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Status Of Muslim Women In Kashmir

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In the present world Muslim women are facing a no of challnges twin challenges one of modernity and second empowerment, so the question of Muslim women is concerned not only with the principles of ‘womanhood’ in Islam, but also on social constructs of women surrounded by political divergence also. In Kashmir, the term ‘Muslim women’ demands and brings to mind a amalgamated set of meanings; in Kashmir women are in relationship with Islam in diverse ways. On one hand they have always been an important part of the conflict against occupation and militarism. In this process of struggle they have used Islam in two diverse ways, ensuing in two different political positions – Islamist and Islamic feminism. In Kashmir there are women with a Muslim community identity, who may or may not be practicing Muslims when they interfere in political action. Yet, though their sources of struggle are multiple, they are almost invariably cast in religious/cultural terms, forgetting that in all these cases, women are both challenging the Indian state/occupation as well as the patriarchy of militarism alongside that of the community.

Hence, like women elsewhere they have continually been refashioning gender identity within the community and within the politics of resistance, but in more culturally appropriate ways. The fundamental reason for Kashmiri women’s somewhat better position and status as compared to Muslim women in the rest of India is the educational elevation . Free female education drive at the time of Sheikh Abdullah’s influx on the political scene has been one of the basic and very important reasons that women could freely and with much ease enter public space. However, it is also obvious that Kashmiri women remained bleak in politics, women’s participation in political activities of the state was dismal. This claiming of public space in the 1940-50s by women was, however, full of challenges. The anti-tradition drive rested on an attempt to Indianize” Kashmiri women. Despite the fact that, education – both content and pedagogy – remain an area of contestation, it nevertheless helped Kashmiri women to expand their sphere and horizon. Not only on the educational side but also at the political level, women took part and joined ranks with the National Conference and started singing the songs of change. Much should be credited to the revolutionary enthusiasm that drew on the anti-Dogra rule

movement and terminated in the 1960s in the Plebiscite Front objection movement. It saw women roar with the Sheikh’s statements and struggle. Women of Kashmir were excluded from intellectual activities, reverting to the role of network, support and organization of the community’s social, economic and larger political renovation when the armed struggle assumed center stage in Kashmir’s politics. In 1980’s the early civil women’s organizations in Islamabad and Srinagar such as the Women’s Welfare Association (W.W.A) raised the problem of dishonesty in political parties, not only this the National Conference, on the other hand also voiced concern over issues, such as dowry that was directly concerned with women of Kashmir. These women demanded and claimed freedom from dishonesty and corruption, political discrimination and suppression of women. Yet, some associations and organizations often raised questions concerning women’s ‘problems’ in order to bring change in political conditions supporting the movement for betterment of both men and women. Women’s Welfare Association was a very comprehensive women’s organization comprising both Hindus and Muslims but unfortunately it could not go long and was dissolved soon. Afterwards, some members of WWA formed a new organization called Muslim Khwateen Markaz (MKM), a moderate support group to the movement. MKM

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in its early stage worked and served as a very crucial nursing arm for the raped and wounded women of Kashmir. In India majority of the Muslim women are the most marginalized and underprivileged section of the society. After six decades of Independence of our Country both the Muslim women of India and Kashmir are least educated and knowledgeable, economically and politically backward and marginalized sections of society. In our country the position and status of Muslim women are inferior and low grade probably due to the restrictions placed in their role and also confined their role to mother and wife only. Moreover the status of Muslim women are slaves of rules, laws and restrictions that are directed by existing notions of Islam and it becomes more difficult for Muslim women to break away from the chains of religion and tradition.

The status of women is closely related with their economic position which in turn depends upon rights, roles and chances for participation in economic activities. Thus the status of Muslim women can be witnessed by comprising the following aspects; Total control over economic production, the power to influence on household decision makings particularly about their own life, the degree and extent of property rights they enjoy, sexual autonomy, public esteem, public authority and rewarded employment. The problem of the status of Muslim women of Kashmir by and large relates to the equality between men and women there .Muslim women of Kashmir and of India have always been deprived of equality of position, status and opportunities in the social and economic spheres that affects their status badly and that is also a reason for their low status in the Country. On the status of Muslim women in India three distinct opinions have emerged regarding this.

One group says Islam and Islamic laws have nothing to do with the status of Muslim women. According to this opinion status of Muslim women are like the status of other caste women in India. The main reason that acts as a barrier for their better status is poverty and adverse illiteracy. As per second opinion Islam enforces various boundaries and restrictions on its women and provides better status to men by concentrating more powers to men than Muslim Women. Third group is of opinion that both the genders i.e., men and women are treated uniformly, but unfortunately the Islamic leaders and Religious Scholars are misapprehending the Islamic Laws and are making themselves more powerful than the women in India. Usually, in both India and Kashmir Muslim women play a four-folded they are, first her role as a housewife (homemaker), second her role as a daughter, third as a wife, and finally as a mother. The Muslim woman of Kashmir, whose status and role customarily was well defined and almost fixed in the society, is now understanding and experiencing far-reaching changes.

Muslim women of Kashmir are now entering and flowing into certain new fields that were unknown to her in her spheres of life. Muslim Women of Kashmir are actively participating in social, economic, and political activities. In Kashmir the present generation o f Muslim women are now moving forward to receive better and higher education than the Muslim women of their earlier generation. And also various positive changes can be seen in the attitude of the families towards their education and for raising and attaining economic status both in the family and in the society.

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Status Of Muslim Women In Kashmir. (2022, February 21). Edubirdie. Retrieved January 28, 2023, from
“Status Of Muslim Women In Kashmir.” Edubirdie, 21 Feb. 2022,
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