06 Oct 17/Friday
During her years in government service, Masoodi always paid attention towards women’s empowerment and setting up of libraries was her top priority as she had an opinion that books empower people, especially the younger generation. Also known as Bhenji who retired as director of libraries in Kashmir, passed away after a prolonged illness in north Kashmir’s Sopore town. She was known for her work in the education sector, uplift of women and preservation of heritage and culture. Due to her dedication, punctuality and tough nature towards her job, she earned title of an “Iron lady of Kashmir”. After her retirement from the government service in 2000, she set up several educational institutions in north Kashmir’s Sopore town. Besides setting up of College of Education, she laid the foundation for one of the biggest libraries with thousands of books on varied topics at Sopore. She also started publishing a Kashmiri weekly newspaper, Meeras. Her biggest contribution is Meeras Mehal – a museum, unique of its kind in Kashmir depicting items related to heritage and culture and it had collection of thousands of items. In the 1970s, Atiqa had also single-handedly set up a welfare organization called Majlis-e-Nisa that worked for the welfare of women. The idea was to ensure their financial independence and develop a sense of self-confidence in them. Masoodi was also affiliated with several literary organizations and won several awards in the field of women empowerment and education. J&K Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti termed her as a noted educationist and heritage activist.
In one of her interviews she had said ‘In Kashmir, women see themselves as someone’s wife or daughter; I wanted them to think of themselves as individuals. I encouraged them to be good at whatever they did, even while fighting social evils like dowry.’ Her death is a huge loss as she was one ray of hope spreading the light of awareness amongst the Kashmiri folklore.