Empowering Women of Tomorrow – Through Your Own Struggles

Updated: Dec 30, 2019

By Sparkian Meenakshi Raina

Contributing Author for Spark Igniting Minds

On my way to the venue where I was going to deliver my first ever speech, I was trying to calm down my nervousness but at the same time I was recollecting the thoughts which I wanted to share in my presentation.


The auspicious day of Krishna Janmashtami of 2019 i.e. 24th of Aug. 2019 became more promising for me as I conquered one of my fears; the fear of public speaking. Among the three speakers, I was one of the speaker, who had to share her journey to empower womanhood. Probably, this story would be an eye opener and a source of inspiration for generations to come, is what I was thinking in my mind while remembering my entire journey.


The moment we reached the venue, my anxiety level rose like anything and I consciously remembered my Guru and prayed for his guidance and presence during my speech. I warmly greeted everyone and got into my seat. Some members were still awaited to come, so we were served tea and snacks till they came. We started interacting with each other by the time everyone arrived. Finally, the session began at 5 pm, when Mr. Santosh Ji briefed about the program and invited the first speaker Sulekha Chandra on the stage. She narrated the historic essence of Kashmir and connected its relevance with the mythological facts. She then explained her journey of hardships which she has witnessed in her early years of childhood. Her journey was highly emotional yet full of learnings. After her marvelous presentation, Santosh Ji called me on stage. Initially, I was a little nervous but somehow I managed and I greeted everyone and expressed my gratitude to Bhakre Sir for giving us an opportunity to speak about our life experiences.


I started my speech with when I was just nine years old and was living in my native place, Kashmir long ago in 1989-90. I narrated one of my childhood incident when Rubia, one of my neighborhood friend, called me at her place to play with her. After seeking permission from my Mom, I went to Rubia’s home and we started playing a game in which I was supposed to repeat the words which Rubia would be saying. Immediately after we finished the game, Rubia was overwhelmed with joy when she declared that I have become a Muslim girl. On enquiring, Rubia told me that whatever I had just said during our play was nothing but the verses of their Quran and whosoever utter these verses becomes Muslim. Listening to her statement, I started crying and went to my home. Seeing me crying, my Mom wiped my tears, hugged me and pampered me and then asked me the reason for crying. I disclosed the entire episode to my Mom and then she assured me that I am still what I was and nothing or nobody can change my originality. Next day I wanted to play with Rubia but I restricted myself remembering the recent episode of becoming a Muslim girl.


Another episode of my childhood, which I described in my speech, was when my schooling was stopped because of the wrong teachings in our school. In my school, both Hindu and Muslim community Teachers and Students were there and because of which our community students and teachers were badly harassed by the Muslim community. Muslim Teachers were discriminating not only Hindu students but also Hindu Teachers as well. These were the days, when we used to witness rallies of Muslim groups in white shrouds, shouting slogans of “We want freedom with Hindu women but without Hindu Men”. Because of the prevailing situations around us, our childhood became a dreadful dream.


Continuing my speech, I unfolded one heart wrenching episode because of which we were left with no choice but to leave our homeland forever. One fine day, our next door neighbor (Late Sh. Poshkar Nath Ji) was sitting in our courtyard, discussing some relevant issue with my grandparents, uncles and my father. My brother and I were playing around and the same uncle called me and asked me to get a glass of water. I went inside and got him a glass of water and then he hugged and cuddled me and then their discussion continued.


In the same evening, we were having our dinner at around 9pm and all of a sudden, we heard three shots of fire after which my Mom immediately switched-off the entire lights of the house and asked us not to make any noise. Our hands were wrapped with food as we have just started our dinner. All my family members were peeping through window panes to know where this incident has happened. Within half an hour, army forces approached and took the entire village under their protection. Before that we came to know that the same uncle, whom I have served the glass of water during the day, was shot dead by some miscreants. This incident shook our entire family to the core but somehow they managed their strength and went to Uncle’s house. Before leaving, my Mom instructed me and my brother, no matter what, don’t open the door until we come back. All throughout the night, my brother and I were locked inside in a dark room all alone with so much terror in our innocent hearts. Next morning, my Mom came to ensure that we are safe. After few hours, Uncle’s body was cremated under Army’s supervision.


