Rafia Rahim - Kashmir's RJ: - Woman Radio Jockey on a Private Radio Station

Rafia Rahim - Kashmir's RJ: 
Rafia, who has become the first woman radio jockey on a private radio station, is a 2016 pass out from the Media Education and Research Centre in the University of Kashmir.
Rafia Rahim, the first woman RJ in Kashmir's Budgam, has become a household name in the Valley after she hosted various local programs on the radio station.
Long before she enrolled in the journalism programme at the University of Kashmir, Rafia Rahim hosted Good Morning Jammu and Kashmir on Doordarshan, a show that comprises debates on social issues.

Rafia Rahim joined a local English daily as a paid intern. Later, after going through an audition, she got selected for the said radio station as an RJ.

"In February, I got selected for Radio Jockeying. I received proper training in Chandigarh from the radio station. With my program, I try to entertain people and take away all their tensions, sadness and tiredness," she said, adding that she wants to entertain the Kashmiri audience.

Rafia Rahim, 24, of Charar e Sharif township, a 2016 pass out of Media Education and Research Centre, University of Kashmir, has become a household name in the district by hosting various local programs on the radio Mirchi from its Srinagar station. 

Earlier, Rafia hosted popular programs like Good Morning J&K on Doordarshan channel for a long time.
Speaking in debates and symposiums was always my passion. It boosted my morale and encouraged me to host many programs and win prizes,” says Rafia.
Many years ago I used to imitate RJ Nasir and RJ Haya on 92.7 Big Fm. I sometimes sent them my videos and avidly waited for their feedback,” she recalls.
After passing from the MERC, her interest for journalism grew more. She joined local English daily as “paid internee”. 
“Then I joined Delhi based APN (Access Point News) as journalist. I also joined ‘The Logical Indian’ as a sub-editor,” she said.
According to Rafia she had more passion for broadcasting medium. “In February, I was selected in Radio Mirchi 98.3 FM. For Radio Jockeying I received proper training in Chandigarh.
But I wanted to work in and entertain the audience of my motherland Kashmir.”
Radio Mirchi 98.3 FM is an entertainment private station which has stations all over the country. 
Recently, the station has commissioned its branch in Srinagar where Rafia’s was selected to entertain the masses.
I have joined Radio Mirchi to interact with my people. I was interested to work in Kashmir,” she said.
Rafia will be on air mostly from 3pm to 7pm.  
Coming from a middle class family, Rafia says, “Whatever I am right now, I am because of the consistent support of my family. No one can stop you from achieving your goal when you have family to support you from behind,” said Rafia.  
Rafia’s father is a carpenter who has steadfastly stood by her side. Her mother is a housewife. They both are happy with their daughter for what she has achieved. “It is her sheer hard work, zeal and dedication that she has created a niche for herself,” they said.

Rafia Rahim, what inspired you to pick this career?

I was, am and always will be passionate about being able to give a voice to my thoughts. When I was a kid, I used to ask my father to allow me to take the TV screen to my room, taaki main bhi dikhoon TV pe. Even when I was in school, where following the norm I had chosen science, I had decided I wanted to make a career in the field of journalism. I started studying Arts as my Bachelor’s course before I opted for Journalism in my post graduation because I thought that Arts was a prerequisite for making a career in journalism, which is so not the case as I now know. I had more or less no guidance when it came to my career.

But along the way, I figured it out. I was a news correspondent for quite some time when one day I saw an ad about a vacancy of a radio jockey in Radio Mirchi. I went for the interview where I was told that ‘If you are worth it then great or it will be a quick bye from our side.’ There and then I decided that I am going to show them how worthy I am and well, the rest is history.

How did your family react to your decision of becoming a radio jockey?

Well, my father was a bit reluctant. He said that as this a male-dominated field, how could I even think of being a part of it. He advised me to either do a teaching course or enroll in a medical course. I refused. I told him that I wanted to do this, speak to people, come to the forefront and talk about social issues and problems. I made a deal with him – if he sees that I am not doing well in this field then I would stay at home. Seeing the level of my passion, my father was half convinced and where I am today, well, let’s just say that he was my biggest supporter. He passed away a month ago.

He was so proud of me, my work, he may not be here today but he was the one who despite what he grew up learning, chose to believe his daughter and her capability. He is my inspiration.

He will forever be proud of you, Rafia. While you succeeded in getting your family on your side, how did you handle the comments from outsiders, the so-called protectors of our Indian society and its ‘values’?

Even though those around me were more than supportive of my decisions, there is no hiding from those few people, with a narrow-minded mentality who always found something wrong with me being in control of my decisions. They would try to discourage me, demoralize me, tell me that I can’t do whatever I want. They would come to my father and ask him to not let me do this, put a stop to my ‘illogical’ aspirations. But I was least bothered about what others said, my family was standing by me, that’s all I needed. Even when sometimes doubts would creep in my mind about what I was doing, my papa used to tell me, “Don’t care about what these people say, they were born to criticize and judge others, you follow your path.”

As you are a radio jockey, you must receive tons of calls during your show. Which is that one call that became memorable?

It was just 20 days after my Abbu left this world. I don’t know how but some of my listeners came to know about it and one them called. He was an engineer and shared how he had lost his father when he was just nine. He told me, “You will cry over your loss, but one thing that you need to remember is to keep going as your father would have wanted you to achieve many other milestones in your life. Boldly face the challenges life throws at you.” His words were something that gave me hope when I may have lost it.

That is indeed the best advice. So, Rafia, do you discuss women’s issues on your show?

Yep, obviously! It is a public platform where I can reach thousands of people and if God wills it, change the negative mentality out there. Like on 11th October, i.e., Internation Girl Child Day, it was the theme and topic of discussion of my 3-7 show that day. I got experts on call, female doctors, medical officers, sociologists, photojournalists to talk about it. Media like TV, radio, social media are those sources via which people become aware of what is going on, and I am all set to put my profession to good use.

You are a source of inspiration for girls out there, Rafia!

I don’t know about that but if those girls and their parents get even 1% of strength to break gender stereotypes, I will consider it as a major accomplishment. I feel really motivated when I receive messages from girls who say that they are proud of me and would one day walk my path to live their passion.

So, what do you think needs to be done to bring more girls to such male-dominated fields?

I think improvement is already happening. Kahan pehle 1-2 ladkiyan aage aati thi, now at least 5-6 out of 10 step forward to claim their dreams, not afraid of the consequences but curious of what the future has in store for them.

But for that ratio to become 10 out of 10, it will take time, because as you can deduce from my journey from dreaming to enter the field of journalism to carving my place here, it took time. But I think if a girl’s family stands by her, her confidence is automatically boosted as they are the ones from whom she seeks blessings of a brighter future, not from the pados ki Sharma aunty.