Inspiring Stories Of 7 Women From J&K Who Have Made Their Presence Felt Internationally


Monika Dogra

Monica Dogra is an American musician and actress of Indian origin. She is one half of the Mumbai-based electronic rock duo Shaa’ir and Func and also performs solo under her moniker, Shaa’ir. She made her acting debut in the Bollywood film Dhobi Ghat (2011). She is a member on the judging panel of India’s first English music talent show, The Stage.

Monica Dogra is the daughter of Dogra immigrants from Jammu. Her maternal uncle is Dogri folk music singer Prakash Sharma. She grew up in Baltimore, Maryland.

What’s your happy place?
“Jammu—where my mother is from, probably because I went there when I was eight, back when my parents were still together. We stayed with my mother’s family up in the hills. The people in the mountains are so beautiful—sun-kissed with glow-in-the-dark green eyes. I remember plucking strawberries and running down the hills, past waterfalls.”

Shamma Jain

Shamma Jain was born in Jammu, Jammu & Kashmir. She was awarded the Chancellor’s Gold Medal for B.A. in Political Science at University of Jammu. She received double master’s degrees in Philosophy and Politics from Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi. She was the recipient of the prestigious UGC Fellowship.

Shamma Jain (born 1959) is a senior Indian diplomat, who is the Indian Ambassador to Greece since June 2017. [1] Previously, she was the Ambassador of India to Panama, Costa Rica and Nicaragua.[2] She has also served as India’s Ambassador to Ivory Coast, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea from 2008 to 2011.[3] She has also held other diplomatic assignments, including as the Deputy Chief of Mission in Rome, Italy, Political Counsellor in the U.S., and at the Permanent Delegation of India to UNESCO in Paris, France.

Aparna Tandon

Ms Tandon is and Internationally known heritage expert Aparna Tandon from Jammu who is based in Rome, Italy spoke on this theme. Ms. Tandon who has studied art conservation at Harvard University highlighted the significance of culture in the planning for disaster risk reduction and post disaster response and recovery. Pertinent issue of disaster risk management, its mainstreaming in the planning for development and integration of concerns for cultural preservation was illustrated with the examples of recent disasters in Kashmir, Ladakh, Bhutan and Haiti. Ms Tandon who has seventeen years of post qualification experience in the field of conservation of cultural heritage, is a programme manager at the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM)- an intergovernmental organization founded by UNESCO in 1956 based in Rome, Italy, since 2004. She also holds an MA in Art Conservation and has received advanced level training in Paper Conservation from the Straus Center for Conservation, Harvard University Art Museums, USA. She is the recipient of Inlaks and Samuel H. Kress foundation scholarships. In 2001-2002 she was the Fulbright Arts Fellow at Preservation Directorate of the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., and then a Conservation Guest Scholar at the Getty Conservation Institute, Los Angles, USA.

Her presentation also discussed in detail ICCROM’s pioneering training on First Aid to Cultural Heritage in Times of Conflict focusing on cultural emergency in Haiti following the earthquake of January 12, 2010. In August 2010, Aparna led the ICCROM- Smithsonian Institution joint training on providing first aid to the Haitian cultural heritage collections damaged due to the earthquake.

Arifa Jan

Arifa Jan, belonging to a not-so-literate family in the summer capital of Kashmir, followed her heart and pursued her dream of becoming a businesswoman, in the process working on the revival of numdha .

Braving all the odds, this 29-year-old woman from Kashmir has taken up the daunting task to revive the once-famed handicraft numdha, the traditional embroidered rug which has over the years lost its sheen.

After her Bachelor’s degree in commerce from Kashmir University at Srinagar, Arifa’s friend at Jammu and Kashmir government’s who had setup Craft Development Institute (CDI) counselled her to take up a two-year Craft Management and Entrepreneurial Leadership programme. Even as she enrolled herself, Arifa could not afford to pay her fee.

Arifa said Kashmiri handicrafts are famous world over but focus should be on quality. It is these qualities that have resulted in Arifa becoming the first-ever Kashmiri woman to be nominated by the United States State Department for the Women Entrepreneurship Programme under which she was awarded US Citizenship Eligibility Certificate in 2014.

Tanya Gupta


Jammu-based singer Tanya Gupta is the first girl from Jammu and Kashmir to perform at the Asiad in China.

Tanya sang a Dogri song at the closing ceremony of the Asian Games.

Tanya, in her early 30s, has been a music student since her college days. She has taken lessons in classical music from teachers across the country.

Abida Akhtar

Abida Akhtar’s hardships started before she could even understand the world and the circumstances around her. She was barely 18 months old when her father Khushi Mohammad, in the Jammu & Kashmir Police, fell to the bullets of terrorists. With the sole bread earner gone and without any land or other source of income, the family of four, including Abida’s mother and two siblings, struggled to make ends meet.

Sana Dua

Sana dua is an Indian lawyer, who is also a model and beauty pageant titleholder,[1] who was crowned 1st runner up at Femina Miss India 2017. She participated in Miss United Continents contest in Guayaquil, Ecuador in September 2017 and made it to the top 10.

Sana was born in Assam in 1993 in a Sikh family whose roots are in Jammu and Kashmir. Her father was in Indian Army. Sana studied for five years at the Army Public School Noida. Sana’s elder brother Varun Dua, is a software engineer with Infosys in Chandigarh. She finished her graduation in law at Punjab University in Chandigarh. She practised law before entering the glamour world in 2015.[9] Sana worked in Jammu and Kashmir High Court for a year while being attached with an advocate. Sana Dua was given Femina Style Miss Diva North, 2016 award.

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