In this conversation, Mariyam Haider is joined by two of Parcham’s footballers and licensed coaches, 21-year old Madina Bi and 19-year old Fatima Shaikh.
Mumbra-based, Madina and Fatima share their journeys with football and negotiating with family members to make it part of their lives. While Madina’s parents are understanding and supportive, Fatema had and continues to have a difficult relationship with her family when it comes to her aspirations.
Listeners discretion is advised as this episode mentions instances of physical violence, and the notes of this interview have time-codes, in case listeners want to be aware of them before listening (9.46 and 21.59 min)*.
We discuss the challenges that the girls and other female footballers face in Mumbra to practise football, the need for more administrative and corporate support in maintaining the Fatima Bi Savitri Bai Ground for girls, and what more can be done for Mumbra’s aspiring sports women.
They both offer a breadth of understanding around Muslim women’s dreams, their stand against sometimes violent patriarchal systems, and the tireless negotiation for spaces they occupy as young women.
Madina dreams and aspires to join the Gokulam Kerala Football Club and Fatema wants to keep learning and playing, as she continues to also support her family financially. This Independence Day, give this episode a listen, hear the voices of two inspiring and talented Indian Muslim women, who are fighting the fight against all odds that stand in front of them to live their football dreams.
*At these time-codes, there are mentions of physical violence.
Episode notes and associated references:
Why the Parcham Collective is fighting for a football ground for Mumbra’s girls (Mint Lounge, October, 2021)
The remarkable story of Jammu and Kashmir footballer Afshan Ashiq (Hindustan Times, 2017)
For the love of the game: Indian women defy sexism, abuse to chase football dream (South China Morning Post, December, 2022)
Sports for Peace, Sports for Empowerment (Parcham Collective)