Community Correspondents

Nadiya Shafi


Nadiya Shafi is a social worker, feminist and one of the most promising young leaders in the Kashmir women’s movement. But it didn’t always look like it would turn out that way. The Kashmiri society can be extremely oppressive of young women like Nadiya, who are discouraged from considering a career beyond marriage. But Nadiya wanted more. After completing a Masters Degree in Social Work from University of Kashmir in 2010, she worked with different local and national level social organisations. When VV launched its KashmirUnheard project in September 2014, Nadiya took up the job with the team. Working also as a video editor for VV and a mentor of other Correspondents, she is a role model for all the young female - and male - Correspondents in the KashmirUnheard team.

From her earliest days with VV, she hungered to learn more about the National Women’s Movement. In winter 2016 she traveled to Delhi to intern with her hero Kamla Bhasin, the South Asia Coordinator of One Billion Rising, who in turn was very happy to be able to mentor a young feminist from Kashmir. Their strong bond is evident in this video.

I think, in Kashmir, which is a conservative society, the gender related mindset is so deeply rooted that people don't question the traditional thread of society, which is predominantly patriarchal. Instead, they follow the same traditions even if they contradict with the Islamic beliefs,” says Nadiya, talking about the deeply patriarchal Kashmiri society. After her return to Kashmir, post her internship, Nadiya has taken forward her own feminist education by leading a Gender Discussion Club on patriarchy, as part of VV’s KhelBadal campaign. Her Discussion Club is made up of students, artisans, housewives, and shopkeepers, both men and women.

Nadiya has produced many stories on arts and culture, such as stone carvings, crochet, a female Sufi painter, and Kashmiri food. But her bravest work is her extensive documentation of Kashmiri half-widows and the Kashmir Unrest in 2016. She has explored the lives of "half widows", women whose husbands have gone missing during the conflict, but who are not accorded the rights entitled to widows. But doing this kind of reporting has its risks: due to the pressure built on her by state police and military for her work on half-widows, she had to leave for Delhi for a year and a half.

In summer 2016, when Kashmir experienced one of the worst unrests in a decade, she was back in Srinagar, and traveled with Zuhaib, a VV editor, on her scooter into the conflict zones to document what was happening. She was surely one of the only women to do so. One of her most harrowing videos from this period was shot in a hospital, featuring a doctor speaking out against the army’s use of pellet bullets just after he operated on the damaged eyes of a patient. She also documented cases of state impunity towards young boys and girls. Her documentation of the unrest has featured voices from both sides of the conflict - the stone pelters and CRPF personnel.

In 2017, NDTV is following her as she carries out a case study of women affected by the Kashmir conflict.

Videos from Nadiya

No Cards

Kashmir. Article 370. Clampdown

/ September 27, 2019

"Most narratives about Kashmir that TV studios push down our throats are without letting Kashmiris speak. Where are the ground reports from the valley that tell the real concerns of the people?" Nadiya Shafi, our community correspondent from Srinagar, writes about the clampdown in Kashmir.

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Jammu and Kashmir Lakes on Brink of Extinction

/ May 10, 2019

Gil sar and Kushalsar lakes in Srinagar are on the edge of extinction due to encroachment and the siltation and the authorities have turned a deaf ear to the issue.

No Cards

Seeking Justice for Medical Negligence in Kashmir

/ August 10, 2018

Private hospitals have become money minting machines, says a Srinagar couple who lost their newborn baby to medical negligence.

Impact Story

A Highway in Kashmir Threatens to Cut Across the Fortunes of Farmers

/ June 27, 2018

Apple and peach farmers in Budgam fear losing their land as the road of development lays down concrete through their orchards.

No Cards

Khatamband: The Art of Intricately Carved Ceilings in Kashmir

/ September 11, 2017

Once in decline, this ancient art form, adapted centuries ago from Persia is seeing a revival in the valley.

The Endless Wait for Justice: Enforced Disappearances in Kashmir

/ August 30, 2017

Parveena Ahangar has united victims across the valley to demand that the state gives them back their disappeared family members.

The Power Injustice Faced by Kashmiris

/ August 3, 2017

Adding to the major deficit of electricity in the valley, massive corruption further deprives those most in need of accessing electricity, particularly in rural Kashmir.

The Death of a Young Man in Kashmir

/ March 8, 2017

How can we bring justice to the family of the victim of yet another senseless killing in Kashmir? On 7 November 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Kashmir. There were large numbers of police and paramilitary forces stationed around Kashmir to foil protest marches and unrest. In a residential neighbourhood...