Reserved and a little laid-back
“I was born and brought up in Sopore, 50 kilometers from Srinagar, the capital of Kashmir. I am reserved, a little laid-back and an abstract thinker.”
Ronaq Zahoor, the latest addition to the Women Talk Online team, talks about her life in Kashmir, the conflict, the dangers and her love for writing.
In the early 1990s, when armed insurgency was at its peak in Kashmir, I started going to school. Life was difficult. My childhood memories consist of disturbing images of weeping mothers, people running to save their lives, orphaned children and young women waiting for their husbands who had disappeared.
When it was time to choose a profession, nobody approved of journalism. Medicine, engineering and teaching were considered the best. Journalism is not preferred in Kashmir, because there are many dangers attached to this profession. Many journalists have lost their lives over the years in this conflict-ridden area, but I chose to study journalism because I love writing.
I used to write for school magazines and participate in essay-writing competitions. I tried my luck in short story writing and even at poetry. I thought journalism was the only profession that would match my love for writing. I never looked at it as the means of earning a livelihood in the future and I didn’t care much about the possible dangers.
I completed masters in journalism from the Media Education Research Centre at the University of Kashmir. While studying I worked part-time with a local newspaper. That was the time I realized that journalism is not an easy job. I was asked to report, collect information from various sources, go to different places, interview people and file a story. It was all very difficult for me.
The major problem was that I had to work till late hours. Working late for women is not acceptable in our society. While going back home after work in the evening, I would notice men staring at me, which made me feel very uncomfortable. Eventually, I had to stop working.
After I completed my masters I did an internshipwith Radio Kashmir in Srinagar. Working in radio was not difficult. I conducted programs for the youth and I did not have to work very late. I started freelance writing too and enrolled myself as a research scholar at the university.
I am now trying to analyze how the audience in Kashmir perceives reality television. I keep looking for new opportunities to enhance my journalistic skills and this is what has brought me to Deutsche Welle.
Ronaq Zahoor has won a scholarship from the Friedrich Ebert Foundation and will present her experiences and opinions at the Women Talk Online blog. She is in Germany for two months.
Date05.10.2012 | 11:51