‘Have Courage and there is No Stopping’

on 3rd June, 2016

At 19, Jaasindah Mir from North Kashmir’s Baramulla district has the distinction of being the youngest female novelist of the Valley. The Varmul Post brings you the excerpts of the emailed conversation.

Q. Tell us something about yourself?

I’m a twenty one year old who has grown up in Baramulla and lives in Srinagar with her family. I am pursuing my graduation in English Literature and Psychology. It’s not difficult to guess that I’m a huge lover of books. My first book, The Escaped Moments- a young adult fiction- hit the stands in January last year. I own a personal blog, a book blog and often review books.

Q. Where from the idea of writing a novel came to your mind?

I’d been at a weeklong residential creative writing workshop in 2009 which was organized by INTACH- J&K. At the end of the workshop we were given a project- we had to write something that exploited as many of the skills that we had grabbed in the workshop as we could and had to submit it by the end of the month. While everybody planned on poems and short stories, I thought to have a novel written as the project.

Q. What were the impediments you faced while writing this book. Did you face any challenges, due to your gender so far?

Managing my academics hand in hand with writing the book was the biggest challenge as I was just a ninth grader when I wrote the first draft. I was posed with the same challenge while writing the consecutive drafts as well.

About the gender, yes, you always have challenges to face when you live in a patriarchal society as ours. I am no different than the rest of the females out there.

Q. How was the family support in becoming an author?

My family has been very supportive all through the process right from day one. I can’t thank my mother enough for all that she’s done for me all along.

Q. As a Kashmiri girl, were there any problems in getting your book published?

If we specifically talk about being Kashmiri, then I must say no. I didn’t face any problems because I was a Kashmiri girl. If you have worked hard, it would pay you, no matter who you are or where from you belong. At least, that worked in my case.

Q. What are your future plans?

I plan to have my next book in market by the end of this year. It is called “The Kohl Girl” and is a book of the young adult romance genre. I’m done with the first draft and am working on the second one.

Q. What according to you is women empowerment?

Because our society is very patriarchal, the women are always kept in ‘check.’ It’s a taboo for many if they try to do have their way in a way that’s different than what has traditionally been accepted. They still can’t try the unconventional. For me women empowerment would be to let women have their way without having any stigma or labels attached to them. They need equal growth as men do. That needs to be understood and women need to be given freedom to do that. That’s equality, that’s empowerment.

Q. What is your message to the young girls of Kashmir who want to be successful in different fields?

I would say that they should be passionate about what they want to do and what they want to be. Treading the unconventional needs courage, and if they have courage, there’s no stopping for them. Strive; fight and you will have what you want. Sooner or later, hard work and courage do pay off.