Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah Thursday paid rich tributes to ‘Madar-e-Meherban’ Begum Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah on her 13th Death Anniversary and said that her endeavour for women empowerment and skill development at the time when its significance was in oblivion, speaks louder and clear of her vision for holistic welfare of the society.
“Presently we all talk vehemently on these issues and special focus is on women empowerment and skill development in the Country”, he said and added that Begum Akbar Jahan was the founder of these important initiatives in Jammu and Kashmir.
“She founded Miskeen Bagh Women Welfare and Skills Development Centre more than 30 years back and launched various drives for empowerment of women and development of children particularly belonging to weaker sections of the society”, Omar said and referred to the sincere efforts of Madar-e-Meherban to universalize education and upgradation of skills in women. He also referred to the work done by her for the development of children and downtrodden sections of the society.
Speaking at a function at Madar-e-Meherban Education Institution at Gulab Bagh after offering fateh and laying floral wreath at the grave of Begum Sher-i-Kashmir at Hazratbal, the Chief Minister said that besides the laudable political role, Madar-e-Meherban is known for her stupendous efforts to empower women and help holistic development of children particularly of weaker sections.
“In fact Late Begum Sher-i-Kashmir’s role as a great social worker gets often eclipsed under the political responsibility she had to render in absence of Late Sher-i-Kashmir Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, which is in itself a historic memorabilia”, he said and added that after one studies the life sketch of Madar-e-Meherban one finds that the title of ‘Kind Mother’ given to her by common masses befits her for extra-ordinary social work and generosity extends by her to people in general and to women and children particularly.
Omar Abdullah said that his close association with his grandmother (Begum Sher-i-Kashmir) has in fact exposed him to political arena in his childhood. “I used to be with her in political functions and at public meetings she addressed during her campaigning in the Parliament Election she contested from Anantnag in 1980’s. I am witness to the love and wholehearted support she received from the women, men and children from all sections of the society as their beloved Madar-e-Meherban”, he said.
Omar Abdullah said that Madar-e-Meherban filled Sher-i-Kashmir’s vision of Naya Kashmir with colour by working for universalization of education especially among the girls and weaker sections. He said that her vision for women education and empowerment is being translated in to reality. “One feels hearty when one finds 50 percent enrolment of girls in degree colleges”, he said maintaining that development of women is more significant to develop a robust and developed society.
However, the Chief Minister drew the attention of people towards the alarming report of female foeticide and said that this serious and unfortunate happening in a society like Kashmir where girls and women have always received highest respect and love, looks strange and worrisome. He called upon the civil society to play their important role in reversing this trend.