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Four self-made women from Assam you need to know about

By Mumeninaz Zaman
Four self-made women from Assam you need to know about
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Guwahati, March 8: We have come a long way from the narrative that women are supposed to behave in a particular way. This fact can be fathomed from the way they manage, lead and make vital decisions in life. Juggling between life, work and taking leadership roles, here are four inspiring stories of courage, determination, and resilience.

Kismat Bano:


Kismat Bano
Kismat Bano


It was during her college days when the idea of participating in a theatre workshop piqued her curiosity towards acting on stage. Although, a word of caution from her peers followed as her mother tongue was not Assamese but Hindi, that did not stop her from grabbing the opportunity. Soon after she started participating in several plays while simultaneously, she was polishing her skills under the guidance of ace theatre personality of Assam, Baharul Islam.

Being a Muslim girl, the concept of acting was not endorsed by her father and he was strictly against theatres. However, her mother’s support was rock solid who used to take her to acting classes without the knowledge of her father. Kismat’s father who is an army contractor soon came to know about his daughter’s achievements after a top official called him in his cabin and congratulated him as his daughter was making headlines. Praises poured in from several quarters and now her father suggests stories for her next play.

On the work front, Kismat has acted in over 30 plays in both Assamese and Hindi languages. Inspired by the legendary dialogues of Shakespeare, Kismat felt a deep connection following which she directed the play ‘Bano’ which is based on King Lear. Another masterpiece that she tailored was ‘Helen’- based on the life of Helen Keller. These two plays received rave reviews. She also worked on plays like Aakaas, Madyhyabartini, Jatra, The Lesson, Komala Kuwori, and Puhor.



Currently, she owns a theatre repertory company in Guwahati called the Wings Theatre (cultural group) which has helped and trained many young artistes prove their mettle in the field of theatre. She is also associated with an advertising production house- In Shot films as an associate producer in Mumbai.

The skills that she gained was not limited to her, her directorial traits gave wings to differently abled children for whom she conducts workshops with an aim to promote theatre amongst them.

Lately, her efforts were recognised and she was honoured with the 'Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar' for the year 2020 for her excellence in acting in theatre. “Being a women director a lot of people and even artists in our country doubt your work & credibility. I knew for the fact that one day I will be changing this & today I am the youngest ‘Ustad Bismillah Khan’ Awardee in India and now many artists want to work with me,” said Kismat while speaking to The Assam Tribune.

For Kismat when people are passionate about work it does not matter if they are male or female, they thrive to move forward in life, however, certain rules set by the society often creates disadvantages, “but now things are changing, over the years we have seen many women directors and producers pursuing their dreams and its inspiring to see them flourish,” added Kismat.


Indrani Tapati:


Indrani Tapati
Indrani Tapati

If you ask someone about their greatest inspiration undoubtedly it would be their mother, but for Indrani Tapati, her mother is much more than that, such that she took her mother’s first name as her surname. Born as the third girl child in the family, Indrani and her mother was ridiculed by their closed ones. Nevertheless, Indrani’s mother never let that impact her negatively and encouraged her to take up challenges in life.

The tragic incident of Delhi’s Nirbhaya case left a deep trauma on Indrani’s mother who advised her to learn martial arts. This was just the beginning of a champion who through the ebbs and flows of life stood out from the rest. Today she is a certified Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) official, Kyokushin Karate & Kettlebell Coach and also running a small business of apparel and accessories.

Initially, Indrani’s dream was to start a business, she tried her hands on several ventures, however, her love for martial arts compelled her to leave behind a high paying job at Kolkata and she came up with a martial arts academy in Guwahati in 2017. After five long years at the academy, she is now working as a freelancer. Her venture ЖUN 22, is a business to promote the handcrafted works of underprivileged women and other readymade accessories.



Indrani who is a Dan Black belt in Kyokushin Karate and won gold medal in National Muay Thai & Kettlebell sport says, “I always dreamt of having my own venture but starting business without any financial support takes a lot. When we started the academy, I was working in a real estate firm but the academy needed more time and attention so I left the job and started working on the academy. There were days when I had no place to stay, no money to even buy food, faced health issues due to lack of nutrition. My well-wishers supported me and the academy started gaining popularity. Our students were doing wonders and they were appreciated in multiple platforms. Today when I look back, I can see a better version of myself.”

On being asked if she ever faced any discrimination in her pursuits, Indrani asserted, “the idea of man vs women angers me, we are all equal, and I was fortunate enough to come across people who appreciated my work. My mother raised us equally, my brother can cook delicious meals and I can fix basic electrical and plumbing work at home, and that does not make us any different.”

