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International Women’s Day: Inspiring Stories of Kashmiri Women

International Women’s Day, observed on March 8 every year, is the day to celebrate womanhood. In a society that has always been dominated by males, women struggle to earn the position and the recognition they deserve. Although they face daily challenges brought by a patriarchal society, they have the courage to break unjust rules, take persistent effort, and emerge successful. Throughout history, women have been deprived of even their basic rights and have been compelled to live at the mercy of their male counterparts. They have been declined equal opportunities in education and career and their crucial role in looking after their family has always been neglected. 

However, despite the inequality, some women have created a path for themselves and served as a source of inspiration for many others. Recent times have seen social reforms and in many parts of the world, women are not considered as inferior. As compared to years ago, they have relatively more opportunities to excel in various fields and the future for women empowerment holds promise. On account of the International Women’s Day 2022, let us take a look at some inspiring stories of Kashmiri women (enlisted in alphabetical order).

Inspirational Stories of Kashmiri Women Achievers

Ateeqa Bano: Born in 1940, native to Spore, this Kashmiri woman worked as state director of libraries and research and after retirement, she set up Meerasa Mahal in Sopore. This institution is a museum of art and history. She is instrumental in preserving the art and culture of Kashmir, as her museum holds many rare manuscripts, coins, history of the evolution of the pheran, pottery, and Kashmiri textile articles. Her work as an educationist and activist for the artistic and cultural heritage of Kashmir is surely inspiring.

Dr. Girija Dhar: Born in Srinagar, she studied medicine from Lucknow and later from the United Kingdom. With her husband, she worked towards improving medical education in Jammu and Kashmir. She worked as the principal at the Government Medical College, Srinagar, was the chairperson of Jammu and Kashmir Public Service Commission and the first chairperson of Jammu and Kashmir Women’s Commission. She and her husband have established many welfare organizations in J&K and brought reforms in medical education in the region.

Nadiya Nighat: Born and raised in a Kashmiri Muslim family in Rambagh near Srinagar, she was fond of football since childhood. In spite of getting hardly any encouragement from people around her, she pursued this sport as a career. She has bagged 10 national and state level awards in football and today, she runs a football academy in her native place.

Nidhi Razdan: She is native to Badgam, Central Kashmir and works as a journalist and anchor on NDTV 24X7. She is the recipient of the Teacher’s Achievement Award for Communication, the Ramnath Goenka Award for Excellence in Journalism and the Jammu and Kashmir State Government Award for Excellence in Journalism. She is known for her skills in anchoring and is an influential news reporter who inspires many.

Raj Begum: Born in the early 20th century in Srinagar, she was ahead of her times since she broke gender stereotypes and took up singing as her career. She was the first female artist to work with DD Kashmir. She serves as an inspiration for many young Kashmiri women who wish to join the music industry.

ACP Dr. Ruveda Salam: She completed her education in medicine and earned an MBBS, after which she passed the UPSC exams with excellent grades. She works as Assistant Commissioner of Police with great sincerity and serves as a source of inspiration for many young girls to take up this noble profession.

Sabbah Haji: This Kashmiri woman always believed that providing children with quality education is instrumental in improving the social setup of the region of Jammu and Kashmir. With the mission to educate children, she works as the director of Haji Public School which is located in the village of Breswana in J&K.

Sami Ara Surury: Native to Sumbal Sonawari, this Kashmiri woman earned her Commercial Pilot License in 1994. She is the first Kashmiri female to hold the license for flying commercial planes. Her family was not supportive of her taking this unconventional career path and she lacked the required financial resources. She started as a cabin crew member, then completed her pilot training from Texas and achieved her dream of being a pilot for commercial flights.

Shamma Jain: She is an Indian IFS Officer and since 2017, she is the Indian Ambassador to Greece. During the Ivorian Civil War in 2011, she had been the Indian Ambassador to Panama and Ivory Coast. After completing her education with flying colours, she joined the Indian Foreign Services in 1983. She acted with exemplary courage when her house was attacked by mercenaries in 2011. Her work continues to inspire many youngsters of Kashmir.

Dr. Sharmeen Mushtaq: Born and raised in Srinagar, she completed her schooling from Raj Bagh and her medical education from Jammu. She had a passion for off-roading. Since childhood, she was fascinated by jeeps and driving. She is the first Kashmiri woman to take part in the snow car rally in Gulmarg and wants to be a source of motivation for other woman to venture this sport. She is also a social activist. She believes that women should break barriers and pursue their dreams.

These Kashmiri women are sure to inspire you to pursue your goals with greater enthusiasm. On this Women’s Day, let’s take a moment to acknowledge the efforts of these Kashmiri women achievers, and many others like them, who have worked to the best of their capacity in their fields and proven to be an example of strength and grit. Here’s to every woman who aims high, overcomes the obstacles in her way, and achieves her goals and dreams.

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