Celebrating the spirit of women of Kashmiri origin:2015

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Part 3 of 5


In our continued efforts to celebrate month of March 2015 as a tribute to the Women of Kashmiri Origin & to celebrate their spirit of purpose, in our 3rd part of the series of five, we present six Kashmiri women, who in their quest for a career, not just listen to their heart, but also were able to get their parents to support them – contrary to what they wanted for their daughters. They are charming and evolved, they are down to earth and focused. They are like birds, flying, but are rooted well with their land, their origin- Kashmir.

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Alina Shah, Hotel Management, Switzerland

Born in Srinagar, Alina grew up in not so conserative atmosphere which is quite prevlant in Kashmir. She was one of the very few fortunate persons who was exposed to multicultural society which offered her an opportunity where there was much wider range of career possibilities then she would have got if her family would have stayed in the Valley. Dubai City was magic for her as far as cultural mix is concerned. She is of the opinion that Dubai gave an opportunitty to see and understand similarities and differences between various cultures. “The biggest advantage for me have been my parents, who have been very supportive and encouraging”, she says. This has resulted in much confident Alina who says that there is much to learn from the individuals also than only from what is being taught in the school. Currently, she is persuing Hotel Management in Switzerland. Besides, her course she likes to travel to understand the cluture and traditions of a new place, this gives her a high in terms of enriched knowledge. For the women of Kashmir she says, : It all begins & ends in your mind. What you give power to, has power over you, if only you allow it. Don’t give up. If possible, remember all the people you have to prove wrong.”

Renu Fotedar,  Transpersonal Counsellor, Switzerland

Renu has come a long way since she moved away from Kashmir of 1990s. After trying her hand at ventures, which turned out be successful, she could not avoid what was destined for her. With Kashmiris already on a high dose of spirtilusim, it turned out that wearing a cloak of “Transpersonal Counselor” was as easy as it could be. As a young Kashmiri girl, she found her interest in Kashmiri Shaivism and Greek Mythology and frequent visit to Dargaahs & the Church next to Women’s College just a tool of enchancement for her towards what she is doing today. Probably, the only one from her generation who is a qualified transpersonal counselor with a background of psychotherapy, transpersonal psychology, neuro-linguistic program and a executive & life coach.

The important part of her journey has been her ability to cherish the memories of her home,  back in Srinagar. “It is effortless in me. Language, food, literature, mythology, rituals, sense of humor………all of this is embedded in my DNA. In that sense you can call me a real BATIEN, living & working across the continents, yet bringing forward feminine essence of Kashmir where ever I go,” says Renu.


Adiba Amin, PR Professional, New Delhi

It was a battle of professions, Medical verses Media. Both having the social connect. Both having the scope to make it big. While the writing on walls of her study room at home was ‘Doctor Adiba, coming from a business family, media was quite a far-fetched idea for the whole family. She was supposed to be joining the medical college. But as it was, being the daughter of the family, she had her way. “My grand mother used to call me doctor sabhia. But being the daughter, I had my way. My parents let me walk my path, though they wanted me to become a doctor,” she says.

Adiba’s first serious encounter with media started with anchoring for  Doordarshan Srinagar, But that was in the past.

After completing her schooling from Mallinson Girls secondary school, Srinagar, she opted for media over medicine and graduated from Government Degree College, Baramulla in Mass Communication and Multimedia Production. This was followed by masters in Mass communication and Journalism from IIMM, Delhi.

“I still remember the walls of my study room where my name was written with the title of doctor everywhere”. Adiba recalls.

After learning different things in journalism, she chose Public Relations (PR) as her career. Today she specializes in lifestyle industry and is working as Senior Account Executive at Kaizzen Communications.

She has a vision of opening her own PR firm in Kashmir

Sumaksha Moughal, Banker (Punjab National Bank), Delhi

A banker by profession with a degree in Law and a Post Graduate degree in the Human Rights has a very unique hobby – spend time innovatiely with the family. This normally includes karaoke session of American Classics, visiting sports complex or going out for shopping for a movie with the family. The icing on the cake however is , conversing in Kashmiri with her kids and singing Kashmiri folks songs to them. This is besides celebrating all the Kashmiri festivals along with family and friends.

Sumaksha’s first choice was medicine as a career. However, the banking exam given just for fun ended in a job, twenty eight years of no regrets! The job with the Bank (Punjab National Bank), gave her endless amount of exposure in public dealing. This job not only made her financially independent, a stronger and a more confident person, but also taught her how to excel in anger management.

“Kashmiri women have always had and still have the potent to succeed in any and every field they wish to purse. However, given the fact that what has happened during the last couple of years, I am of a very strong view that the Kashmiri youth is the future of Kashmiri community  and they will have to not only preserve the culture but will also have to make sure that ‘Kashmiriyat’ survies, ” she says.


Ayesha Kuttay, Banker (HDFC), Srinagar,Kashmir

In 2013, she became the first Woman to be announced as a ‘Cluster Head’ not only for the  Bank she works for, but in the entire State of Jammu & Kashmir. A sudent of Presentaion Convent, Srinagar till 8th standard, Ayesha did her 12th standard from Queen Mary’s Girl School, Delhi. She graduated in Political Science honours from Hindu College, Delhi before joining the Delhi Law Faculty for couple of months before opting out for Post Graduation Diploma In Management from Amity Business School.

“My parents did not take my decision to quit science subjects for commerce well. The wanted me to become a doctor. But that is very much in the past. Now all are very happy with what I am doing,” says Ayesha.

Ayesha was selected by HDFC Bank in a campus recruitment drive and she was posted at the Bank’s Connaught Place branch. No wonder, she loves Delhi and it feels like her  second home.

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Yasmin Ali,  Travel Industry, Srinagar

A student of Presentation Convent, Srinagar and a Post Graduate (MBA) from Cardiff Business School, United Kingdom is credited with the first Boutique Guest House in the Valley of Kashmir.

After spending a good number of years in UK and Dubai, Yasmin ended up back in India with a job in Airtel in their Human Resources Department. Later she moved over the HDFC Bank as a manager. With over eight years of working experience with her, she could not resist the call of the Valley.

Living in the picturesque land and quaint surroundings it was inevitable for her to imbibe the love for artistic interiors. As a child her love for nature evolved on adventurous trekking trips she took with her family and friends and it did play a role in her decision to go back home. “My love for entertaining and making friends was quite obvious to all who knew me. I realised that while I enjoyed the experience of working in the corporate world my heart was still in Kashmir. So I just took the leap of faith and also I just wanted the world to experience the beauty and warmth of this wonderful land of mine,” she says.

In her decision to enter into the business of travel industry in Kashmir, there was an element of risk. But it did not hamper her for two reasons –  the love for the Vale and the support of her parents.