Rabiya Bashir | Journalist | Srinagar

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It is always a task to identify that ‘one person’ who can be invited for this column. More so, when the portal is being relaunched after a gap of nearly three years. We decided to restart the portal with our annual series ‘Celebrating the Spirit of Women of Kashmiri Origin 2020’. The first person we identified was kept out of it, just for one reason. She became instrumental in closing our links in Kashmir. She became responsible for identifying Kashmiri women for our special annual series. Rabiya Bashir, The Chery Tree’s  ‘Women Friday’.

Rabiya is a working journalist, with over seven years of experience behind her. She is fond of jazz music besides reading and writing. Currently, based out of Srinagar, she is working for a News Channel.

Excerpts from an interaction with Meenakshi Kachroo.

Kashmir is one place where discrimination between gender has been missing. More so, when we talk about education and work. How do you stand in this aspect?

Well, I seem to have over done on this count. I am a Bachelor in Science and a diploma holder in DOEACC. Also I studied B.Ed from the University of Kashmir followed by Master’s in Mass Communications and Journalism from the same University. I studied print journalism, television production, news reporting, editing, broadcast journalism (both radio & TV) and photography.

Now on the work front. I have over seven years of work experience in print and digital media. The versatility in my work experience ranges from reporting, anchoring, copy editing and research and analysis. It would not be wrong to say that I have covered most of the aspects of journalism.

Which all organizations have you worked with?

The list is long. On the national level I have worked for Asian News International (ANI) and CNN-IBN. When we talk of regional publications or media houses, I have worked for Srinagar-based ‘Rising Kashmir’ and ‘Kashmir Monitor’. I have also done work for Radio Kashmir Srinagar and Doordarshan, Kashmir. Currently I am involved with a New-Delhi based portal.

Let us talk about your school and college and how were you while growing up?

You are taking me back in time. The memories of school and college days remain etched forever in my heart. In fact, cherishing those warm memories always rejuvenates me. I have done my schooling from Caset Experimental School, Karanagar and Vishwa Bharti.

In school, our group was quite mischievous, always playing pranks on people. As I was good dancing and acting, I participated in dance competitions. Acting skills used to get me appreciations and chocolates from my teachers when I used to mimic actors. I used to mimic a popular film actress Prema Shalini (Archana Puran Singh) and her effeminate husband Dilruba (Rakesh Bedi). Those were wonderful days.

It is always the family which sets the rules and lays down the direction to a very large extent. In other words, the direct and indirect influence of the family is always there. How has your family influenced you?

I belong to a business family. My forefathers were quite successful in the trade they were in. Over time, things have changed. Thanks to the bless of Almighty that we are a close knit family and I have all the possible support from them.

When I was graduating with Science and wanted to opt for journalism, some people were of the opinion journalism was risky and only meant for boys. My parents stood by me encouraged me pick a course in journalism over MSC courses in Food and Technology and Zoology.

As we move in life, there are moments which when we look back, can be categorised as a low or high points. What have been yours, would you like to share with us?

Despite many odds, of late gender discrimination, patriarchy and some disappointments, my faith has never wavered. I handled all the challenges and achieved my goal of  becoming an active journalist. It was my passion, which I have achieved. This has been the high points of my career. But that does not mean that my quest is over, there are many more mile stones to cross.

I am of the belief that hardships tend to shape people’s lives, and it’s our duty as human beings to give them significance and to make lucid for what we have come into this world for.

It is normal that one is influenced by someone and starts idolizing him or her. Anyone you look up to in your life? Someone you get inspired by.

Yes you are right. There is always one person you tend to idolize or look up to. For me it has always been my mother who taught me to be strong and have courage to face any obstacle of life with a firm belief. She is the pillar in my life. Whatever I am today, it’s because of her.

Family is also responsible to keep the culture in the next generation alive. What do you have to say on this front?

You are absolutely right. Yes as in any Kashmiri family the traditions are passed to the next generation. Likewise, I am no different. I on my part as a journalist I have been writing on our culture and traditions a lot.

What is your take on the true Kashmiri culture? How is it different from the early late 1980s, when various communities co-existed in the Valley of Kashmir?

I have heard beautiful tales of early 1970’s and 80’s from my parents and grandfather when different communities were living together in harmony. It was a wonderful era for them.  My grandfather had many pandit friends. As a matter of fact, I have been told that whenever there used to be a function, a separate Waaza (cook) used to be hired to make food for the pandits. Also, I have heard a lot about their role in the education sphere of Kashmir. I hope history repeats itself.