KNOW YOUR NOM­I­NEE

SANATKADA FILM STU­DIO: AISHA KHATOON, SAIRA KHAN AND KAHKASHAN BAIG

Hindustan Times (Lucknow) - Live - - FRONT PAGE - NOM­I­NATED BY MADHAVI KUCKREJA

CAT­E­GORY: CUL­TURE MAS­TERS

Be­ing school dropouts from lower in­come com­mu­ni­ties of Luc­know, they have used pho­tog­ra­phy and videog­ra­phy as tools of em­pow­er­ment for them­selves and their com­mu­ni­ties. As the first, Mus­lim women film stu­dio in Ut­tar Pradesh, they have taken pho­tographs and made short films on pro­files of women from their com­mu­nity in the con­text of vi­o­lence against women, Luc­know’s cul­tural her­itage, food, craft and they also get or­ders to pho­to­graph wed­dings. These are spa­ces where no woman has en­tered be­fore. They have pho­tographed and video graphed the Mahin­dra Sanatkada Luc­know Fes­ti­val, Das­tan Goi and Clas­si­cal mu­sic per­for­mances amongst oth­ers. They have also pho­tographed com­mu­nity based lead­ers across the coun­try. They have doc­u­mented their work on women’s lead­er­ship in­clud­ing rag pick­ers, Bodo women and do­mes­tic work­ers union. They have given train­ing in pho­tog­ra­phy to women from the com­mu­ni­ties in Bodoland As­sam, Bareilly and Banda. Aisha Khatoon from Bas Mandi, an area near city sta­tion, first stepped out of her home and com­mu­nity in the strug­gle for the le­gal autho­riza­tion for their home, which is a hun­dred years old. They lost the le­gal bat­tle and their home but young Aisha uses the cam­era as a tool for em­pow­er­ment and is a role model for her com­mu­nity and many other young women in Luc­know. Saira Khan from Gadi Kanaura, a class 5 school dropout, whose fa­ther is a me­chanic and mother gives tu­itions on re­li­gious texts at home, has made her mark as a women pho­tog­ra­pher in her area. Tech­ni­cally a wiz, Saira also man­ages so­cial me­dia for the team and is will­ing to ex­plore the cul­tural liv­ing his­tory of Luc­know. Kahkashan Baig is the first, who stepped out­side her com­mu­nity to work. Be­sides women’s em­pow­er­ment, she is also pas­sion­ate about fight­ing for women rights.

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