How Nargis Majid fought with the structure of criticism


 

Women play a major role in all spheres of today’s world, be it science, literature, business, or arts. The subject I’m writing about may therefore seem as commonplace. But having grown up in a conservative society, the idea of “supporting/ encouraging/ endorsing” women always appealed to me and I sincerely believe that there is always scope for “redefining a concept”.

Let us then begin to think of it in a specific way, to give it a new meaning. Gender discrimination, though in many societies now a thing disapproved of, continues to exist. For decades women have been increasingly contributing to every dimension of life, or any sphere of knowledge and culture, from flying a supersonic jet to discovering life saving drugs, but what we see in many cases is their valuable efforts being underplayed or undervalued.

For quite some time, Kashmir has witnessed the same. Many women here have created their own niche, more and more women are taking up professional careers, or bringing bread to the table by creating opportunities of their own, than ever before. However, dancing – which has long been a career-defining art form – in the conservative society of Kashmir is still considered as something that only men can make a living through. It has been common for a woman to be refused participation in events that include dance, on the grounds that it isn’t considered respectable. But a new woman has begun to emerge in Kashmir, a woman upon whom the future depends.

“People still can’t differentiate between dance as career versus dance as art, in the society I live,” says Nargis Majid, a young dancer from Srinagar.

Nargis is truly an empowered woman who has fought all odds to reach where she is now. “No one had even thought about the possibility of mine, being a woman, achieving heights in this form of art,” Nargis adds. Where only male dancers were able to perform, she is creating a niche for herself. She is setting an example for the women of Kashmir to pursue their passion and do justice to their artistic merit.

“As a female dancer, my performances have been considerably limited because of the conservative thinking that exists in our society. However, I have been able to find endorsement. Life experiences have taught me that I have to make sure that I prove all the people who discourage me, wrong. I already have, within myself, all that is needed in order to succeed,” Nargis says.

Nargis now is beginning to make inroads in prominent talent hunt shows and has already given performances at important cultural events both in and outside Srinagar, including her debut performance on the famous stage of Tagore Hall, Srinagar.

So, redefining the “usually talked about” issue, I would like to say that no matter what odd situation you find yourself in, never stop believing in yourself and maintaining your self-esteem. Stand form, be bold, seek and ye shall find.

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