13 Oct 17/Friday   

“Women football on the rise in Indonesia” , “Indonesian women military paratroopers perform jumps during their army day celebrations”, “Rise of Muslim fashion industry in Indonesia”, “Rise of young women entrepreneurs” all this and much more is attributable to the gen- next of Muslim women in Indonesia. A study by South-East Asia Focus suggests that young, dynamic and devoted South-east Asia’s young Muslim women are more career driven and global than the generation before, and yet, are more Islamic.Young Muslim women in Southeast Asia are coming of age at a time of societal flux. They are more devout than their parents’ generation (as seen by the spread of the hijab), and at the same time more professionally ambitious and more cosmopolitan in outlook.This confluence is playing out across sectors from food to beauty and fashion to banking to technology to travel, and presenting opportunities to many.More than half (58 per cent) of Malaysian women aged 18-39 said a career is important to them, with 80 per cent putting education first, while about one-third of the respondents travel overseas at least once a year.Religion is a major part of their life with 95 per cent saying Islam is very important to them. Vivy Yusof, 29, co-founder of FashionValet,  was recently named in Forbes 2017 “30 under 30 Asia” list in the retail and e-commerce category.  Similarly, Malaysian Muslim women are setting trends in the global music scene like Yuna who is trailblazing in America, Shila Amzah popping into the East Asia music scene and fast-rising indie darling Takahara Suiko of electropop band Venopian Solitude.

But why discuss Indonesian women? Simply because Muslim women in Kashmir are no different and there is a need to take a clue. The present equation is that of a progressive versus regressive mindset. It is interesting to see how indegenous culture in Indonesian archipelago plays its role as a basis of this moderate type of Islamicity.  How education, especially modern social sciences shape up the views of clerics, scholars and intellectuals. There is a need of  framing a simialr moderate-progressive Muslim culture in Kashmir for spreading openness, growth, peace and harmony. Kashmiri women too can break the bubble and make a mark for themselves without hurting religious sentiments. What is required is a change in the thought process, a strong drive, a unification model which would bind all strengths and negate all negativity sprewing to stall  growth of  Kashmiri women in the name of religion.

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