Three Kashmiri women nominated for Nobel Prize
They have made a difference to many lives in the militancy-torn Valley. Not surprisingly, the three Kashmiri women also find a place among 1000 other women from around the world nominated jointly for this year’s Nobel peace prize.
Social activist Nighat Shafi Pandit, educator Dilfarose Qazi and rights activist Parveena Ahangar, by their selfless service, have shown the world that women can emerge stronger and powerful in societies where violence has become a way of life.
A common quality unites these three women -- their ability to rise above their personal trauma to rally against injustice -- something that prompted the global body ‘1000 Global Women for Peace,’ to nominate them for the international honour.
Pandit and her organisation Help Foundation focusses on educating orphans, rehabilitating widows and promoting peace and harmony in the strife-torn state. Her work among the Kashmir’s rural community is all the more notable as it is done braving physical danger and many other risks.
At present, Help is running an orphanage where some 20 children receive free education, boarding and lodging. It also runs several small schools, where most of the students come from poor families. It also organises free medical camps.
Parveesna Ahangar has been the voice of the ‘disappeared’ -- an euphemism for those allegedly picked up for questioning by security forces but never return -- for over a decade.
As the official website of these peace prize nominees says “48-year-old Ahangar is an extraordinary woman who has risen above personal trauma to rally against injustice. The mother of a son who ‘disappeared,’ she formed the Association of Parents for Disappeared Persons (APDP) to fight this pernicious form of human rights abuse.”
“Thanks to APDP’s efforts, the government has finally acknowledged that more than 3000 people have vanished in custody and has promised to bring this practice to an end,” it says.
Qazi too battles lack of security and harsh weather conditions to help the women and children of Jammu and Kashmir lead normal lives.
Starting small with classes in cutting and tailoring for girls and housewives, Dilafrose now runs an engineering college and several primary schools and vocational training centres.
Till now, nearly 1500 rural women have been trained in garment technology, tilla sozi, carpet weaving, shawl embroidery and computer software by her institute under the Community Development Programme sponsored by the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development.
The college is also offering be degree in civil, mechanical, electronics and communication.
The Kashmiri trio is also joined by 89 other women from India, who have been nominated for the international honour by the organisation supported by the Swiss government, UNIFEM and UNDP.