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Sarwa Akhter: Tale of a Strong Willed Woman
This article of an empowered woman is not an observation of a distant being. I have witnessed this woman the closest. Such inspiring stories of women of substance need to be papped talked and written about!
I would like to celebrate one such story of a woman named Sarwa Akhter. She was born in Meer family. Her father Abdul Gani Meer belonged to Lasjan, Srinagar and eventually moved to Anantnag. Meer had six children; three daughters and three sons. Sarwa Akhter happened to be the third one.
This story dates back to 1960s. When her family figured out that the third one is a girl again, the best way they thought to ease out the burden of her was to get rid of her. Now the question remained how to do it? Elders scratched their think tanks again and came to the best of their idea of poisoning her.
I am sure it must have been a hard decision for her parents; trust me it is even harder for me to fathom that they thought about poisoning her. She was poisoned. Somehow she survived. As she survived her father thought to educate her. Among all her six siblings, it was only her who completed her education.
She was in 11th standard when she got married to the finest soulmate, Ghulam Hassan. She had the strong support of her husband who happened to be a magistrate himself. She got Bachelors’ Degree in Arts and got employed as a teacher. She not only completed her education but by Grace of Almighty got the one of the most noble jobs too.
If she had her bouts of frustrations during her unmarried days as many opposed her education, the same story persisted after her marriage and she had to listen to her in-laws’s unsolicited advices.
However, Sarwa Akhter not only fulfilled her professional commitments beautifully but also commanded lead in carrying all the responsibilities of a daughter-in-law and a wife with an example.
Her father-in-law, Ramzan Dar, was more than a father to her. Akhter always reiterates that it was her father-in-law who encouraged her to excel professionally. He would often say to her that, “You will never still idle after you complete your education.”
She now was an independent woman and fulfilled all her dreams. She was a helping hand to her husband as both were working. Both of them gave best education and best upbringing which others would only dream off to their daughters.
When everything was settling in things again turned ugly. No one was prepared for this. Her husband was diagnosed with 4th stage Carcinnoma. At that point everything was raw. Their two daughters were growing-up. Being a woman, the strong Sarwa Akhter faced it all with open heart. She accompanied her husband to Delhi Appolo Hospital carrying the luggage like a coolie over her head at Delhi Railway Station.
While writing about her childhood, I thought she is the best daughter; while writing about her married life, I thought she is the best daughter-in-law but after writing about her as a wife, I now think she is the best wife. She lived all her characters with utmost sincerity.
One night in the hospital her husband woke her up and had final heart-to-heart talk with her. He said: “Yem Bache Parnaizekh; Yem Banaizekh ne Lakit Mulazim; Safar Chui Khrooth … safar chui khrooth,” (Educate our children and provide them with proper jobs; your journey ahead is difficult …your journey ahead is difficult). With these comments he left for heavenly abode.
She not only fulfilled the promise made to her husband but went ahead and never let her daughters feel lesser in any way against those who had both sets of parents. She has uplifted so many lives.
I would like to end this article leaving with readers few soul stirring questions: Had Sarwa Akhter died of poisoning would we have known how beautifully she turned up this life? Had she not been allowed to complete her education would she have become what she is right now? Had she not got the job what would have happened to her children after her husbands’ heavenly abode? Don’t you guys think it all boils down to the fact how supreme it is to getting a woman empowered.
Author is one of the daughters of Sarwa Akhter