Inspiration incarnate: Born brave or time crafts her?

At 75, Rashida Qadir works at woman university and looks determined to continue.

Shazia Mehboob March 11, 2014
Heap of garbage. PHOTO: MOHAMMAD SAQIB


Before recounting her tale, she left the garbage drum and went to fetch a chair because she was not able to sit on the ground due to pain in her joints.

She is 75 but looks determined to work with honesty and dignity.

“In the past, I worked for my family. Now I will work for myself till I breathe last,” said the extraordinary woman, who is known among the university students as Rashida Khala.

Rashida Qadir has been working as a sanitary worker at the Fatima Jinnah Women University in Rawalpindi for the last seven years.

She has also served in the same capacity in the Pakistan Air Force as well where she was offered a job as replacement after her husband’s death.

Her husband Qadir Masih died due to a cardiac arrest and left her with nine young children, some 35 years back.

“Unkind society and critical attitude of her in-laws played a major role in making her what she is today,” she said.

Rashida lived with her Husband in Badin district of Sindh province where he was employed.

After serving for some time in Badin, she moved to Chaklala air base in Rawalpindi where she served until her retirement.

She used her retirement funds and other savings to marry off her four daughters and four sons. Her youngest daughter lives with her. And the brave woman is working hard to gather dowry for her.

“When my husband was alive, I never thought that I will step out of my house and work,” she said recalling the good old days.

After moving to Rawalpindi, she rented a house and started her new life.  “My youngest daughter was only six-months-old when my husband died,” she said.

Like many other women, Rashida faced multiple problems during her early life, but the brave woman kept moving.

At one time, one of her officers forced her for marriage, and upon her refusal, he gave her tough time but such hurdles could not shake her determination and courage, she said.

Back then, living in a rented house and providing bread and butter to a ten-member family at the meagre salary of Rs90 per month was quite difficult for her but she learnt to cope with the situation.

“I always told my daughters it is better to stay hungry then looking to others.”

She was lucky that her children especially daughters had always followed her instructions and most of the time when they did not have anything to cook, they showed tolerance.

Now that she is much better position to support herself and her daughter, she said, “I always pray to Allah to give me the courage to put up with difficult ahead.”

Published in The Express Tribune, March 11th, 2014.


Replying to X

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.

For more information, please see our Comments FAQ