Trying to be a voice which is heard by all.

File photo

18th November 2014

To register their stories young girls in the valley are taking up their pens so that world will hear them. 

The girls in Kashmir have taken up new ways and means to carve a niche for themselves -- in this men’s world which they are brought up in and are continuously surrounded by.

Valley, where everyone lives under the cloud of fear since decades, young girls are pursuing different means to survive in this part of the world.

Reporting, journalism, camerawork, writing and news gathering – which were synonymous with men few years back – is now equally a domain of females.

By the introduction of different courses of journalism in valley the girls are getting a path to express themselves. 

Shunning the age old career choices girls are experimenting with their careers – journalism – being one of them. 

The decades of turmoil in Kashmir has a significant role to play in shaping the career of young girls. 

Riffat Rathore, 20, has four year experience in the field and is currently reporting for a National daily -The Tribune. She had many prospective career choices before her but she opted for this stream for it gave her something she needed always.

They say they take up the work during their studies only so that they would gain hands on experience in the field. 

Riahana Maqbool -- works for another daily, Kashmir Images, -- holds a masters degree in journalism and is working since her college and university days only.

Riffat says: “Conflict has been the biggest inspiration and motivation. Yes, the oppression we have faced is my driving force.”

There are two colleges and three universities in the valley which offer courses in journalism and every year the participation of girls increase tremendously.

The decades of turmoil in Kashmir has a significant role to play in shaping the career of young girls. 

They opine that there writing gives them a vent to express what living through conflict means. 

Riffat says: “Conflict has been the biggest inspiration and motivation. Yes, the oppression we have faced is my driving force.”

Many people desire to be in a position that can really make a change and we as journalists have the opportunity to do that.”

And for some their zeal and vigor to do something different, drew them into the field. 

Riahana, who has a two year experience in the field, has tried her hand at radio broadcasting, editing, reporting, and videography.

Presently working at the Kashmir Images, she calls her interest in this sector to be a drift for joining journalism.

“The most motivating factor to become a journalist was my passion for it and another reason being my altruistic nature. Many people desire to be in a position that can really make a change and we as journalists have the opportunity to do that.”

Living in the far off land, Sumreen Amin, eyed the same dream of becoming a journalist.

It wasn’t easy for her to make it from South Kashmir’s Islamabad district to Srinagar -- but braving all odds she is living her dream today.

“I remember vividly when I talked to someone about adopting journalism as a career and the instant reaction was very disparaging.”

After completing her Master’s from Kashmir University she opted for reporting in a local daily Rising Kashmir and worked there for a year.

“My experience in the field journalism is a mixture of both excitement and displeasure. But it is the passion in this area which kept me glued to it”.

In her career Sumreen says, she has learned a lot, “Journalism taught me to be courageous and bold. It trained me to be ready and vigilant always.”

Though journalism in Kashmir is still a male dominated field but these young journalists talk about mixed experiences.

“My course of career has been smooth and as such there have been no hurdles throughout my four year long work,” Riffat adds.

But Riahana had faced her share of problems, “I remember vividly when I talked to someone about adopting journalism as a career and the instant reaction was very disparaging.”

“It came as a shock because its sad how people these days choose jobs based on the number of digits their salary will entail. Trust me there are a number of people who are misinformed and for me journalism is way more than a mean of making a living, it’s about informing the misinformed” Riahana emphasizes

Sumreen, on the other hand believes that, some ethical dilemmas and lack of proper laws make job of reporters a bit though, “since there are no laws in journalism, the biggest hurdle for me is the ethical dilemma, to do or not to do?”

These young girls who are in their prime age are trying to understand the narrative of the valley and are becoming an active participant in its documentation.

And as some scholar put it, “it’s a good trend and is much needed so that a voice, which is usually shadowed in a male dominating society, is heard.”

 

 

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