I could prove my potential to the world.”
Inshah confirms that playing basketball has not only resulted in physical fitness but it has also made her stronger mentally. She follows her fitness routine strictly as directed by her coach and practices basketball every day. Even after completely recovering from that accident, she feels that the lack of disabled-friendly environment in our nation is one of the biggest challenges which she has to face on a daily basis. Also, as per her experience, the lack of infrastructure for disabled people stops them from looking out for new opportunities in various fields and from working at their fullest potential. With her achievements, she wants to inspire other young girls from Kashmir to go ahead and pursue their passion despite all the hurdles which might come their way.
“The lack of facilities and funding from the government for the wheelchair-basketball team is one of the biggest problems which we are facing now at state as well as central level. The youth today has a lot of potential when it comes to playing any sport and they would surely excel if proper avenues are provided. Many girls from Kashmir want to play basketball after witnessing my career and I feel that I hold the responsibility to do something for them. I envision inspiring other young girls to come forward and play basketball or any other sport by setting an example.”
With her sheer grit and determination, Inshah Bashir has been selected for the Sports Visitor Program 2019 where she will be playing along with her team in the United States. She aims to make her nation proud by outperforming other teams. Her story continues to be an inspiration for anyone who wants to chase their passion no matter what circumstances they might face.
The Logical Indian salutes the indomitable spirit of this courageous woman who is scaling new heights in the field of sports and setting a precedent for many others to follow.