Indrani believes that women should know the basics of self-defence in line with the rising incidents of crime against women. Moreover, it also contributes in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Wahida Ahmed:


Wahida Ahmed
Wahida Ahmed

Born an brought up in Sivasagar district of Assam, Wahida Ahmed an artist par excellence depicts tales through her art work. Her art installations be it at Delhi’s Akar Prakar Contemporary art gallery or the Dwijing Festival held in Bodoland are an amalgamation of both the traditional and contemporary world woven in perfect synchronisation with raw materials like charcoal, terracotta, water hyacinth, sand, threads, bamboos and the latest one being cards of Jacquard Loom.

Currently, she is working on a series where she is exploring and experimenting where women are placed in religion and history under the title Nisa- which means women in Arabic. “The idea is to depict the presence and absence of women in society. Where do we as women stand is the core concept of the artwork for which I am using Islamic calligraphy. Often it is seen, women are not allowed in mosques this deprivation or denial of inclusion intrigued me to take up the subject,” said Wahida.

Glimpse of the work titled- Nisa (The woman) | Credit: Wahida Ahmed

Glimpse of the work titled- Nisa (The woman) | Credit: Wahida Ahmed

Talking about jacquard cards- cards punched with holes used during the process of weaving to get a desired design, Wahida added, “The purpose of using the card is to explore the discarded material in the process of weaving. It is about inclusivity of the discarded for the broader good of the society. Things are designed to be discarded; my concept is to include everything.”

Wahida working at an art workshop with jacquard cards |Credit: Wahida Ahmed
Wahida working at an art workshop with jacquard cards |Credit: Wahida Ahmed

Her visual narratives are woven from both modern and traditional context, sometimes giving a message or raising a question. The concept of her art mostly revolves around socio-cultural, landscape, beliefs, history, politics, pedagogy, ecology, human, society and the surrounding.

Some of the major events where she participated as an art curator are- India Art Summit at New Delhi in 2009 and 2011, World Art Games Annual Exhibition at Turkey in 2012 and Croatia in 2013, this was followed by her participation at the Rotterdam Art Festival, Holland and the list goes on.

Wahida who has extensively worked in the char areas of Assam, said that be it the women from minority community or the rural areas, illiteracy and ignorance is still prevalent and this can only be eradicated with education. “Women are capable of taking leadership roles, however, due to lack of education they are unable to channelise the energy towards their dreams or aspirations. In a patriarchal society, women need to stand up for their rights, because no one will be served with it.”

Alemoon Nessa:


Alemoon Nessa
Alemoon Nessa

Women’s role has shifted drastically over the past few decades, apart from handling household chores, they are dabbling in industries that have traditionally been dominated by men. Alemoon Nessa founder of A.N Spice Industries is an example who is not only living a dream of owning a business but also generating employment opportunities for those in need.

“I believe women have the inherent qualities of running a business effectively. Since childhood we are being conditioned that way. I am not saying that they don’t need support but today women are more organised, goal oriented, have leadership and time management skills, these are some of the essential qualities that are needed in a business,” said Alemoon.

Having completed her Master in Business Administration (MBA), Alemoon wanted to start something independently and was not in the favour of doing a 9-to-5 job or a corporate job. A business-minded Alemoon started visiting trade fairs and conferences to get an idea of how businesses flourish. Soon after she developed a business project which was approved by the District Industries and Commerce Centre (DICC), Bongaigaon, Assam under the Prime Minister's Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP). After receiving a financial grant from the government, Alemoon commercially started her venture A.N Spice Industries in 2016.

Today her industry has established a strong client base for its food processing business in Guwahati and other major towns of Assam and the North Eastern region. Her industry deals in products like pickles, squashes, juices, jam and jelly, tea products, green leaf, rice, various spices, and sauces. “The raw materials are picked directly from the farmers in Bongaigaon and adjoining districts and processed through hygienic quality checking control system. We procure organic fruits like olive (Jalphai), mango, jackfruit, gooseberry (Amlakhi), elephant apple (Ou- Tenga) etc. from local farmers and king chilli (Bhot Jolokia), bamboo shoot and bird chilli etc., from Nagaland and Meghalaya. We cultivate chilli, joha rice, turmeric and mushroom along with the help of local farmers.

