By Khan Ansur
Women are very weak. They cannot sustain any hardship; very far any calamity has parity in this case. They just are weak beings. Their confidence crumbles easily and quickly. Like some orthodox men, I, some years ago used to profess the same baseless theories about women, and was unintentionally finding myself having some chips of hegemony. But with the time and after going through some exemplary stories, the intensity of the aforementioned ideology found its way to extinction and gradually I began to accept the reality engraved under the corners of biases and judgments. I turned very inquisitive in finding a strong and pure antidote to those biases and baseless judgments. And, it helped me in providing many great stories and examples paving way to emancipate the vulnerable groups like women, children, youth and so on. In the search of such stories and with the aim to break the stereotypical mentality establishing fields in my mind, I used to travel in order to seek and live with the unexplored truth.
In the last week of July 2017, I, along with my other team members, went to Nowgam, (some 2-3 kilometers from Sumbal area of Bandipora District) to do a story, interesting and beautiful in every sense. Therefore in the search of such story I found a widow namely Khadija who not only was exemplary, but also an important theme for the whole world (especially women).
Khadija, in her early 40s is living with her three children; two daughters and one son. She is a resident of Shah Mohalla, Nowgam , District Bandipora. She became a widow in the year 2006 when her husband succumbed to his grave injuries after when he was manhandled by some notorious people living in a nearby locality. Were they punished or not? Khadija is unaware of any legal procedure and aid.
Afterwards Khadija received no compensation, neither by local charity committee/organization nor by the State Government. All she got was some help from her relatives and unflinching support from her family. The irreparable loss she was living with since 2006, added to her miseries in the year 2014, that’s the flood 2014 by which she lost her house causing many problems mainly of her and her children’s sustenance. In the first go, she did feel helpless and hapless, but she gained back her strength and confidence to fight with the fate. In the same manner as in post 2006, family and relatives came forward again so as to help Khadija in her resilience.
Post 2014 many NGOs and INGOs helped the 2014 flood victims in terms of providing them basic requirements so as to live a normal life. Khadija, while appreciating post 2014 intervention of those NGOs and INGOs said, they were the first one after Almighty to react and to move us from death to life, otherwise we were bright sure of our end. Those NGOs and INGOs helped us in many ways; as in resuming our normal life again and coping with the trauma left with 2014 flood. But the intervention was a speedy, that’s, it was an emergency intervention. In simpler words, it wasn’t sustainable for us but it gave us life which we owe to those NGOs and INGOs.
Fighting with the fate of 2006 tragedy and 2014 flood, Khadija never found herself bereft of confidence. She fought with full valour and strength giving defeat to her weaknesses and threats, and leaving a message that there’s nothing impossible, if one’s willpower is strong.
Koshish, a local NGO of Jammu and Kashmir, in following one of their goals; social empowerment of women and children came up with a livelihood project in the flood hit area-Nowgam. Koshish started its intervention with the collection of Base Line Data (BLD) by the help of two to three resource persons from the same area. Koshish, after getting the details of the area and women affected by the flood, came up with the Rights Based Approach aimed to observe sustainability in their intervention. The Koshish team came up with the livelihood project in 2016 April focussing on social and economic empowerment of women. The team provided provisional shops, stationery shops, cattles, tailoring machines, etc. in consideration of beneficiary’s potential. The project remained very successful but after three months, it got a long break of at least nine (9) months because of 2016 Civil Uprising.
On 22nd March, 2017, Khadija was provided a provisional shop so that she could eke out her livelihood. While talking to Khadija about the shop, she said, it is as if I’ve found a way, a weapon to fight with my hardships. Now I’m able to pay tuition fee of my children. Not only that, now I’m able to think about my children’s future. Koshish has come to me with a crop which will yield my future with beautiful results.
Khadija fought bravely and promised her conscience that she’ll leave no stone unturned in providing good education to her children. And she remained vigil along with her will power in paving way to her map of fighting with constant hardships. She continuously remained reticent towards the issues and challenges she faced throughout this journey, and with the time she proved the mettle of her resilience in an unforgettable way. Khadija is purely an exemplary personality for those who quickly lose their confidence in harsh situations.
The author is an Independent Researcher and an aspiring Social Worker. He can be reached at: Khanansurfeb2011@gmail.com