Sherfun Nisa

Meet ‘Jaan Maas,’ a woman with a fighting spirit!

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… she journeys more than 100 kilometers everyday to earn a livelihood


Photo/Sherfun Nisa

Kulgam: Jaana Begum travels more than a 100 kms every day in order to earn a livelihood and she has been doing this from last 17 years.

Each morning, Jaana, an elderly fisherwoman from Dargah Hazratbal in Srinagar, travels to south Kashmir’s Kulgam district with a bucket-full of fish and comes back in the evenings, if lucky, with ‘pocket full’ of money.

“I leave from my home at 7:30 in the morning and reach Kulgam at 10 am. After spending the whole day in this market selling the fish, I leave from here at 6:30 pm and reach home at 9:30 in the evening,” says Jaana, a mother of four children.

In all these 17 years of selling fish, Jaana has procured appropriate skills that fetch her customers.

Spending all these years in Kulgam town, Jaana has developed a lovable bond with people here. Locals in Kulgam call her  ‘Jaan Maas’.

Maas, if translated, means, a maternal aunt.

While expressing her love and regard for the people of Kulgam, the lady says that people in the town are sincere and kind.

“It is the trust and love of people here because of which I could spend almost 17 years happily and peacefully in this market,” says Jaana.

Every day, Jaana meets up with hundreds of people who either work in the town or are government employees and nobody among them forgets to give her greetings.

“My throat dries up while greeting the people. Everyone has huge regard for me,” says Jaana.

Earlier, Jaana would go door to door selling fish in the Shopian town and then gradually she started selling fishes in Kulgam market.

Javed Ahmad, a local boy who says he is a regular customer of the lady from last two years, says, “Whenever I travel through the market I pay ‘Jaan Maas’ a visit because she is just like family to us.”

A local watchman at the old bus stand Kulgam says, Jaana is the first lady who started selling fish in the Kulgam market. “She has customers in every corner of the district,” he says.

Her husband is also associated with fish business but both her sons have opted for business other than fishing. Her daughters do not deal with this business as well.

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