Sharing Her Journey on PM’s Twitter, Kashmir’s Arifa Asks Women to Be Self-Reliant

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by Tasavur Mushtaq

SRINAGAR: Marking the International Women’s day, a Kashmiri woman Arifa Jan on Sunday was among the seven women achievers who shared their life journey through social media accounts of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Prime Minister Nartendra Modi in a group photograph with seven women who were conferred the Nari Shakti Purskar 2020. On the front row on extreme right is Kashmir’s handicraft entrepreneur, Arifa.

Taking on to the Twitter handle of PM Modi, Arifa emphasized that women should focus on becoming self-reliant and also help other women. Prime Minister Modi’s twitter handle is the most powerful in India and abroad given the huge following of 53.4 million followers.

Having successful journey of reviving Valley’s Namdah handicraft, Arifa was third in line after Chennai based social worker Sneha Mohandoss and bomb- blast survivor Malvika Iyer to tweet from Modi’s Twitter handle.

“This feature by PM@Narendramodi has boosted my morale and it’ll help me to work harder for the betterment of the craft as well the artisans all over Kashmir,” Arifa tweeted. “I feel it is important for women to focus on becoming self-reliant and help other women.” By the time this report was filed, her short less than 2-minute video was watched by moiré than 80 thousand followers of the Prime Minister.

Continuing with the hashtag #sheinspiresus, Arifa in series of tweets said, “When tradition meets modernity, wonders can happen. I experienced this in my work. It is designed to suit the modern-day market.”

“My first business activity was participating in an exhibition of handmade items in New Delhi. This exhibit attracted a good clintele and a turnover. I always dreamt of reviving the traditional crafts of Kashmir because this is means to empower local women. I saw the condition of women artisans and so I began working to revise Namdah craft. I am Arifa from Kashmir and here is my life journey,” she explained her journey.

Acknowledging her contribution towards upliftment of the craft, Arifa on Sunday was also awarded along with other women by President Ram Nath Kovind. She was conferred the Nari Shakti Puraskar 2019 by President Kovind at Rashtrapati Bhawan in Delhi.

An old city resident, Arifa 35, despite various shortcomings, both financial and strategic started her journey almost a decade ago.

Born in an economically modest family Arifa did her schooling from Vishwa Bharti higher secondary institute Rainawari till twelfth standard and later shifted to Government College for women Nawakadal for completing her bachelor’s in commerce stream.

Weaving A Dream

Going against the tide to prove her, she had decided to be a successful businesswoman. Pursuing her dream, she joined a course in Craft Management Entrepreneurship at Craft Development Institute, Srinagar. During her course and later, she made samples of her unique work and worked for the successful project of Revival of Namdah.

Earlier in the day, while extending greetings on Women’s Day, PM Modi tweeted saying, “As I’d said a few days ago, I’m signing off.”

“Through the day, seven women achievers will share their life journeys and perhaps interact with you through my social media accounts,” the prime minister said.

Modi had on March 3, Tuesday, said he will be handing over his accounts on various social media platforms to women who inspire.

“This Women’s day (Match), I will give away my social media accounts to women whose life and work inspire us. This will help them ignite motivation in millions,” he had tweeted.

Earlier the seven women had an interaction with the Prime Minister. It was in this interaction that Arifa bluntly talked about the costs that internet ban imposed on her business.

Arifa told the Prime Minister that there were 28 women working with her Namda project and another 25 with the Pashmina revival project. She said overall 75 people were working with her. However, she asserted that the internet ban in 2019 “destroyed” all this. She actually said: Sara Kharab Hou Gaya. To this, a smiling Prime Minister said: “It will be back on track again”. Arifa responded quickly: “Insha Allah”.

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