Despite opposition from the families, a group of Mumbai Muslim housewives who have been saving money to make monthly contributions to the joint fund they have been trying to raise for a visit to their dream destination Kashmir has reached to summer capital of the state Srinagar this week.
According to a report by The Tribune, for the last over six years, the group has been saving money monthly to join the amount for a visit to Kashmir. The dream was realized this week when six of them landed in Srinagar despite opposition from their families. After sightseeing in Srinagar, which included a Shikara ride on the Dal Lake and visit the famous Mughal Gardens, the group on Sunday set out on a visit to the Sonamarg tourist resort.
These women, all in their mid 40s, have set out on the journey without being accompanied by any male member from their conservative Muslim families.
“Six years ago, we made a plan to visit Kashmir. Since it required a lot of money, we started collecting Rs 200 every month from each member to finance our trip,” The Tribune quoted one of the woman Rafika Gandhi from Burhan Pura locality, Mumbai, as saying.
They said when they were leaving for Kashmir, two of the group members Sugra and Fatima developed cold feet after hearing news of disturbance in the Valley, but the rest of them — Rafika, Rukhsana, Aqela, Rihana, Sakina and Sameena — decided to go ahead with their plan, The Tribune reported.
“Today, we visited Sonamarg and tomorrow we are planning to visit Gulmarg where we intend to take a gondola ride,” the report quoted Aqeela, of the group member as saying. “When we were leaving for Kashmir, our families opposed it saying it is not safe to visit the place. But we are here despite their apprehensions,” said Sakina.
They praised their local driver Mushtaq Ahmad, who hails from Chidaar village in Kulgam, where an encounter was under way when he was ferrying the group to Sonamarg.
When the women were having lunch at Kangan market along the Srinagar-Sonamarg highway, Mushtaq got a call from his family informing him about the situation in his village. But he kept his composure and decided not to bother his guests with the news. “This is a part of our lives now. These tourists are here to enjoy and it is my duty to take them to their next destination safely,” he said, reported The Tribune.