BMMA TEAM’S VISIT TO KOLKATA/HOWRAH
For Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan, West Bengal [WB] is a very important state as 25% of its population comprises of Muslims. It was proposed in the National Council of BMMA that a visit must be paid to Mahila v Shishu Vikas Kendra in Howrah to understand their work and also their willingness and ability to carry out BMMA work in WB. Rahima Khatoon who is the secretary of the said organization arranged the meeting in Howrah and Kolkata.
Zakia Soman, Noorjehan Safia Niaz and Farhat Amin visited the organization on 28 and 29 March. On day one, a meeting with the staff of MSVK was organized where in depth information was given about BMMA. The staff asked questions and also shared their work with the BMMA team. They work in 5-6 districts of WB though they do not have a base in Kolkata. The organization has a large team and work closely with women. The president of the organization also joined the meeting.
After the meeting with the staff, a public meeting was held which was attended by about 50-60 women. Again information about BMMA was given to all. A brief talk on codification of Muslim law was also held. Women asked questions related to legal problems of Muslim women.
The organization runs a small workshop where they make sanitary napkins. The team saw the machine and the process by which the napkins are made. They have just started the process and are learning as they go along. Community visit was held in the nearby village in the evening. More than 40 women attended the meeting. It was held in one of zari workshops. They shared about their daily lives and their daily struggles. Except for a few most of them had more than 4-5 children. Their husband’s did zari work or went to Kolkata for work. Women also did zari work. Although Kolkata is just 2 hours away from this village, there are no street lights. It is pitch dark except for lights from the houses.
Next day a consultation on codification was held in Kolkata. Women from different organizations came for the consultation. The draft was shared with them in detail. Many suggestions came forth. The gathering agreed that codification is the answer to the legal problems of Muslim women.