Sirhama, one of the most promising village in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, is located in the lap of beautiful mountains. It is located on the eastern side of the mountain ( Khareewan) which demarcated the Srigufwara tehsil of Anantnag district from the Tral tehsil of the Pulwama district. It is positioned in the Dochnipora bloc that is the rural part of the Anantnag district. The village is 8 km away from the tehsil office Srigufwara, 12 km from the sub-district Bijbehara, 20 km from the district headquarter Anantnag and has a distance of 55km from the summer capital Srinagar .
The village Sirhama is the fourth most populous village at the Sub-district level. As per the 2011 census, the village has a population of 5960 among them 2896 are males and 3064 are females, hence has a better sex ratio at the state level. It has 887 house holds (2011). The village is divided into two Panchayat Halqas that is Sirhama payeen (Bongam) and Sirhama bala (Hergam) with 07 and 06 panch constituencies respectively in each Panchayat Halqa. The village has a Primary Health Centre, Vetenary Sub-unit, JK Bank, Post office and a Government owned agricultural Farm.
The village is the third biggest village in the sub-district Bijbehara in terms of area. It has a geographical area of eight square kilometers with 786.7 hectares of land. The prominent mohallahs of the village are Camp Colony, Shahnazpora, Manzpora, Khaarpora, Kongposh Colony, Saidbal, Bongam, Sarkari Bagh, Wanender (Umer Abad), Batpora, Hergam ( Dar Mohallah), Danjipora, Khudpora etc
The village is surrounded by the villages of Shalgam, Sheetipora, Katoo, K. Kalan, Mahind, Nowshehara and Khiram. The two canals which irrigates most of the village land are the Dadi Canal and the Mahind Canal.
The main occupation of the people of the village is fruit business. So popular is the village in fruit business that the word Sirhama is synonymously used for the red delicious apple. It is the largest Apple producing village in the entire district. In 2018, the village has the apple production of 18 to 20 lakh apple boxes. It is famous in producing the high quality apples like high density Italy, red chip, top red, bulgaria, kulu, palmer, glamaous, red delicious, delicious, american, golden, chamoora, maharaji etc. These apples always remain in high demand at the local fruit markets like Batangoo, Sopore, Shopian, Kulgam etc and are equally popular in the national fruit markets like Delhi, Jaipur, Ahmadabad, Punjab, Lucknow, Jammu etc. Jammu is the second home for the people of Sirhama .
The people of the village spent almost ten crore rupees annually only on the fertilizers and pesticides . The village hires a number of workers from the other villages, far-flung area and sometimes non-locals too for the apple harvest and provides the largest number of employment opportunities for the unemployed and unskilled lot in the entire area.
Besides the apples, walnuts, almonds, vegetables and other works related to the horticulture and agriculture too adds the gross domestic product of the village. The village has almost shuted down the agricultural farming like paddy, mustard etc hence this sector is losing its relevance in the vicinity. Although the village has the other businesses and trading sectors besides the salaried class but it is the apple production which had made the fortunes of the village at the developmental front. It has not only helped the village to grow economically but has also supported to be socially conscious. There is assured basic necessities like Roti, Kapda and Makhan. The village gives a perfect look of an advanced village in terms of construction and the life style of its inhabitants. The apple has a special place in the heart of every resident of the village because it is this apple which has given them the chance to realize their dreams.
The village Sirhama has a white feather also that is the village is famous for milk production. Almost every house hold domesticates one or two holesten, jersey, sindhi, F2 etc. cows. These cows not only feeds the house holds but also gives the surplus milk. The surplus milk is supplied to the Anantnag and Srinagar. In Anantnag town the preferred milk is the milk supplied by the Sirhama. As per the milk collection centre owner, Farooq Ahmad Rather, the village produces a surplus milk of 2000 liters per day in summer hence is supplied to the towns and city.
The literacy rate in the village is 60.44% (census 2011). The village has lately developed the taste of education. It has five educational institutions among them three are the government institutions ( a high school and two middle schools) and two are private institutions ( high schools). The village has a recent upsurge in the field of education. It has produced IAS, KAS, Professors, Lecturers, Doctors, Engineers, Teachers, business men, entrepreneurs and a lot of other officials in almost every department of the central and state government. The students of the village are creating history by toping the exams in the whole dochnipora bloc and in qualifying not only the exams at state level but has recognized their position and place at the national level exams too. The students are also pursuing the different professional and academic courses in the foreign lands like China, Russia, Bangladesh, Gulf etc.
