After a very educative and well appreciated efforts of the GHHP (Gauri Healthy Heart Project) team supported by the administration of the Districts of Kupwara and Budgam in the months of September and October 2020, our next destination in the Valley is the Pulwama District. This district is very special to me personally, being the place of my birth where I spent my earlier days in the beautiful village of Hawal, which is only 8 kms from Pulwama town, on the road to Shopian. It was predominantly a Pundit village with real composite Kashmiri culture, till the unfortunate issues of 1990. The tall building visible from the road is our ancestral home.
Today’s Pulwama was comprised of four hamlets namely Malikpora, Dalipora, Chattapora and Dangarpora. Initially it was the Tehsil Headquarter. In order to “Knit together” all the four hamlets in the shape of town, it was formed into a village. “Knit together” is described as Pnawan in our language. That is why, it has been named as Pnawangam, which later on became Pulgam and then Pulwama, which has come to be its final name as of today. It is only 25 Kms from Srinagar.
It has a rich cultural and historical background with legendry people having born and brought-up in this district and ancients kings choosing the area as their Capital. Awantipora a part of this district was once a very important city, the remains of the city are still located at a site 28 kms from Srinagar, in the form of Awanti Swami temple ruins on the left side of the Srinagar Jammu national highway. The archaeological monuments at Awantipora, Jawlerari Kakapora and other places signify the rich history of the District. Awantiverman (854-83 A.P) the ruler was a great patron of art and sculpture. It is now a subdistrict of Pulwama.
The district has religious shrines like that of Khan-Kahi Faiz Panah of Shah Hamdan (R.A) at Tral. He was originally from Iran and contributed towards bringing in Islam to the valley. The most revered Pundit temple of Jawala Mukhi at Khrew, a very historic place, is also a part of this district. It is a temple which is dedicated to Jawala Bhagwati – the Goddess of fire. The old wooden structure is now changed to iron and steel because of a fire by short circuiting.The temple is reached by a flight of stone steps. A Jawala Mukhi mela is held here annually on the 14th day of the bright fortnight of Savan (July–August) when pilgrims visit this shrine from all corners of the country. At the bottom of the hillock is a spring where people take a dip before making the ascent.
Pulwama district is a very pretty place, because of its congenial climate, innumerable springs, streams, water falls, fragrant flowers, delicious fruits and other natural sceneries. It is known as the rice bowl of the valley. Besides this, it is famous all over the world for saffron cultivation which is mainly grown in Karewa lands of Pampore, Kakapora and Pulwama Blocks.
Kashmir saffron “Crocus-Sativus” is renowned globally as a spice which rejuvenates health and has medicinal and cosmetic value. The unique thing about it is that it has longer and thicker stigmas, deep colour, high aroma and flavour and the much sought-after spicy taste. It is the only saffron in the world grown at a height of more than 5000 feet above the sea level. It is in great demand as condiment and also as a pigment for forehead marks of the Hindus. Its cultivation in the valley is believed to have been introduced by the Central Asian immigrants around 1st century BCE. In ancient Sanskrit it is referred to as “bahukam”.
Having screened many places in this very historic district, we have decided to hold the Healthy Heart Project on 27th and 28th of November at the Community health Centre of Rajpora. The centre has enough infrastructure for carrying out our activities of optimizing medical treatments of patients with high BP, diabetes with or without heart disease. The centre recently performed a hysterectomy, first one in any CHC, led by Dr Basharat Pandit and his able team members from surgery and anaesthesia along with the confident laboratory technicians.
The project as per our guidelines will involve around 100 patients referred through the CMO Dr Haseena Mir and her team of doctors of the different segments and sub district Hospitals, community Health centres and Primary Health Centres. All the patients will be evaluated by us for BP by a calibrated machine, a random blood sugar and lipid profile. An ECG will be done in all the patients.
Dr Raghav Langar, the District commissioner, a medical doctor himself has offered all the administrative support. A CME on “How to treat difficult to manage Hypertension” will be held in his complex, where he would be the Chief guest and the CMO would chair the session. The lecture delivered by me will be followed by an interactive session with all the doctors posted in the district. The focus would be on single tablet combinations which are cost effective and a recommendation to upgrade the medicines available in the health centres.
With the cooperation of district administration and our efforts a Telemedicine set up is planned to be started at the PHC of Hawal, to cover the entire district including the entire 187 villages with a total population of around 6 lacks and also neighbouring villages of Shopian district which is only 10 kms away and has a population of about 3 lack. As per the current data the district should have around 1.85 lack high BP, 60,000 diabetics and around 40,000 patients with both diabetes and high BP. These are the individuals who have very high chances of getting events like heart attacks and strokes. Optimization of their treatment using cost effective therapies is the need of the day.
Our endeavour will be to bring back the glory of Pulwama district into the mainstream news, which unfortunately has seen ugly incidents in recent times bringing in controversies.
A formal report will be made after analysing the data by our Academic and Research team of Batra Hospital and Medical Research Centre team for all the concerned persons including the Financial Commissioner Health, Mr Atal Dulloo IAS and the Director Health Services Dr Samir Mattoo.
Prof Upendra Kaul is founder director of GHHP, Kashmiri Cardiologist, recipient of Dr B C Roy Award and Padma Shri. Past president of Cardiological Society of India, SAARC Cardiac Society, Member Board of Trustee, SCAI. Currently Course Director of AICT /ASIAPCR and INDALIVE.