Recreational parks

We need more of them

Dr Muzafar Maqsood Wani
Srinagar, Publish Date: Sep 13 2017 10:43PM | Updated Date: Sep 13 2017 10:43PM
Recreational parksFile Photo

I recently stopped by the Jogger’s (Gindan) park at Rajbagh (near Radio Colony) to meet a relative of mine learning the game of lawn tennis there. To be honest I was awestruck by the whole arena. A multifaceted and a magnificent place for all ages.

Enter the gate and on the right a well laid garden with lush green grass and lawns of finely pruned seasonal flowers welcomes one and all. Many families sitting together and enjoying a moment of peace and tranquility. Children trotting, playing with balloons, on bicycles, having fun was worth a sight. 

Just ahead on the jogging tracks there were people young and aged sweating it out. The tracks well laid and scientifically conceived. Still ahead in a big field many in groups were dribbling against one another with either a football or their hockey sticks - kids learning the skills of soccer and field hockey from a coach. Still up on the badminton courts it was lovely to see the kids smash, drop and defend with their rackets and the shuttlecocks. The volley ball field ahead had young and old serving and tossing the ball over the net. The basketball court had a handful of tall children learning to put the ball into the basket. 

At the extreme end towards the right and left of the lovely park, to my surprise I saw something that made me aghast for a while. An excellent swimming pool being created for recreation and to learn the so much less dwelled on water sports. And to the left two well laid and net covered tennis courts with players in shorts, T shirts and flip caps serving and returning the tennis ball like mini professionals or playing it like first timers. The swimming pool and the tennis courts make this place different from many a field in that there are almost none of these anywhere (but at the two famous clubs of Kashmir).

What a site this wholesome place is, from recreation to fitness to health to happiness it is all happening within few acres of land that was carved out from a wasteland. I envied the residents circumscribing this park. The people of Raj Bagh, Jawahar Nagar, Radio Colony, Ikrajpora - lucky as always in having such a facility. They already have the Bakshi & Indoor Stadium, Polo ground, Zero Bridge Park, Amar Singh cricket stadium and college grounds just a stone’s throw from their homes and to top it up they have this additional recreational ground. Lucky they and unlucky we. We the rest of city and villages are devoid of such a vast and well made facility. Though we are not barred from going to any of the above mentioned ones, it is the unpredictable conditions here in the valley that curb our movement for even the important tasks not to talk about recreation..The best option is to have one such facility in close vicinity of one’s home.

Kashmir doesn't lack grass, grounds and the climate for having the best outdoor recreational parks and playing fields. And it is not that we don't have them, we have, but they lay undone, unattended, unprepared. We need someone to tap the available and turn them into facilities. Examples of some of the already available facilities that have been undone would be the TRC playing area which has been trifurcated into an Astroturf arena (which could have been done at a new place on byepass area) a taxi stand and a small leftover area. Gani Memorial stadium in downtown is another such example of a facility gone waste. We can have the prototype described above and utilize it at different places so that all the people take an advantage of the facility and not only those from Rajbagh or near. Just like an enormous effort was put in to have quite a number of wedding halls done in many parts of the city so can we also make efforts to have recreational parks established? For instance take Gani Memorial stadium or Islamic college ground or the grounds in Rainawari, Nigeen, Lalbazar, Pampore, they can be converted into something akin to the Rajbagh facility. A bit of everything, from a sitting area for families to a play area for multiple sports enthusiasts. Likewise in the city outskirts and in all the Tehsils and Districts such facilities need to be established to hunt for the talent that otherwise stays unexplored.

I did see a glimpse of Federer and a Djokovic, the likes of Messi and Ronaldo, the ability of Jordan and Bolt, the young blood of Saina and Sindhu there at the Joggers park, but we can have much more of this talent hidden within the lanes and by lanes of Kashmir, which if given a fair chance and facilities can be tamed and prepared into world class athletes.

(Dr Muzafar Maqsood Wani is Consultant Nephrologist, SKIMS,  Soura)