After fighting a long battle with separatist violence on one side and patriarchal male-dominated society on the other in the Muslim-majority Valley of Kashmir, the name of 33-year-old Nusrat Jahanara has become one of the successful business women from srinagar.
Starting with the flower business, Nusrat now handles in-house arrangements for some 50 large and small companies.
But it was not so easy to start my work in the midst of a separatist environment and threats.
Although Nusrat wanted to run his own business since childhood, he got a job at the Department of Urban Development in the year 1998.
At the time, separatist violence was on the rise in Indian-administered Kashmir. According to Nusrat, “I started that job reluctantly. I was 19 years old then. I was sent to Jammu and this was the first time I left home.”
Nusrat tried to get her transferred back to Srinagar. She says, “I wasn’t interested in the job, so I left the job in 1999.”
After returning to Srinagar, Nusrat wanted to do his own job, but his family was not ready for it.
The then violent situation in Srinagar was not at all conducive for a girl to enter the business sector.
In addition to separatist violence, the conservative society of Jammu and Kashmir also used to place various restrictions on girls.
Nusrat says, “I started a flower business after persuading my parents to a certain extent, in which flowers were decorated for different ceremonies and this was a new job in Kashmir.”
Recalling his first order, Nusrat says, “My first task was to decorate the stage for then-Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. It was a proud and happy moment for me.”
After this, Nusrat got the job of decorating many high officials’ visits to Srinagar.
He said that for the decoration of these important ceremonies, the government gave him the entrance pass for that place.
,I was considered an IB agent, the extremists began to threaten me and my relatives by phone. My family members were frightened and asked me to stop the work, after which I was able to persuade them with great difficulty.”,
But all this was not so easy, when Nusrat went to those places, he started receiving threats. She says, “After seeing me in such important roles, people started considering me as an IB agent. The extremists started threatening me and my family members over the phone. My family members got scared and asked me to stop.” stop working, after which I was able to persuade him with great difficulty”.
It was a very difficult time for Nusrat, but Nusrat was determined to continue working under any conditions.
Due to parental pressure, Nusrat got married in the year 2005.
Before the marriage, Nusrat’s in-laws asked a lot of questions about her, and after the marriage, Nusrat not only continued working but also increased her business.
When Nusrat started his job in the year 1999, his annual sales amount was 50 lakhs rupees, which has now increased to eight crores rupees.
profit and loss
At first, Nusrat faced a lot of difficulties in convincing people and making them believe.
Many times due to the climate and the environment, economic losses had to be faced. In this bad time, the cleaning work started by him helped him a lot.
Facing every difficulty steadfastly, Nusrat is not only a successful businessman today, but has also employed over 300 people.
According to Nusrat, “I have three challenges ahead of me: keeping my client satisfied, maintaining the quality of my work, and improving my business by surviving in a harsh environment.”
While doing all of this, he also has to find time for his family. Nusrat’s husband is in the police and they have a three-year-old son. He lives with other relatives at his in-laws’ house.
On this journey, Nusrat says, “Those who put obstacles in front of me tried to stop me in the name of religion, society and the violent environment, but I kept faith in myself and kept going. I paid no attention to anyone and all the Difficulties were overcome, people who called me bad praise me today, this is also like a victory for me.
Today, 70-80 girls in Kashmir run their own business and challenge men in a male-dominated society.