Keen to see the lot of Gujjars and Bakerwals of Jammu and Kashmir ameliorated particularly in the field of education and women empowerment, Governor Lt. General (Retd) S K Sinha today complimented Abdul Rashid Choudhary for bagging the prestigious Rothschild Internship and Students’ Conference on Conservation Science 2008.’This can inspire the youth of these communities to strive for excellence’, the Governor said in an interaction with the young scholar at Raj Bhavan this morning. On noticing his achievement in the print media, General Sinha invited Rashid Choudhry to personally felicitate him. He wished him success and said that it is a great achievement not only for him but a great honour for the Gujjar community in particular, as also for the Nation and the State of Jammu and Kashmir..The Governor has been holding a view that education is a key to improve the quality of life of Gujjars and Bakerwals, who have been braving numerous odds on mountains and rugged terrains. Impressed by their valour and spirit of patriotism, General Sinha has been missing no opportunity to visit their habitations to have a feel of their problems and ensuring solution of these. In a major step, he has got relaxation of qualification approved by their Centre to have adequate representation of Gujjar youth in Para Military Forces.General Sinha evinced interest in the presentation by Choudhry on his work covering the important aspects of Biodiversity Conservation in North-Western Himalaya and Climate changes in Indian Himalayas, which are of immense importance to find appropriate scientific answers to alarming cases of the region. Like a teacher, the Governor explained the concerns of global warming and its likely impact on India while stressing the need for scientific exploration of such threats.Abdul Rashid Choudhry expressed his gratitude to the Governor, saying that it will be a big booster to his confidence for meeting the challenges of life. He said that he will be leaving for Cambridge with this pleasant thought of having been honoured by the Head of the State. He said that the whole Gujjar community was indebted to the Governor for his concern about their welfare and was looking towards him with hope. The Governor said that he has a deep association with Gujjars and Bakerwals ever since his stints in the mountains of Jammu and Kashmir as a soldier. He said that the Gujjars have always remained in the forefront in defence of the country and appreciated the cooperation extended by them to the Army from time to time.The Governor also appreciated the academic odyssey of a boy coming from a poor Gujjar farmers’ family from Budhal in Rajouri district. His elder brother is a Subedar Major in 19 Punjab, who is an inspiration for his younger brother. He showed a picture of his room in Jammu University, having a portrait hanging on the walls depicting General Sinha conferring him the State Academic and Excellence Award last year. He has also led a NSS contingent during Republic Day Parade 2002 in Delhi.General Sinha also made a mention of Padma Vibushan conferred to Mian Bashir, a veteran Gujjar leader and spiritual cleric and said that the community is not lagging behind in any field and has a lot of talent.The young scholar also expressed his gratitude for Prof Amitabh Mattoo, Vice Chancellor of Jammu University for his encouragement.As a token of affection, the Governor presented a shawl and a memento to Abdul Rashid Choudhry.