Cult-Breaker ‘Captain’ from Kashmir is New Rising Start-up Star

 Ruhan Naqash. Picture Courtesy, Ruhan’s FB profile

After getting a special mention in the recent Forbes India list, Ruhan Naqash, the co-founder of MyCaptain, is eyeing to touch more lives while working to break the manacled mindset obsessed with a rat race.

By Malik Huda

RUHAN Naqash’s ingenious world is driven by the get-up-and-go dynamism — the knack making contemporary self-starters cult-breakers in their fields.

He may not be among the movers and shakers yet, but with his resilient team, this Barzulla boy is already leading by an example, away from his homeland, in the southern metropolitan city of Bangalore.

Among other things, this young educator, with his mentoring platform, is trying to alter the religious mindset devoted to certain career cults.

“There’s lack of exposure in the valley and elsewhere, forcing people to seek refuge in medical and non-medical fields,” Ruhan, 26, says.

He wants to end this obsession by guiding creative minds and grooming them with proper mentorship.

“Many students are willing to join and explore new fields like acting, singing, dancing, writing, painting, etc, but lack of parental support makes them paranoid,” he says.

“This is what we’re trying to change.”

During his initial startup days.

Before becoming a guiding light for students—pressurised to pursue certain subjects—Ruhan had rebelled to safeguard his creative pursuit during his school days itself.

After finishing his early education from his hometown Srinagar, he was supposed to sustain his family’s medical background.

“But I chose my own way,” he says.

From the very beginning, he wanted to become a writer, a professional novelist precisely, but couldn’t pursue this career due to lack of opportunities and a proper grooming.

He eventually decided to become an engineer and joined SRM University, Chennai.

“Engineering was a forced vocation for me,” he continues detailing his life history which would eventually compel him to become an inventive interventionist.

“Most of my friends felt the same way. Some were interested in journalism, social media, blogging, art, photography, writing, etc.”

The turning point in his career came when a visiting professor from IIM Bangalore asked him and his classmates to meet him.

“He was the person who suggested us to invest in online portal than offline or print, as online media impacts more people.”

He then opened a magazine which brutally failed. After two years of struggle, he along with his co-workers—Sameer Ramesh, Fatema Hussain, Mohammed Zeeshan—opened MyCaptain in 2015.

Ruhan with his team members

As a SDSN-awarded incubated company, MyCaptain offers workshops from a lot of different sectors such as entrepreneurship, photography, art, sketching, psychology, journalism, doodling, standup comedy, and so on.

For 35 courses, MyCaptain has engaged over 200 educators, who’ve so far mentored 1,50,000 students.

Since most of their students come from vast rural belt of India, Ruhan says, “Our team’s biggest achievement is our ability to fulfil the dreams of those students who do not have a proper guidance and system.”

To hone and harness talent, they even teamed-up with Vir Das, a celebrated comedian, Tanmay Bhat, a Youtuber, and others.

“There’re young experts available in every field who hold sway on masses,” Ruhan says. “We want to engage these influencers to inspire others.”

By touching many lives, MyCaptain recently found a special mention in the category of Education in Forbes 30 under 30 list.

“Forbes’ mention is indeed a shot in our arm,” Ruhan continues. “But honestly, it was not something we aspired for. Our main goal is to mentor and touch more and more lives and inspire others.”

MyCaptain Founders

But as a Kashmiri he feels sad to see “less Kashmiri students” pursuing careers in creative fields — despite being “powerhouses” of talent.

“While we’ve students from everywhere, we’ve almost no students from Kashmir,” Ruhan rues.

“I believe Kashmiris are the epitome of talent and if groomed properly and provided with better facilities, they can excel in every field.”

But the valley’s obsession for the twin subjects, he says, is shielding that talent from shining.

“I wasn’t interested in engineering, and yet I did it and never succeeded in it,” the young educator adds.

“But I’m excelling today, because I’m enjoying what I’m doing. I always wanted to do this, and therefore, I’m living my own dream at the moment.”

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