Recently, she was honoured with the National Entrepreneurship Award 2019 from the Union Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Best Entrepreneurship Award from the Assam Government in 2020. She also bagged three awards in the National MSME Awards 2022


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Four self-made women from Assam you need to know about

Guwahati, March 8: We have come a long way from the narrative that women are supposed to behave in a particular way. This fact can be fathomed from the way they manage, lead and make vital decisions in life. Juggling between life, work and taking leadership roles, here are four inspiring stories of courage, determination, and resilience.

Kismat Bano:


Kismat Bano
Kismat Bano


It was during her college days when the idea of participating in a theatre workshop piqued her curiosity towards acting on stage. Although, a word of caution from her peers followed as her mother tongue was not Assamese but Hindi, that did not stop her from grabbing the opportunity. Soon after she started participating in several plays while simultaneously, she was polishing her skills under the guidance of ace theatre personality of Assam, Baharul Islam.

Being a Muslim girl, the concept of acting was not endorsed by her father and he was strictly against theatres. However, her mother’s support was rock solid who used to take her to acting classes without the knowledge of her father. Kismat’s father who is an army contractor soon came to know about his daughter’s achievements after a top official called him in his cabin and congratulated him as his daughter was making headlines. Praises poured in from several quarters and now her father suggests stories for her next play.

On the work front, Kismat has acted in over 30 plays in both Assamese and Hindi languages. Inspired by the legendary dialogues of Shakespeare, Kismat felt a deep connection following which she directed the play ‘Bano’ which is based on King Lear. Another masterpiece that she tailored was ‘Helen’- based on the life of Helen Keller. These two plays received rave reviews. She also worked on plays like Aakaas, Madyhyabartini, Jatra, The Lesson, Komala Kuwori, and Puhor.



Currently, she owns a theatre repertory company in Guwahati called the Wings Theatre (cultural group) which has helped and trained many young artistes prove their mettle in the field of theatre. She is also associated with an advertising production house- In Shot films as an associate producer in Mumbai.

The skills that she gained was not limited to her, her directorial traits gave wings to differently abled children for whom she conducts workshops with an aim to promote theatre amongst them.

Lately, her efforts were recognised and she was honoured with the 'Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar' for the year 2020 for her excellence in acting in theatre. “Being a women director a lot of people and even artists in our country doubt your work & credibility. I knew for the fact that one day I will be changing this & today I am the youngest ‘Ustad Bismillah Khan’ Awardee in India and now many artists want to work with me,” said Kismat while speaking to The Assam Tribune.

For Kismat when people are passionate about work it does not matter if they are male or female, they thrive to move forward in life, however, certain rules set by the society often creates disadvantages, “but now things are changing, over the years we have seen many women directors and producers pursuing their dreams and its inspiring to see them flourish,” added Kismat.


Indrani Tapati:


Indrani Tapati
Indrani Tapati

If you ask someone about their greatest inspiration undoubtedly it would be their mother, but for Indrani Tapati, her mother is much more than that, such that she took her mother’s first name as her surname. Born as the third girl child in the family, Indrani and her mother was ridiculed by their closed ones. Nevertheless, Indrani’s mother never let that impact her negatively and encouraged her to take up challenges in life.

The tragic incident of Delhi’s Nirbhaya case left a deep trauma on Indrani’s mother who advised her to learn martial arts. This was just the beginning of a champion who through the ebbs and flows of life stood out from the rest. Today she is a certified Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) official, Kyokushin Karate & Kettlebell Coach and also running a small business of apparel and accessories.

Initially, Indrani’s dream was to start a business, she tried her hands on several ventures, however, her love for martial arts compelled her to leave behind a high paying job at Kolkata and she came up with a martial arts academy in Guwahati in 2017. After five long years at the academy, she is now working as a freelancer. Her venture ЖUN 22, is a business to promote the handcrafted works of underprivileged women and other readymade accessories.



Indrani who is a Dan Black belt in Kyokushin Karate and won gold medal in National Muay Thai & Kettlebell sport says, “I always dreamt of having my own venture but starting business without any financial support takes a lot. When we started the academy, I was working in a real estate firm but the academy needed more time and attention so I left the job and started working on the academy. There were days when I had no place to stay, no money to even buy food, faced health issues due to lack of nutrition. My well-wishers supported me and the academy started gaining popularity. Our students were doing wonders and they were appreciated in multiple platforms. Today when I look back, I can see a better version of myself.”

On being asked if she ever faced any discrimination in her pursuits, Indrani asserted, “the idea of man vs women angers me, we are all equal, and I was fortunate enough to come across people who appreciated my work. My mother raised us equally, my brother can cook delicious meals and I can fix basic electrical and plumbing work at home, and that does not make us any different.”

