Breaking stereotypes is pretty challenging for a significant part of the youth in Kashmir. Many Kashmiri families are somewhat reluctant to allow their children to pursue offbeat careers. They want them to pursue conventional careers and do jobs that offer financial security and stability. Of course, it isn’t that those families are paranoid. So far, the region’s progress has always kept oscillating. As a result, parents want their children to do something substantial and carve a more secure and brighter future for themselves.
However, the good news is things are changing! The youth that otherwise remained confined to conventional education and traditional jobs for years, is breaking itself free. While many have ventured into singing, some have built their identity as writers and poets. Some, on the other hand, have become YouTube vloggers!
Elsewhere, apart from Kashmir, YouTube vlogging may not be a new concept or something that deserves an exclamation mark. But when it comes to a conventional society like Kashmir, and especially females, vlogging is something that garners attention. Accordingly, Ulfat Rafiq, the ‘Hijabi Vlogger’ from Kashmir forms the center of attraction of this blog. She is creative, ambitious and loves to walk with time, while adhering to the religious norms prescribed for ladies. Let’s explore young Ulfat’s journey and story.
Who is Ulfat Rafiq?
Apparently, Ulfat Rafiq might seem like just another Kashmiri girl. However, she’s one with an exceptional talent, which she brought to the world through vlogging. Ulfat hails from the North Kashmir’s Baramulla district. She has completed a diploma in civil engineering from Kashmir Government Polytechnic College in Srinagar.
How did Ulfat’s Vlogging Journey Begin?
The 19-year-old’s vlogging journey began with posting educational content. Initially, she made some study-related videos. After watching them, her teachers and friends suggested she start vlogging.
Accordingly, she started making and posting videos and received a positive response. Her channel reached the 1,000 subscribers mark in only a week’s time. Today, Ulfat has over 20,000 subscribers and 97 videos to her channel named Ulfat Rafiq. All her videos, together, have approximately 2.5 million views!
Ulfat posts three vlogs in a week and earns a decent amount of money through vlogging. While beginning her career as a vlogger, she knew about the competition around. But then, she continued posting useful content that proved helpful for her viewers. And, in almost no time, the young girl achieved fame and recognition.
Did Ulfat’s Family Approve of Her Decision?
Initially, her mother, sister and a few close friends knew about her vlogging. However, when her father came to know about it, he was a bit reluctant about her choice. However, when he saw his daughter being appreciated for her work, he allowed her to continue with it but while remaining within and continuing with societal norms. So, Ulfat always maintains a hijab while creating videos and hence the name and reputation, Hijabi Vlogger!
Struggle For Peace
Struggle For Peace is another channel that Ulfat runs. She has eight girls assisting her for this production unit. The group has arranged many programs under this banner. It includes Come Back Once Again, Run For Women, and Drug De-addiction.
Come Back Once Again was an initiative that covered students from government schools in the far-off areas. It aimed to provide the students of such schools a stage to showcase their talent and an opportunity to express themselves. Run For Women was an initiative, wherein Ulfat explained women empowerment in terms of Islam.
Recognition as a Vlogger
Uniqueness, when coupled with consistent efforts in the right direction, always gets noticed. That’s precisely what happened with Ulfat. Her work got noticed and she received the Young Leadership Award 2021 by Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha at SKICC, Srinagar. Additionally, she bagged the fastest growing YouTuber award, awarded to her by IAS officer Shahid Iqbal Choudhary.
Uplifting the Valley’s Image
While respecting everyone else’s content, Ulfat believes that other content creators from the valley must also focus more on promoting the positive aspects of Kashmir and its culture. Besides, she is against copying content and emphasizes promoting the valley in a good light to help tourists feel safe. She considers vloggers responsible people, as they are the ones who are representing Kashmir to the outside world.
Ulfat Rafiq – Setting Examples
Ulfat is undoubtedly an inspiration and a success story for many aspiring vloggers from Kashmir. She is an example in many respects. First, she’s been courageous enough to start vlogging, despite being a lady. Second, she achieved fame and recognition through excellent and helpful content. Third, she continues to do all of it while adhering to societal norms and by always wearing a hijab. Hence, there’s a lot to learn from the young Ulfat, who might inspire many from the valley to earn themselves name and identity as vloggers.