We conclude our appreciation of the Women of the Kashmiri Origin. There are many more who deserved to be applauded, but the circumstances the world is undergoing restricted our team’s efforts. We are sure over a period of time, we will be able to feature those women who in their way have made their contributions towards culture of Kashmir.
Omaira & Beenish: The power of two ‘Enterpreneuers’
The two young enthusiastic girls took advantage of digital platform and went on-line with their products like crochet bootees, bags, suits, key chains, rubber bands, wall hangings and bridal sets. Starting a business which is never easy, the aspirations of younger entrepreneurs are often dashed by the lack of savings, limited access to financial resources, and the lack of information and social connection.
But not in case of Omaira and Beenish who started a Facebook and Instagram pages under the title “Craft World Kashmir” in 2015 and in less than two years were able to create enough for themselves. “We displayed our creative designs of traditional crochet or Koreashia products on our online pages. Of course we had our well-wishers to back us,” said Omaira. The end result, the talented pair started receiving orders from different parts of the country.
“We have received orders from Bangalore, Delhi, Jammu and Mumbai. In just a few months we had a good network of clients. Mind you this is our part-time venture,” adds Beenish.
Post-graduates in Sociology from IGNOU, both of them worked for a private school for some time. Not satisfied by the teaching job, they turned their hobby of “Art and Craft” into a successful venture.
Being a Kashmiri to the core, hospitality comes natural. “We treat our customers with respect and coupled with good products. It all clickes for us,” they say.
Kiran Jailkhani Koul, Singer/Banker Delhi
Her claim to fame was the title song of the serial ‘Gul, Gulshan, Gulfam, a serial telecasted on Doordarshan National in 1987.
A national award winner in classical music, Kiran started very young. She gives all the credit to her mother for her musical journey. Eventually, she got trained under the legendary Pt. Shambu Nath Sopori. She started performing at school and college level before performing on stage and for Radio Kashmir and Doordarshan.
Although she was more inclined to take singing as a career but due to turmoil in Kashmir she could not pursue it further. A post graduate in music and economics she had to take up banking as profession. Although she is a banker by profession she is still an artist at heart and continues to perform on various platforms. “Our society has evolved and now we are open to children taking up various forms of art as their career. We should encourage and appreciate Kashmiri music and other Kashmiri art forms which otherwise will be lost to time. I feel pained when I see that enough is not being done to preserve the Kashmiri folk music like Chakri,” she says.
For Kashmiri youth she has the message that as society we need to follow the path of our Saints and Sufis who coexisted . The examples being the Chakrishewar (Maa Sharika Mandir), Maqdoom Sahib and Gurudwara Chatti Padshahi being in the same premises. She looks forward to the day when the Kashmir will be back to the same divinity what it is known for.
Arifa Jan – Numdah Designer/Manufacturer Kashmir
Numdh, once a famous embroidered rug and a charm in every Kashmiri household has lost its importance over the years. But thanks to the efforts of 28-year-old Arifa Jan from downtown, the famed handicraft is making a comeback with different designs and colours.
After completing her bachelor’s degree in commerce from Kashmir University, Arifa’s friend who had set up a Craft Development Institute (CDI) encouraged her to pursue a two-year Craft Management and Entrepreneurial Leadership program. Due to her dedication and talent, CDI aided her with a grant to finish her course.
“During my two-year training I had made up my mind to start the business in a creative way,” she says.
At the end of the training course, Arifa submitted the project of 50 pieces of multi-coloured traditional Numdhas, which was a stepping stone for her business. “Along with my skills and creativity, I focused on the quality as wells. This clicked, “ she adds.
Arifa’s initative was criticized by many, which included her close family members. But today, she has not only revived the ‘numdhas’ but has been able to facilitate meaningful long term, high impact market based partnerships between the producers in different countries and buyers based on quality and transparency.
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