Indrani believes that women should know the basics of self-defence in line with the rising incidents of crime against women. Moreover, it also contributes in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Wahida Ahmed:


Wahida Ahmed
Wahida Ahmed

Born an brought up in Sivasagar district of Assam, Wahida Ahmed an artist par excellence depicts tales through her art work. Her art installations be it at Delhi’s Akar Prakar Contemporary art gallery or the Dwijing Festival held in Bodoland are an amalgamation of both the traditional and contemporary world woven in perfect synchronisation with raw materials like charcoal, terracotta, water hyacinth, sand, threads, bamboos and the latest one being cards of Jacquard Loom.

Currently, she is working on a series where she is exploring and experimenting where women are placed in religion and history under the title Nisa- which means women in Arabic. “The idea is to depict the presence and absence of women in society. Where do we as women stand is the core concept of the artwork for which I am using Islamic calligraphy. Often it is seen, women are not allowed in mosques this deprivation or denial of inclusion intrigued me to take up the subject,” said Wahida.

Glimpse of the work titled- Nisa (The woman) | Credit: Wahida Ahmed

Glimpse of the work titled- Nisa (The woman) | Credit: Wahida Ahmed

Talking about jacquard cards- cards punched with holes used during the process of weaving to get a desired design, Wahida added, “The purpose of using the card is to explore the discarded material in the process of weaving. It is about inclusivity of the discarded for the broader good of the society. Things are designed to be discarded; my concept is to include everything.”

Wahida working at an art workshop with jacquard cards |Credit: Wahida Ahmed
Wahida working at an art workshop with jacquard cards |Credit: Wahida Ahmed

Her visual narratives are woven from both modern and traditional context, sometimes giving a message or raising a question. The concept of her art mostly revolves around socio-cultural, landscape, beliefs, history, politics, pedagogy, ecology, human, society and the surrounding.

Some of the major events where she participated as an art curator are- India Art Summit at New Delhi in 2009 and 2011, World Art Games Annual Exhibition at Turkey in 2012 and Croatia in 2013, this was followed by her participation at the Rotterdam Art Festival, Holland and the list goes on.

Wahida who has extensively worked in the char areas of Assam, said that be it the women from minority community or the rural areas, illiteracy and ignorance is still prevalent and this can only be eradicated with education. “Women are capable of taking leadership roles, however, due to lack of education they are unable to channelise the energy towards their dreams or aspirations. In a patriarchal society, women need to stand up for their rights, because no one will be served with it.”

Alemoon Nessa:


Alemoon Nessa
Alemoon Nessa

Women’s role has shifted drastically over the past few decades, apart from handling household chores, they are dabbling in industries that have traditionally been dominated by men. Alemoon Nessa founder of A.N Spice Industries is an example who is not only living a dream of owning a business but also generating employment opportunities for those in need.

“I believe women have the inherent qualities of running a business effectively. Since childhood we are being conditioned that way. I am not saying that they don’t need support but today women are more organised, goal oriented, have leadership and time management skills, these are some of the essential qualities that are needed in a business,” said Alemoon.

Having completed her Master in Business Administration (MBA), Alemoon wanted to start something independently and was not in the favour of doing a 9-to-5 job or a corporate job. A business-minded Alemoon started visiting trade fairs and conferences to get an idea of how businesses flourish. Soon after she developed a business project which was approved by the District Industries and Commerce Centre (DICC), Bongaigaon, Assam under the Prime Minister's Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP). After receiving a financial grant from the government, Alemoon commercially started her venture A.N Spice Industries in 2016.

Today her industry has established a strong client base for its food processing business in Guwahati and other major towns of Assam and the North Eastern region. Her industry deals in products like pickles, squashes, juices, jam and jelly, tea products, green leaf, rice, various spices, and sauces. “The raw materials are picked directly from the farmers in Bongaigaon and adjoining districts and processed through hygienic quality checking control system. We procure organic fruits like olive (Jalphai), mango, jackfruit, gooseberry (Amlakhi), elephant apple (Ou- Tenga) etc. from local farmers and king chilli (Bhot Jolokia), bamboo shoot and bird chilli etc., from Nagaland and Meghalaya. We cultivate chilli, joha rice, turmeric and mushroom along with the help of local farmers.

Recently, she was honoured with the National Entrepreneurship Award 2019 from the Union Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Best Entrepreneurship Award from the Assam Government in 2020. She also bagged three awards in the National MSME Awards 2022


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