Watapora, a picturesque town nestled in the heart of north Kashmir’s Bandipora district, boasts of producing many distinguished personalities, but one individual stands out with a nickname that encapsulates his creative brilliance – “Newton.”
Mohammad Ismail Mir is a 63-year-old self-taught electrician and engineer, who has been captivating the valley with his remarkable innovations across various fields for over six decades.
Despite being a school dropout, Ismail’s thirst for knowledge and curiosity knew no bounds. He earned the moniker “Newton” from his school teacher due to his keen interest in debating and discussing Newton’s laws. This title became synonymous with his relentless pursuit of understanding the world through the lens of science and creativity.
From the young age of 7, his fascination with electricity and mechanics led him to tinker with electric wires and other gadgets in the attic, left behind by his grandfather – an electrician. His insatiable curiosity drove him to explore and understand how things worked, laying the foundation for his future endeavours.
“At just 8 years old, his relentless spirit prompted him to acquire a magazine titled “Electra,” meant for engineering students. Despite the initial reluctance of the shopkeeper, he secured the publication and diligently studied the diagrams and circuits, experimenting with them at home,” he said.
“As Ismail grew older, his love for books and innovation expanded. To support his education and book purchases, he worked as an electrician and mechanic. His passion for physics and inventing different things at school, however, brought challenges. Some teachers taunted and restricted him from classes, while an instructor at ITI erased all his records, along with that of his Hindu friend, due to annoyance,” he added.

Yet, his determination remained unscathed. In 1983, he developed a brushless motor, a groundbreaking invention at the time, though it didn’t receive significant recognition or support. Some companies exploited his skills, hiring him as an ‘engineer’ but failing to acknowledge his contributions adequately.
“Over the years, his ingenuity knew no bounds. He invented an electric and IR remote in the 1980s when most people around him were oblivious to such technology. In 2010, he created a fully automated digital lantern, further solidifying his reputation as a visionary innovator,” Newton said.
“In 1978, his pioneering radio station with a 3-kilometer range was closed down by security forces, deeming it a security threat. Despite facing setbacks, he persevered, opening his own shop in Bandipora Market while continuing to explore new horizons of innovation,” he added.
When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, Ismail rose to the occasion. Recognizing the need to contribute, he utilized his skills and resources to develop a sanitiser dispenser based on the LDR, a disinfectant tunnel, and a ventilator. He even designed an oxygen concentrator that garnered praise and recognition from different quarters, including an NIT forum in Srinagar.
Currently, Ismail is actively working on multiple projects and has submitted nine innovations to the Science and Technology department. Collaborations with NIT have him involved in three to four ongoing projects. Notably, he also innovated with the traditional Kashmiri Kangri (firepot), creating a multifunctional version that prevents spilling and can also boil water.
Ever generous with his knowledge, Ismail opens his workshop to aspiring innovators, encouraging them to bring their ideas to life. He assures them that their ideas will be protected from plagiarism and theft, an issue he himself has faced in the past.
His extraordinary journey from a curious child in Watapora to a celebrated innovator in Kashmir serves as an inspiration to generations, reminding them that passion, determination, and a thirst for knowledge can spark the flames of brilliance and change lives for the better. (ANI)