“Each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it possibly, without claiming it, She stands ups for all women” -Maya Angelou
They say when women support each other, incredible things happen. And one such incredible thing just happened in our land of paradise; Dr. Mubeena Ramzan became the first Kashmiri women to feature among world’s 500 most influential Muslims. The above quote is absolutely true for her; she gave life to the quoted words.
Dr. Mubeena Ramzan created history and is truly inspiring for all the women in Kashmir. She was born in Sopore in district Baramulla and did her initial schooling from Islamia High School, Baramulla. There, she was taught Islamiyat, Arabic and Hindi which helped her to broaden her thought process. She also has a Bachelor’s degree in Islamic Studies and after that she completed my B.Ed, Masters degree and Research from University of Kashmir (KU). As a scholar, her research on Kashmiri Society and its social evils made her realise she must do something to mitigate the crisis. And that’s when the idea of quitting lectureship came up. She then started Jamia Islamia Mahdul Muslimat under the aegis of Mahdul Muslimat Educational Trust in 2002. She has come a long way from a rented building in Sopore to purchase a land and built a proper girls-only seminary-cum-skill school.
She is a firm believer of ‘Empowered women empower women’ and real empowerment comes from imparting education and skills. This is the main objective she wanted to inculcating education with Islamic integration and imparting skills among women which will boost their confidence to face different realities of life. She had realised that women need to be aware why education is important and how it can help them to remove injustice and inequalities. Empowerment acts as a powerful tool especially for women to break the barriers that are made by the society. And the school that she has started is the perfect place to make it happen. Besides the teaching of religious text the school imparts worldly education too. In 2013, Dr. Muneeba called a meet of women from different walks of the life where they all decided to have some welfare initiatives and after a year in March 2014 “Ansar-un-Nissa” formed. This welfare body aimed to help the needy, would-be brides, widows, orphans, etc. This is one of the most remarkable work she has ever done.
The road to success is not a bed of roses, there are many challenges that she faced. She was opposed by so-called Moulvis for starting girls only style institute called Madrassa as it was destroying their ego that how a female can run a Madrassa. But all thanks to efforts now their perception has changed.
She has left no stone unturned to have a balanced approach where woman and man both would take care of their roles and responsibilities. We salute this lady for her outstanding contribution for our valley and inspiring all the young girls and women of Kashmir.
Over a period of time, women and girls in our beautiful Jammu and Kashmir have been able to witness and experience the joy of playing in a team or achieving a personal best in sports. Women like Ankita Raina and Afshan Ashiq have proved that their background, however troublesome, is in the past is not a hindrance for their future. And young girls like Tajammul Islam have proved that no matter the age, gender or background- sports are a medium of empowerment for everyone. Women and girlsa like them have made females performing in sports a common sight. Their achievements give us a chance to celebrate the rising number of females players in all the sports.
Meet and Greet Jabeena Akhter- Kashmir’s first female Wushu Champion
Let us all celebrate the achievements of Kashmir’s first female Wushu Champion, JABEENA AKHTER. Though, Jabeena grew up in an environment which restrains girls from dreaming big but the fierce player knew no boundaries. She is a bronze medallist in the Wushu International Championship, held in Armenia last year (2017) making her the first Kashmiri woman champion in this form of martial art. Jabeena’s preferred martial art form is popularly known as Chinese Kungfu and is a full contact sport.
Inspiration for a career in Wushu
Jabeena began her career with playing cricket but chose Wushu as her profession. Why?
She says that she plays cricket because she loves it, and on the other hand, after taking inspiration from wrestler Geeta Phogat, she found a driving passion towards Wushu. For Jabeena, Wushu is a game of power, strength and flexibility, and most precisely, a way to make one (especially girls) safe.
She started playing in 2007 and made her way through the state, national and then to the international level competitions.
Jabeena as a coach
Akhter hails from a small village Qazipora at Tangmarg district of Baramulla and is the General Secretary of Wushu Association in Baramulla district. She’d set up this academy with the idea to make girls strong and give them a safer environment. Jabeena loves serving as a coach to a game she is highly passionate about. Her initiative has introduced the benefits of the game to girls. It has improved the number of girl participants in Wushu which was comparatively low earlier. At her Wushu Academy, girls train in a strengthening environment which was a big challenge at other sports academies of Jammu and Kashmir.
However, the biggest challenge as a coach is to overcome social barriers and financial crunches. She confesses to have not been able to participate in Hong Kong in 2017 due to financial issues. But it did not break her. She says that her priority is not only to succeed but also so to depart as much knowledge about the game as she can.
Jabeena is currently working hard for the International Wushu Championship next year, slated to be held in China later in November. We at New Age Kashmir wish her all the luck and hope that the state will look into the financial matters of her academy which will ultimately help her perform well in her personal performances. We are proud of her valour to face the odds and inspire more girls to take up wushu as a career. Jabeena Akhter is the personification of empowerment for the girls of Jammu and Kashmir and a big reason of pride for the country. Kudos to her!