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Fearless Friday

Talat Khanam, 24

Super Girl | ICICI Bank | SPJIMR’20 | DU’16

This is a story of a girl who had the heart & courage to go against the societal norms and her father who had the compassion to support her dreams. 
Talat hailed from a very conservative Muslim family. Being oldest daughter, the onus to carry the dignity and religious virtues had always been bestowed upon her shoulders. I was asked to wear only salwar suit & burkha. I still remember I was just 12 years old. But her parents wanted her to study in an English medium school. As girls were allowed to go to Madarsas at max, this step was not liked by most of the people in the locality. The biggest objection was raised about her school uniform. But her parents were adamant and got her admitted to an English medium school 10km
away. She would attend school on weekdays and Madarsa on weekend to learn how to read Quran Sharif, the learnings from which she still carries with her. 
Despite her school being 10km away, she had to travel for 2 hours daily because the school
authorities didn’t find it feasible to provide a separate mode of transport for the 1-2 students of her locality. Gradually as her education progressed, she started questioning some of the orthodox practises and was even shamed for not wearing a burkha. When she saw young girls like her getting married, she became even more determined to bring about a change in the mindset of the society about girls especially. 
She proved herself by securing the first rank every year and by scoring a 96.6% in class 12 Board Examination. Her relatives praised her but said it didn’t matter whether it was 96 or 69 because she was going to stay there and very soon manage her own family. Talat was aghast hearing this as she had dreams of studying in DU and making a career in the corporate world. No one cared for her dreams! 
But then, next day her doorsteps were flooded with reporters and localities wanting to know the feelings of the district topper. The same people who were criticizing her earlier were standing on the first row to congratulate her. Their perception had changed suddenly. 
Despite financial constraints, her father supported her dreams and Talat was able to secure a seat in Daulat Ram College. On her first vacation home, she could see the change she was able to bring about. She had become a role model for everyone in her village and she leveraged on the opportunity by sharing her experiences of the outside world and the opportunities that lay there. Talat went on to not only complete her graduation but also successfully completed her post graduation from SPJIMR and will start working with ICICI bank now. 

What she says:

“I believe I am already a successful woman because I have been able to give hope to so
many women in my community to go beyond their pseudo boundaries and chase their
dreams. I believe the success in my career shall be the answer to rest of their prejudices.”

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