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Ramadan Special: Beautician Sultana Hussain Unveils Her Talent

  • JWB Post
  •  July 13, 2015

Well, the month of Ramzan is winding down. To celebrate each day, JWB brings to you new stories of Jaipur based Muslim women.

Mother of three children, Sultana Hussain, decided to break the prevailing stereotypes by starting her own beauty salon ‘Sultana’s Beauty Clinic & Academy’, even after facing opposition from her community.

JWB decided to talk to Sultana who empowers other women to come out of their veil and pursue their dreams. In the salon with big mirrors, red chairs with hydraulic lift, hair-washing station, dryer, mirror, and magazine rack, Sultana was busy blow-drying hair of one of her clients. When we reached, she came smiling to us to give her first ever interview.

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Your salon seems quite a known and loved place. How did you start it?

I started my salon 2 years back after getting professional knowledge of beauty services. I was working under other experts before that to gain expertise in the field. I have always believed that caring about your appearance is reflected in your confidence. This motivates me to keep looking for new things to beautify women coming to me.

What are some of the biggest challenges in your line of work?

In beauty business, things are always changing with the seasonal trends. I have to keep updating myself with the new skills to match up with changing demands. I make frequent trips all over India to attend different beauty workshops and events to grab expert advice.IMG_5694a

What kind of problems did you face before starting the business?

I belong to the Sayyid class of Muslim society which is equivalent to Brahmins in Hindus. Initially, when I told my family about my dream to open a beauty salon, they did not agree. Working in a beauty parlour is not considered a prestigious job in my community. However, I broke this stereotype and won my family’s support through my strong will.

Talk more about family support.

My husband is extremely supportive. He helped me to settle down the salon during the initial days, and stood by my side when others were not in my favour.

(Sultana blushed and smiled while talking about her husband)

Not only this, he helps me with all house chores every single day. Sometimes if I try to tell him that he is the man (head) of the family, he turns and tells me, “We are equal, be it in the house or outside it.”IMG_5701a

Is managing home easy now?

Honestly, I don’t have to make big efforts to balance my personal and professional life. My clients are very understanding. During my Namaz time, nobody disturbs me. I leave for home during Ramadan month sharp at five in the evening to prepare for Iftar. All my appointments are managed accordingly.

How do you feel during this special month?

With every month of Ramadan, I have been exploring myself a bit. During childhood, I was worried about being hungry. Later I wanted to get spiritual benefits and the feeling of connection with my Lord. Now I think of getting better as a human being with each passing day. I wish we could have Ramadan for two months instead of one. Everything in life runs in a systematic manner during this time, and relationships become stronger.IMG_5707a

Talk about wearing burqa?

I wore burqa for 12 years, this included college days too. But with the changing lifestyle and work demands, I have decided not to wear it on a daily basis. My family is okay with my decision as long as I am happy.

Wearing a burqa is a personal choice. However, majority of women I know wear it out of pressure from family or husband. There is a fear of men in them.

According to our culture, the main purpose behind wearing a Burqa is to hide all the bodily parts that are associated with beauty. For instance, hair is such an essential part of a woman’s beauty, so they are kept hidden. I believe that women must celebrate their beauty without hiding it under a piece of cloth.IMG_5709a

There are many other stereotypes associated with Muslim women. What can be done to change it?

I believe that the young generation have got a chance to break stereotypes and show the strengths and talents they possess. The key to lead a beautiful life is only through quality education. I have always been serious when it comes to the education of my children. Today, I am proud to say that all my 3 children are well-read and independent.

To contribute outside home, I conduct beautician training courses and workshops for poor women who dream to work as beauticians one day. I hope this small effort will bring a change in the society.

Other than beautifying people, what are you busy doing these days?

I love doing Eid shopping during the market hustle and bustle. I love buying gifts for my loved ones.

Otherwise, I love watching new trending Pakistani serials these days. I personally feel that these stories help break many typecasts associated with Muslims.IMG_5730a

Ramadan is one special month for Muslims. Along with the tasty cuisines, everyone wants to look their best on Eid. Would you like to tell our readers how to keep themselves fit and beautiful during Ramdan?

To look and feel great, you should take proper rest and let your happiness radiate from you. Beauty is often too narrowly defined. When you feel good about yourself and those around you, it will project into confidence and love.

Any message for our readers?

It is true that most of the violent activities in India have always been related with Muslim community, but don’t presume that every Muslim is a bad human being.

Sultana Hussain is a glowing example from the Muslim community who decided to live a life on her own terms. Let us know if you know women who are not just pursuing their passion but also breaking the age-old stereotypes.  

Photo courtesy: Amit Kacholiya

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