Let’s Raise a Cup of Kahwah to These Incredible Kashmiri Women

Kashmiri women

To the morally strong, mentally empowered, kind, naturally compassionate, empathetic, happy in their skin and to those women specially who don’t find men as the reference to validate their position but consider them as a important aspect that is equally important in their own special way for successful society. Hence, treating them too with their share of respect. Raising a toast to you. Three cheers. Happy Women’s Day ( Lines by Annie Bhat).

10 Things that Make Kashmiri Women Special

Here’s to the women who made a huge impact, despite the gender-based hurdles they were born with in a place like Kashmir.

1. Queen Dida – the first Kashmir queen

Queen Dida also sometimes called Catherine of Kashmir was ruler of Kashmir from 958 A.D. to 1003 A.D.  Her rule represents the peak of women’s power in Kashmir.  She has got two series of coins at her credit, one issued with her husband’s name bearing the legend `Di-Kshemagupta’’ and other by her own name as `Didda.  

2. Queen Koti Rani

Kota Rani was the last Hindu ruler of Kashmir ruling until 1339. She is credited to have constructed a canal that saved Srinagar city from frequent floods, and called the canal as ‘Kute Kol’. 

3. Lal Ded

Lalleshwari aka Lal Ded  is attributed as being the creator of the mystic poetry of Kashmir (Vakh), her verses are the earliest compositions of the Kashmiri language.  Her work is  regarded as the most important part of Kashmiri literature.

4. Habba Khatoon 
Habba Khatoon (1554–1609) the greatest Kashmiri poetess of the sixteenth century, has been a source of many imaginative narratives, poems, plays, films, discursive essays and television serials. Habba Khatoon introduced lol to Kashmiri poetry, lol is more or less equivalent to the English ‘lyric’. It conveys one brief thought. It is full of melody and love.
An underpass in Mughalpura, Lahore has been named after Habba Khatoon in her honour.
Do you have any Kashmiri lyrics? Submit them to Gyawun here 
5. Raj Begum
Raj Begum (1927-2016) was one of the first Female Kashmiri musicians. She has greatly contributed in this field. She was awarded the Padma Shri in the year 2002
raj begum
6. Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit
A Kashmiri-Brahmin and sister of JawaharLal Nehru, VijayLakshmi was an Indian diplomat and politician who was the first women to hold a cabinet post in the pre-independent India. She was also the first female President of the United Nation General Assembly.

vijay lakshmi

7. Begum Akbar Jehan Abdullah
She was a politician and the wife of Sheikh Abdullah. She was elected as Member of Parliament three times. She served as the first President of Jammu and Kashmir Red Cross Society, President of All India Women’s Conference and Family Welfare Association of India. She is popularly known as “Madr-e-Meherbaan” because of her generosity.
begum akbar jahan
8. Shameema Azad
Winner of Kalpana Chawla award, Padam Shree & highest musical award of Kashmir, Shair-e-Kashmir Mehjoor, Shameema has been singing for the past over three decades and has made her mark in the field of singing.
shameema dev azad
Listen to Shameema’s songs here 
9. Parveena Ahangar

Popularly known as the “Iron Lady Of Kashmir”, she’s a symbol of strength, pacifism and human-right activism. She’s the Founder and Chairperson of Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons. She was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in the year 2005.
parveena ahangar
10. Dr Gazalla Amin
A doctor who followed her passion of setting up a business and founded the Women’s Association for Kashmiri Entrepreneurs (WAKE). She became the first woman-member of the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries (KCCI) and runs a successful business dealing with essential oils.
Gazala amin
11.  Mehmeet Syed
Mehmeet is a well-known name in the valley in the field of music. She took Kashmiri songs to the next level by performing our traditional music in countries like the USA, Australia and UAE. She renewed Kashmiri music by giving it a positive and fresh change. She was nominated for Padma Shri award and has been honoured by several prestigious awards. Along-with her musical achievements, she also shines at the academic level and has pursued 3 Masters degrees.
mehmeet syed
Listen to Mehmeet’s songs here 
12.  Dr Ruveda Salam
Being a doctor is many people’s dream, but this diligent lady’s dream was way ahead of everyone else’s. Ruveda Salam hailing from Kupwara, became the first female IPS officer from Kashmir who cleared the coveted UPSC examination in her very first attempt. She also represented India in the G20 summit held in Australia.
Ruveda Salam
13. Farah Pandith
She’s an educationist and academician who is the first ever special representative to Muslim Communities for the USA. She joined the Harvard University Institute of Politics in the year 2014.
farah pandith
14. Nyla Ali Khan
Being the grand-daughter of Sheikh Abdullah, she did not depend on the influence of her family and paved the way of success by her own hard-work. She’s the first Kashmiri woman to be nominated and accepted as a member of the Advisory Council for Oklahoma Commission on The Status Of Women. She’s a published and renowned author.
nyla ali khan
15. Hameedah Nayeem
She is a founder member of Women Waging Peace, a Harvard University initiative. She is the author of Rhythms of Life: The Early Fiction of Margaret Drabble and Demystifying Ideology: Identity, Gender and Politics in Kashmir. She has also published several research papers in national and international journals and books.
hameeda nayeem
16. Shazia Bashir
Hailing from Achbal Anantnag, she is a  renowned Kashmiri singer. In 2016 she was nominated for Bismillah Khan Award by ‘Sangeet Natak Academy’.
shazia bashir gyawun
Check out our Art website here
17. Tajamul Islam
Eight-year-old Tajamul Islam scripted history at the World Kickboxing Championship in Italy, by winning Gold in the under-8 category.
tajamul islam
Article by Nabeena Nabi Alikadli & Manan Mushtaq Hakak
Other interesting articles you might like to read about Kashmiri women
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