Under these terrific moments, the village head approached my family and entire Hindu families and asked them that if this incident has happened with this person, this can now happen with you all. He declared that as a village head, I am advising you all (Hindus) to leave and safeguard your lives. He assured that he will be arranging our transportation. This was the moment when my entire family was crying in pain and was perplexed that whether they should safeguard their lives and leave or stay back and get killed. Finally, everyone in our neighborhood took a firm decision that it’s better to safeguard our lives. I heard everyone saying that by the grace of Almighty, we will come back very soon once the situation gets controlled. Meanwhile, the village head arranged few trucks and we (Hindu families of our vicinity) were asked to travel in them. All we could carry with us was a pair of clothes and some eatables as we were not supposed to give an impression that we were leaving. Within hours, we left for an unknown destination without even knowing that this is going to be our permanent exile from our homeland. This was the first time when all of us were travelling through trucks.


On the way, I saw an extreme fear and pain on everyone’s face around me till we reach a point called Nagrota in Jammu territory, where the driver asked us to get down because numerous Kashmiri Hindu families were already sheltered over there. We stayed on road for almost couple of hours till the army men approached and accommodated us in tents and also provided us some immediate commodities to survive.


Ours was a family of ten members and how we would be living in a single tent was a real challenge because just before couple of hours, we were living in a house where each one of us was having our individual room. Each Kashmiri Hindi family faced the same challenge for so many years because of the fact that our community became refugees in our own country. Every now and then, we were hearing the deaths of our fellow community people due to sun strokes, insect and snake bites as our tents were laid down in open grounds covered with shrubs.


Our rich lifestyle turned into a life where we used to seek help from government for our daily survival. As a matter of fact, the then governor of J&K, Hon’ble Jagmohan granted a monthly relief and ration to each Kashmiri Hindu family but unfortunately it was not sanctioned to government employees and their respective families. My father too was a Central government employee and hence our family was deprived of this aid from government. I remember the struggles of my father to work day-in and day-out for our survival, however, our grandparents and uncles supported my father till he got a clerical job in some private organization in Jammu.


This was not the end of our struggles, the local residents of Jammu didn’t accept us for so many years, as a result of which, our community was being humiliated and harassed by them. On the other hand, our schooling was severely affected because local school authorities didn’t allow us to study with local students and we were asked to attend schools in the afternoon sessions, when it was unbearable for us to go to school in scorching heat. Our struggles continued like this for almost a decade till our parents finally managed to give us a little better life with their damn hard work and optimistic attitude towards life. They used to teach us only one thing to only focus on your studies if we happen to complain about any external stimulus around us. Their only goal was to give us a better life with good education and moral values. They used to share value based stories with us to keep our spirit high but in their hearts there was an untold agony of exile from their homeland and the crisis they were facing.


Over a period of time, I successfully cleared my 12th class and looking at the struggles of my father, I took a decision that I would be continuing my studies through my own hard earned money to at least give him a sigh of relief for my higher education. It was not an easy decision to get approved in my family but somehow I took the responsibility that I won’t disappoint them in any way. I joined B.Com. as a correspondent student in Jammu University and simultaneously joined a full time job which used to fetch me an amount through which I was not only bearing my education expenses but also supported my parents.


As promised I was a degree holder exactly after three years of joining my graduation. I wanted to go for higher studies so I joined one year PG Course, immediately after completion of my B.Com, again through correspondence and successfully accomplished it through my own hard earned money, which gave my parents extreme happiness and a sense of pride. I remember, I was not wasting my time between the examinations till the declaration of results. I used to utilize this phase in learning new skills like typing, shorthand and computer courses and was giving tuitions at tutorials.


Coming back to my presentation, I then connected the essence of Article 370 with a real incident that happened in my own family. It was then when my parents wanted to buy a piece of land after almost two decades of our migration. As this piece of land was affordable to my parents so they didn’t want to lose this deal at any cost but there was an obstacle because of which tension aroused in our family. The obstacle was a special document which was required to purchase the land. Before the abrogation of article 370, to buy land or to get state government job or to claim any state government benefit; you need to have this document on your name, which authenticates your domicile in the state and this document was called State Subject.


