The firebrand from Kolkata

Image source: The Better India

This awesome news comes to us from Kolkata, India.

Shahina Javed hails from Rajabazar in Kolkata and is a brave woman who leads an extraordinary life. She is a women’s activist who does not pull her punches when she is fighting for equal rights for women. Shahina Javed has nerves of steel, something not immediately apparent from her friendly demeanor.

Early on in life, this feisty woman refused to wear a hijab, something that the traditional Muslim community did not take kindly to. She did not stop there; she dedicated herself to setting up an all women soccer team and also supported victims of domestic violence. Naturally her attitude was not taken kindly in the Rajabazar locality where she lives. She has been threatened quite a few times and in addition her office has also been ransacked. These acts only serve to make her more determined in fighting for what she believes to be right.

Shahina recounts that she was a teenager when she happened across a woman who was being beaten brutally by her husband. She was enraged and very angry at the act and was amazed that nobody in her locality did anything to stop the rampaging husband. Shahina intervened and took the bleeding woman to a hospital and advised her to lodge a complaint against her husband. But the woman was too scared and feared that she and her 3 children would starve if she did anything, the husband got away scot free. This was the incident that changed the tracks of Shahina and ever since, she decided to work for the cause of women empowerment.

Shahina was born to a father who makes paper bags and a homemaker mother. She has been a fighter right from the beginning, and today, the Calcutta University graduate heads a support group named Roshni to lead women of her locality from darkness to the light. She has her hands full, having stopped child marriages and organized an all women soccer team, the latter earning her the wrath of the neighborhood. She started with 5 girls and now has 35 on her team, a distinct winner despite all the obstacles and harassment that she initially faced. Even daughters of clerics play football, after she convinced them to allow it. Conservative elements of the society do not take too kindly to her efforts and there have been many attempts to foil the project. But Shahina stuck it out with guts and gumption, and her pet project persevered.

Shahina Javed is a crusader for equal rights for women and is highly active in the Rajabazar area. Her actions have made her the enemy of some but there is awe inspiring love and affection from the people she has helped. She has had a tough journey and her experiences have served to make her a fiercely determined woman. Despite many stiff hurdles, she promises to work on the path of gender equality and women’s empowerment for the betterment of society at large.

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