Srinagar: A scooter mechanic turned millionaire has also turned an environmentalist in Kashmir. Along with his business, he also runs a successful eco club giving away free saplings to his customers and over 46,000 have already been planted.
Abdul Hamid Bhat's journey has been one of struggle, toil and sweat and yet awe-inspiring at the same time. From a scooter mechanic, 14 years ago to becoming a multi-million automobile unit owner now, the 46-year-old school dropout has proved that nothing is impossible. Starting with a few thousand rupees in 1996, Bhat now has a string of various companies dealing in automobiles to electric generators with 250 employees to boast of.
Mohammad Amin, Hamid's old colleague, said, "When we started business, we were only two people working, our office was a temporary shed. Today we have a full fledged company and we have grown."
Not resting on his personal laurels, Bhat set up a voluntary non-profit eco club, Rahim Greens, in 2006. He goes from one school to another giving green tips. At seminars he warns of climate change and the need to go green. At his car-servicing centre, one returns not only with a serviced car but also with a plant in hand. And in his own backyard, he has raised a nursery of pine saplings.
"I have vowed to dedicate 25 per cent of my profit to certain responsibilities that include sectors of health, education, entrepreneurship development and environment. I distributed 46,000 pines and next year I plan to give another 70,000," Hamid said.
As a member of the United Nation-based International Association of Volunteers Efforts, Bhat recently delivered lectures in South Korea, Thailand and Australia on climate change. During last year' s discontent in the Valley, he volunteered to drive ambulances to ferry the injured.
"People should not wait for years to fill up government jobs. Rather they should be ready to join private sector, they should have the will to strive," Hamid said.
Bhat's own story can act as a source of motivation.