Srinagar: On International Women’s Day on Sunday, a female entrepreneur from Kashmir, in a face to face chat with PM Narendra Modi, told the country’s premier that the 2019 internet ban had destroyed her project of reviving the dying Kashmiri handicrafts.
Arifa Jan, who was conferred Nari Shakti Puraskar 2019 by President Ram Nath Kovind on Sunday, was also among the seven women who shared their journeys on PM Narendra Modi’s social media account in the #SheInspiresUs campaign.
While speaking to PM Modi about her project of reviving dying Namda (Kashmiri rug) art, Arifa bluntly told the PM that her project and work were “destroyed” by the internet ban imposed by the Centre in J&K in August last year.
The ban lasts even now although low-speed mobile internet and broadband services have been restored only recently.
“I was able to bring together around 75 women (engaged in Pashmina, embroidery and Namda projects) but when the internet was banned last year, everything was destroyed,” she said addressing PM Narendra Modi who was flanked with Union Minister Smriti Irani and other VIPs.
To this, PM Modi smiled and commented that everything was “back on track again”.
Arifa replied with “Insha Allah” (God willing).
“This is a very good opportunity to meet you and President saab. It is great to be here because grassroots entrepreneurs hardly get any appreciation,” she said.
On PM’s Twitter account, Arifa said that she always “dreamt of reviving the traditional crafts of Kashmir because this is a means to empower local women.”
She started working on reviving Namda craft after seeing the condition of the women artisans in Kashmir.
“I saw the condition of women artisans and so I began working to revise Namda craft,” she tweeted.
Arifa termed Prime Minister Modi’s #SheInspiresUs campaign an initiative that will motivate her to work harder for the betterment of craft as well as the artisans all over the Valley.
“This gesture by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has boosted my morale and it’ll help me to work harder for the betterment of craft as well as the artisans all over Kashmir. I feel it is important for more women to focus on becoming self-reliant and help other women. #SheInspiresUs.”
Her first business activity was participating in an exhibition of handmade items in New Delhi.
“This exhibit attracted a good clientele and a turnover,” she said.
The Prime Minister had announced that on women’s day this year, he will give away his social media accounts to women whose life and work inspires people to help them ignite motivation in millions