What does an individual do when confronted with what seem like insurmountable problems? How do you deal with the slings and arrows of destiny?
Tasleema Maqbool, a simple village woman of Donowari (Lolab) of Kupwara district has shown the way. Tasleema is handicapped. She cannot walk. When she was in Class V, her mother died. She had three younger sisters, and their father was a poor farmer. Tasleema had to drop out of school because the family could not afford her education.
What did little Tasleema do? She told her father that she would earn for the family. Her father cried when the child said it. With tears in his eyes, he told her that she could not even walk. How would she earn for the family? Tasleema was only a child at that time. She told her father not to cry if he doesn’t have a son who could support his sisters. Tasleema told her father that she would earn enough for the family and would take care of all of them.
Tasleema decided that she would learn tailoring and earn by stitching clothes. She managed to get the training. Her father got her a used machine she could work on. She started small. Steadily, her work grew so much that she had to employ some girls to help her with her work. Today, Tasleema has come a long way. She is constructing a house for her family with her own earnings.
The simple village woman has become a role model. Her life lesson is how not to be defeated by adversity and achieve what one sets out to achieve.
Stephen Hawking, the celebrity physicist, cosmologist, and author was severely handicapped. About physical disability, Hawking had said that never bother about what you are not able to do because of your disability. Focus on what you can do. “Don’t be disabled in spirit as well as physically,” Hawking had famously said.
Living in a remote village of Kashmir, Tasleema proved that with willpower and the passion to achieve, even the most difficult obstacles can be overcome.
Tasleema recalls that in the beginning, the going was tough for her because she could not get any orders. “I did not give up and engaged myself with whatever little orders I got. Slowly people got to know of me and engaged me for their tailoring tasks,” she said.
Because of her handicap, Tasleema couldn’t go to the market to buy what she needed for work. She trained girls to do this task for her. She earned enough to arrange the marriage of sisters. Unfortunately one of her sisters got divorced. Tasleema now supports her divorced sister with her earnings.
Tasleema is supporting her entire family as if she has no handicap. As a child, she had told her father that he would feel proud of her. She has fulfilled the promise she made to her father.
Tasleema inspires all children of her neighbourhood that they should not feel defeated in the face of any obstacle.
“Poverty, disability, poor education. None of these are hurdles if one has the will and the attitude to succeed.
Allah will always bless you with various opportunities. If you are willing to work hard and stay committed, you shall fulfill all your dreams,” Taslima says with total positivity.