Fortunately, I and my elder sister have somehow managed to get it on the basis of our Uncle’s State Subject. Therefore, after a fruitful discussion, my parents decided to buy the land on my name because my elder sister was going to marry in a year’s time. Soon after we purchased the land on my name, I insisted my father to get his State Subject issued from state government so that I can transfer the land on his name; which happened after couple of years later. Continuing my speech, I expressed my happiness over the Abrogation of Article 370 because of these hurdles faced by the residents of J&K.


Adding to my speech, I disclosed my personal life incident. Almost after six years of completion of my PG, I went into a joint venture with a person who happen to my best friend since my graduation days. My parents advised me to think before going ahead with him into this venture. I was having complete faith on him and hence I assured my parents that he is the right person I can go ahead. We finally got into this venture in 2008 and worked very hard to achieve the set targets together. Over a period of time, we shared happiest moments and enjoyed our success together. But sometimes, destiny has some other things to offer.


It was year 2012, when I lost my greatest strength, my mother and because of which I couldn’t focus much on my venture. On the other hand, in the same year, our venture rewarded us a priceless reward after having faced plenty of hurdles and struggles to get it. For almost one year, we were celebrating and cherishing this invaluable reward but at the same time I was noticing some unexpected behavior of my partner. His attitude towards me and the venture was unacceptable but still I was hopeful that it will work out. In 2015, I took a break from the venture because of the conflicts that happened in between us and which left me into depression.


Fortunately, I happen to come into contact with videos of BK Sister Shivani on YouTube, which gradually helped me to heal my depression. After getting back my strength, I went back into our joint venture in 2017 and put my heart and soul once again into it. As my partner’s intentions were not promising so he created a hell out of our venture as a result of which I finally chose to dissolve it. Although, I could have got my share of profits and our mutual rewards but out of his atrocity, he turned the entire venture and its rewards on his own name and I was left with nothing.


This incident again shattered me completely but this time I was under the protection shield of BK Sister Shivani’s videos so I bounced back immediately. After couple of months, I knocked the door of court to get the justice and fought my case, which continued for almost one year. Because of his distorted witness, I badly lost my case and couldn’t get back my deserving rights. I got completely shattered the day I heard the judgement against me and I hit the entire frustration on my hairs by getting a short haircut. Though, I straightaway went to my office after that but still I was feeling suffocated so I called my best friend in Mumbai and cried my heart out. She listened to my entire stuff and then tried her best to heal my pain with her affirmative conversation.


After I spoke to her, I reflected upon my recent episode and compared it with my parent’s pain and their losses which they had long back in 1990 and realized that if my parents can start over once again then why can’t I? Therefore, I wiped my tears and promised myself that I will strive hard and will become the best version of myself.


Hence, I focused on my self-development by reading and listening to Spiritual, Motivational stuff and also got the profound knowledge of ‘Bhagwad Geeta’ and ‘Autobiography of a Yogi’. Everything comes at the most appropriate time and that is how the profound knowledge came to me through different channels. I started putting down my thoughts into words and joined the national writing platform called Spark Igniting Minds with the help of my best friend.


Through the Divine blessings, I inscribed nineteen articles on different genres in just couple of months and over a period of time; my articles got published in five different books, which got launched by the eminent personalities of India like Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and Dr. Kiran Bedi.


Through my hard work and imbibed knowledge, I became a person, who now knows her vision, mission and purpose of life. I moved to Mumbai in Jan. 2019, when it was the launch of my three co-authored books. With the support of my best friend, I stayed back in Mumbai and started the next chapter of my life with new horizons.


I am now working on a selfless mission to spread awareness among people though my Facebook page Power of Spirituality, where I share my original quotes and blogs. While concluding my presentation, I spoke about the learning which I learnt through my personal struggles and hardships.


No matter how hard life seems to be and no matter what life throws at you, it is you and only you who can make all the difference by taking the charge of your life and create a life you want to live.


The following sayings perfectly correlate with my above statement –

“God helps those who help themselves” and “Success comes to those who dare and act”


The audience was deeply touched by my story and applauded for my unbeatable spirit.


Hare Krishna!!!


About Meenakshi Raina

Ms. Meenakshi Raina

Meenakshi is a Financial and Administrative Professional, Passionate Writer, Blogger, Co-Author, Reviewer, and Spiritual Practitioner.


She writes on the different genres to bring a change in society.


For more information, visit Meenakshi Raina on her facebook page @

https://www.facebook.com/POSbyMeenakshiRaina/

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