Women entrepreneurs break barriers in Kashmir

Rifat Massodi-Kashmir woman Photograph:( WION )

WION Jammu and Kashmir Nov 16, 2018, 03.09 PM (IST) Ieshan Bashir Wani

In the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, shutdowns and curfews often bring life and business to a standstill. Setting up a new business sector could be disastrous but there is a generation of women who are breaking barriers and establishing their own business. 

Mufti Sadia started her business when there were no women in the clothing sector of Kashmir. Her boutique was among the first in Srinagar after she decided to opt out of her job and work independently in the valley. 

Facing many hurdles and challenges, Sadia started her own brand called 'Hangers, the closet' in 2014 at a shopping mall. She says that since then she has never looked back despite negative comments from a certain section. 

"My father wasn't sure about what I was doing because I was just 24-year-old back then but now he also supports me in what I am doing," says Sadia while attending a customer.

Her family has been a source of inspiration for Sadia and has always helped her to cope up with difficulties. It was because of the family's support that the new and female entrepreneur emerged successful in the volatile state. Hangers is now a known band in Kashmir. 

Sadia draws most of her customers online through Instagram and Facebook. Most of her designs give a western touch to the Kashmiri traditional wear. Starting from zero, she has now hired a salesgirl among eleven others.

Mufti Sadia

"The response is good so far, I get negative comments on social media even by women but I think the negative comments given to me have helped me grow from a better person to a better designer," Sadia says.

While Saida has inspired many girls to set up their own clothing range, there is another woman in the old city of Srinagar, who saved her family from an impending bankruptcy. 

Rifat Massodi, a mother of two bravely took up the task of establishing a manufacturing unit in the volatile area of Srinagar.

Soon after the death of her father-in-law, the family was thinking to close down the bat manufacturing unit located in one of the most volatile areas of Srinagar. 

Braving all odds, Rifat convinced her husband, a football coach, to let her run the factory which employed many local workers. Despite the social backlash, she took the up the challenge in the year 2000. 

Rifat Massodi.

Every morning after sending her kids to school, she steps into this small unit near her house to oversee the work. Today, Rifat's bat unit produces thousands of baths per month which are transported to many states including Maharashtra and Kerala.

"It is difficult to manage everything, in the morning I do my work at home, then I come to this unit. Later, when the kids come at 4 PM, I go to see them. I also take care of my mother-in-law," says Rifat.

In recent times, many Kashmiri women have bravely turned into successful entrepreneurs in the conservative society. Many of them are now bravely chasing their own dreams. 

Rifat now wishes to see her bat in the hands of international and national players. These women entrepreneurs have become an inspiration for many in the state with more coming into the business sector. 

Story highlights

In recent times, many Kashmiri women have bravely turned into successful entrepreneurs in the conservative society. Many of them are now bravely chasing their own dreams.