Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir is changing! A picture in Kupwara is making headlines these days. Kupwara was once under gun rule where the Indian Army was considered the enemy. The name of the area in Kupwara is Kunanposhpora, which was in the news after the incident of alleged gang rape of 22 women in the early 1990s.
But today in the Kunanposhpora area of the Kupwara district, 110 km from Srinagar, Kashmiri women are busy readying their orders for Independence Day. Women in Jammu and Kashmir have received an order for sewing the tricolor (national flag) on a large scale for the army and government offices ahead of August 15.
This change did not come in a day. The army and many NGOs had to work among the people for decades. After many years of service under Operation Sadbhavna, people’s faith in the army increased gradually, and many women-centric activities were initiated. The Tailoring and Embroidery Institute here was started. This center was started on 17 March 2021.
Under the Jan Shikshan Sansthan scheme of the Union Ministry, girls from Kunan-Poshpora area learn work in tailoring and embroidery center built in Babagund village with the support of the army. Jameela, who works here, says that the center is being run with the help of the army. In this center, girls from Kunan-Babakund and its surrounding villages are taught the work of tailoring, cutting, and fashion designing. Jameela Bano, who works as an instructor in the center, says,” the army is serving the country by wearing a uniform. At the same time, we are contributing to increasing the feeling of patriotism by making the tricolor.
About 40 girls are being trained here. Along with training, these girls also prepare dresses. Recently we received the order for masks which we completed successfully. Nowadays, girls sew the tricolor in this center, and it is supplied to the army.” A girl working here said that when we make tricolor here, we feel we too are contributing to the service of our country.
Another young woman, Rukaiya, says that she is learning sewing and embroidery here, which will be of great benefit to her in the future, and she will be able to earn a living from it. She said they made tricolors in such large numbers that, they have not been able to keep track.
The army said that initially, very few girls visited the center. But when they felt that they would learn a new skill, their number increased. Now people want such centers to be started in almost all the villages so that women can become self-reliant.
Dr. Iqbal, Director of Jan Shikshan Sansthan in Kashmir, said that in entire India, there are 240 GSS centers in 240 districts, but there is only one institute in Kashmir which is in Kupwara. Under this, there are about 60 centers in the district, out of which 40 centers are being run in collaboration with the army, where courses like electrician, chef, frontline worker, handicraft, and fashion designing, are being conducted.
There are about six centers associated with this center being run in Kunan village, where only the national flag is made for the army and other government offices.