It is a well known quote “Behind every successful man there is a woman”, I strongly believe in this fact as my ideal is a woman, my mother who is behind the success of hundreds of people. Today I was doing an interview of her for a community magazine coming soon. I would like to share a summary of her interview as I think it may be interesting for most of us.
My mother, Miss Manzoor Fatima, belongs to a very educated and religious family of a remote village of District Rawalakot, Azad Kashmir (Pakistani administered Kashmir). My nana was a well known religious scholar who completed his education from India; my Nani was also a great spiritual personality. Both of them are like saints for the people in our town as they taught people how to live and die as a Muslim. I have very little memories of my Nana, only thing I still remember is that he had a large pocket sewn at the inner side of the sherwani where he used to keep sweets for children, whenever any children met him he would have asked “what is your father’s name?” and would ask him/her to recite the first kalama or bismillah. After that he would distribute some sweats or biscuits to the child and kiss him on forehead. The only thing he believed in was love, the love for humanity.
My mother’s family was from Deobandi sect, but none of them was fundamentalist or rigid like most of the religious people these days are. My mother completed religious education at very early. She had a dream to get formal education. My nana allowed my Khalas and my mother to study at boy’s school till 5th grade as there was no girl’s school at that time. It means, she had to say good bye to the education after 5th grade. But she did not loose heart and continued to study privately with the help of family members and teachers of boy’s school most of who were from other areas and used to stay at my nana’s grand house until the week end. After early education she started teaching girls and boys at my Nana’s house as she always dreamt to. That was the start; soon with the help of my grandfather she was able to persuade the government that there was a dire need for a girl’s school. The school was established and a new era for the girls of our village was started. It was a great achievement for woman of an area where the only purpose of women was thought to be looking after animals and giving proper meal to men. Soon women started giving response and slowly and gradually they showed more interest in education, it was a start of a new era.
Then she move to the adjacent village and gathered the girls and started teaching them instead of sticking to a government job at home village. People back home were very critical of her for going and teaching in other village (where people from other cast lived) but she did not paid heed because she had the full support of my grandfather. After a hard work of almost 8 years, she was able to establish a government funded school there with the help of the people who helped her very much. Later she moved back to native village where she started teaching as a government teacher. Two of the schools established due to her efforts are now high schools and one of them an intermediate college where hundred of girls are getting education.
Most of her children in those days her were infants, so she had to take care of us too. She used to take us school with her, therefore at the same time she had to work as housewife, a mother and a teacher. People who know the village life may find it impossible as how she managed to go to another village daily and teaching the children without any compensation, while three of her infants were also with her but she made it possible. She had to perform her duty in heavy rains of July, thunderstorms of April and heavy snowfall of January and February. The only thing which kept her stuck to the mission was her passion and dream to educate the poor women of village.
At home she had to look after her house as she had got a separate house after 5 years of marriage. She had to get us ready, prepare a meal for us, and take care of my beloved cow. She was so much passionate about her mission that she never took care of herself even in very critical days of her life; the result was the Rheumatoid Arthritis (a disease of joints which paralyze the patient). Infected with this disease in late 80’s she was down to knees in early 90’s.