Women empowerment, upliftment my key goals: Ritu Singh

Rajat Vohra. Updated: 6/21/2021 12:13:31 PM People and Interviews

The daughter-in -law of the erstwhile royal family of J&K, Kunwarani Ritu Singh’s main endeavour is empowerment and upliftment of women in J&K. As the chairperson, FICCI FLO’s Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh chapter Singh is aiming to reach out to as many woman folks in the rural areas of J&K as possible so that they get opportunity to start their small their own venture.

1 Please walk us through what Kunwarani Ritu Singh has been doing?
I have been trying to take forward the legacy of our family, working for women. For generations, the royal family has been working for the welfare of women of Jammu and Kashmir and it was natural for me to take up the responsibility. Therefore, I with the support of my husband, Maharaj Kumar Ajatshatru Singh and the family, established a number of organisations and trusts for the empowerment of women.
We have also worked towards enriching the education quality in J&K and hence we have been running one of the best schools of Jammu and Kashmir-- Delhi Public School. Recently, I have become the chairperson of FICCI FLO’s Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh chapter. FICCI FLO being the lady division of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FICCI) which is the apex body of Industries and Commerce in India.
2 Do you believe that women in J&K have been more powerful than rest of the country, especially in light of our history and the laws made by Maharaja Hari Singh related to girl children and women?
I think our ancestors have done so much for women safety and women and empowerment in the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, be it eradicating the ‘Dowry Pratha’ from our society or giving rights to the women unheard of in any part of the country. A number of our trusts are working round the clock to create awareness among women in both rural and urban areas so that they get to know their rights and their duties other than just house works. Our trust has taken many such initiatives to help women or single mothers like financial aid, sponsorship of education and food, etc.
3 You are now heading the FICCI FLO’s J&K, and Ladakh chapter. What is your vision as the chairperson?
Being the founding chairperson of FICCI FLO’s J&K and Ladakh chapter I have many jobs to do. I am amazed with the fantastic response of women entrepreneurs of J&K for FICCI FLO, which shows that they not only possess the will, but also the vision to explore new areas so that they can grow individually along with enterprise as well. As the chairperson, I am trying to reach out to as many ladies in the rural areas of J&K as possible so that they get the opportunities to start their small enterprises. This will not only help them financially but also strengthen their position in the houses. We are planning to start some skill-based courses to teach women in urban and rural areas so that they can earn their livelihood. I think financial independence is one of the important things that can empower women, especially in rural areas.
Besides this, I want to make some social groups of women where all the ladies and experts can learn from each other. We know that women in rural areas have many skills like cooking traditional food, stitching traditional clothes, they have the knowledge of folk dance, music, etc. and these skills can be used to help them earn as well by staying at their home and getting attached to their culture as well.
4 Do you think there is a need for a bigger discussion on the problems being faced by women, especially in a society like ours?
I think we must talk and discuss the problems women are facing, so that we can work on those problems. Of course, women have got a lot what they must have, but we cannot escape the fact that women have faced and are still facing many other problems. For instance, we have laws against dowry system in India but we have seen there are hundreds of cases where women are being victimised by this dowry system. Therefore, in my view, by ignoring such issues, we are just covering it. There is need to mobilise greater discussions, which enables us to recognise those issues to address it properly.
5 Do you think, as an educator, you are better placed to make lasting, impactful efforts to shape the future of the society?
My prime objective of starting a school was to teach students the basics of life, as it is in school that a child gets to know about life skills and ethical values. In our school we have started an initiative where we ask every child to bring a plant with him/her and give a name to it, which brings a sense of responsibility to a child, he/she cares for the plant and make every possible effort to grow it. Through this small initiative, we have seen major changes in the behaviour of children; they started realising that how much effort they need to put in to grow something like their parents do to grow them. So that is one instance, where we have been able to make a difference and obviously that would reflect in the society to today and tomorrow.
Besides this, we also try to coordinate with the parents how their children are behaving at home, what kind of activities they are doing etc so that proper grooming of children shall be done.
Apart from that through FICCI FLO, I am planning to reach out to far-flung areas of Jammu and Kashmir so that the aspirations of women of those areas shall also be met.

Updated On 6/21/2021 12:41:25 PM

Comment on this Story