Women in Kashmir
SHE HAS A ROLE TO PLAY AND SHE MUST BE GIVEN HER SPACE, WRITES WASIM ALI
Kashmir has been central to political discourses in India. The impact on women due to the ongoing conflict in the State has received little or no attention. There are no precise estimates, official or non-official, of the number of women widowed during turmoil. The two decades of conflict has deeply affected the living standard of women, their breathing surroundings, strength, eating habits, their work, workplaces, income resources, their access to education and so on. It is the women of Kashmir who have felt the impact most severely. Yet there is very little done for the betterment and upliftment of women in the State. The change at global level couldn't benefit women of Kashmir due to the continuous conflict and bloodshed.
Upto 1990, women in Kashmir chose to stay inside their homes, and remain confined to their traditions, culture and heritage. It was only in the early 1990s the bitterness and the anger which caused due to the atrocities faced by the people of Kashmir due to the bloody conflict between India and Pakistan and brought the women out into the streets. The Darpora village of Kupwara district is commonly known as the village of half-widows, due to the ongoing turmoil the village suffered the most all these years. How many lost their husbands. It's a tale of sorrow.
Women are considered to be more sensitive and stronger than men. Women are also sympathetic towards male gender. If a girl child sees the male members of her family being victimized, she feels more about it than her male counterpart. Similarly, a woman feels strongly about any perceived atrocities committed against her community.
For Kashmiri women – mothers, wives, sisters and daughters – negotiating space for their men folk has become a way of life. Whether it is taking up the issue of missing sons and husbands or it is the procession taken against any type of atrocities occurred due to the militants or armed forces a story every single house in Kashmir must be familiar with. During the early years of the militancy when it was more of a popular uprising, women were often seen at the forefront of the mass protests and agitations, challenging the Indian forces on the streets of Srinagar and established several important organizations. The setting up of the Association of the Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) is an important initiative on the part of women towards bringing peace in Kashmir.
The role of women is not confined only during the turmoil but the history itself speaks a lot for the role played by them in J&K, if Kashmir is the soil of saints like Sheikh Noor-ud-Din Noorani it is the same place where, Lala Ded and Habba Khatoon proved their credibility, their poetry and sayings give enthusiasm of living to every generation and also became role model for every women in the State.
Right now women can play a significant role in the peace process. We must not underrate there contribution in all spheres and create a space for them in political decision making as well.
(Wasim Ali is Computer Professional, Directorate of Quality Assurance, University of Kashmir, Srinagar. Feedback at email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Lastupdate on : Mon, 22 Mar 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 22 Mar 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 23 Mar 2010 00:00:00 IST
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