At the age of eight, Tajamul Islam is the first-ever Indian to become the world champion in kickboxing. From challenging the society’s perception of a girl’s ‘boundaries’ to overcoming training hardships in rural Kashmir, Tajamul’s journey is nothing less than extraordinary.
“If you think girls can’t fight, you haven’t yet seen eight-year-old Tajamul Islam from Kashmir, in action. A smiling cherubic girl with pink cheeks and an innocent smile, Tajamul may cause you serious injuries if you were to meet her in a kickboxing ring. After all, she is the reigning World Champion in Kick Boxing in the under-8 category. In fact, she is the first Indian to have participated and won the gold at the World Kickboxing Championship which was held in Italy, in November.
Hailing from Tarkpora village of Bandipora, in northern Kashmir, Tajamul was introduced to the sport at the tender age of 5. “Initially I had very little talent but I have gotten better with tremendous hard work, ” says Tajamul, as she talks to Video Volunteers Community Correspondent Aneesa Ahmed. If being a girl was a matter of concern, it doesn’t show on her face or in her attitude. “It will be an honour to win a medal for Kashmir. I will show the world that a girl is no less than a boy,” says a resolute Tajamul. She practices with children twice her age, at Sheri Kashmir Stadium ground in Bandipora. While she is a rising star in the world of kickboxing, Tajamul wants to grow up to be a doctor. “I will break bones with my fighting, and then mend them as a doctor,” she jokes with Aneesa.
While women across India who are deterred from pursuing their dreams due to societal and familial pressure, successes like that of Tajamul, and that of the women participating in Olympics 2016 like PV Sindhu and Sakshi Malik serves as a reminder for the patriarchal society that women can accomplish in all spheres of life, if allowed to be free.