The new generation students besides being good in academics are also very fond of other testes like literature, music, art, fashion designing and social services. The people of the village are well rooted and have tremendous love and patriotism for their village hence are well connected and deeply involved in the progress and prosperity of the village.
The village has a group of voulanteers (a kind of an educational committee) which is purely apolitical in nature . This committee uses all the possible ways to groom the young talented guyz in their courses of career. It organises special seminars, Counselling programmes, debates and courses both online and offline. It handles its facebook page ( The Rising Sirhama) and a watsapp group ( Career Counselling Group). This committee has played a great role in boosting the morale of the studentds and has a decent success rate in polishing the careers of the students.
This upsurge in education has given a new name and fame to the village . It has changed the mindset of people . It has widened the outlook of a commoner and has motivated every parent and guardian for the well thought education for the child and ward as per their tastes, capacity, and capability. The common resident of the village is now well content with this thought that if apple has given him/her the economic progress and prosperity, it is the education which is necessary for the social recognition and the improvement of living standard.
The village of rising sun ( Sirhama) provides a true picture of communal harmony and common brotherhood. The people there are true democrats in their approach, secularist in their thinking and true socialists in their action. The village had a big mohallah of Pandiths(Hindu) of almost 25 families, but after the mass migration of 1990, there are only 10 families of this community who live happily in the village. The relationship between the Hindus and Muslims is cordial and is based on mutual trust, understanding and the spirit of common brotherhood.
The village has 14 Masjids among them four are Jamias. The village has also a Mandir (Hindu Temple). The Mandir of the village is the only Mandir which is well constructed and perfectly in sound condition in the entire area. The Hindus of the village pray there without any fear or intimidation and as per their faith. one of the Jamia Masjid of the village is Adjacent to the Pandit mohallah and when in the recent past the said Masjid was underconstruction, the construction material was cared and guarded by the neighbouring Hindu families. On the other hand during the last thirty years whenever the Pandith families had any death, the Muslim brothers stayed with them in performing the last rites. Whenever there is any occassion of happiness and mournning, the members of both the community celebrate and mourn it together. The young and the old of both the faiths prefer to sit near the Mandir at the evenings to discuss the issues of management of human relations in the village without fear, anger, hatred or antagonism just like brothers.
It is the apple and education which has changed the position of the village from a backward, illiterate, unemployed village to a promising progressive educational hub with tremendous economical potentials. The people are very aware of the fact that it is these two fields which has truely favoured the village and that is why they are very determined to carry these two forward so that the village may have more and more progress and prosperity.
The politics and the politicians have had a different approach with the village. Being mostly busy in their work and field of occupation, the people are not pro-active in politics. Being the 4th populous village of the Bijbehara constituency, it has always been neglected on the administrative front. The politicians only visit the village, when it is the election time, but once the elections are over , the interest of the politicians too comes to an end. The practice is there in the village right from the end of Dogra Rule (1947)
The political inactivness and the apathy of the administration can be seen from the the fact that Sirhama being largest apple producing village , the authorities have declared Khiram as the apple village. Being centrally located the higher secondary schools are in Mahind and Khiram. The building of the Government High School is underconstruction from last eight years and is yet to be completed. The Primary Health Centre is only there by name, it is there with the sanctioned staff of more than twenty officers and officials but only a few works there, the rest blue eyed ones are attached with the Sub- District Hospital Bijbehara. The attached ones work in town and draws their salaries from the PHC Sirhama. The said hospital has a good building but the lack of man power has rendered the hospital dyfuctional and the unavailability of the basic health facilities have caused much pain and sufferings to the common man of the village.
The Veternary sub-unit is without any building and office of its own. The Centre is being shifted from place to place after every short while which creates confusion and inconveniences to the people of the village. The village has not been visited by any senior officer from the administration side after the devastating november snowfall which caused havocs in the village economy and has destructed the property of crores.
The village being rich in resources, high in talent and at the top in progress and prosperity lacks the political and administrative attention. It is this apathy which sometimes demoralises the people of the village. It is expected that the administration may recognise the geniune demands of the people of village in terms of providing basic infrastructure to the core areas of governance that is education, health, roads, water supply, electricity, horticulture, animal husbundary etc, so that the people may not face the hurdles which they are facing today.
(Masood Ali Mir is the native of the village, a social activist and a freelancer can be mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org)