A previous Amazon employee and MBA graduate, with about 30,000 followers on social media, he left a corporate job in Hyderabad in 2014 to return to Kashmir and set up a chain of street food restaurants – Parsa’s.
Javid Parsa said, “I wanted to connect with different people and to me, opening a restaurant was the best way I could do it.”
As a kid, he would go to a kandur waan, or traditional Kashmiri baker, with his grandfather and see as people chatted about politics, religion, and society.
But after August 5, the day India removed some of Kashmir’s autonomy, his daily life has taken a change among a widespread crackdown.
For longer than a month now, his restaurants have remained closed – like most maximum other businesses in the region.
After removing Article 370, public transport was suspended in Kashmir, communication lines including the phone and internet were closed, and thousands of extra troops were deployed on the streets.
While some landlines have been replaced, the internet is still not operating at full capacity and several Kashmiris have not been able to speak to family members in other countries, or in India, since August 5.
There is a need for medicine in the valley.
These days, Parsa, currently in India, manages his internet stardom to assist people to connect.
His social media feeds are full of posts with a red background and a #KashmirSOS hashtag, calling on people to support each other – ineffective ways.
He has created a network by connecting relatives who have missed contact with one another, crowdfund several thousand dollars for a needy family, and get medicine – and even blood – to patients.
He spoke to Al Jazeera – “We have no choice but to help each other. We are a land of orphans right now.”
‘I must have joined at least 1,500 calls’ Parsa stated he has connected hundreds of Kashmiri families with their relatives abroad, either by phone or sending letters with people who are able to travel, often international journalists.
Most of certain were made to people performing Hajj in Saudi Arabia and Kashmiri medical students studying outside India, in Bangladesh, Kyrgyzstan, and Russia.
“I am surprised how my contact number arrived [so many people] in Kashmir since there was barely any means of communication,” he said.
“I got calls of international numbers. People who could provide medicines but didn’t have a medium to send those,” he said.
“So, they transferred me medicine to my outlet at Delhi where I managed to store them, and then people going to Kashmir volunteered to dispatch them back home.”