Video blogs or vlogs have become one of the most popular and growing forms of digital content. From accidental beginnings to passionate scripts, Vloggers have taken the internet by storm. One such Vlogger is 19-year-old Ulfat Rafiq from North Kashmir’s Baramulla district.
Ulfat, who did her diploma in civil engineering from Kashmir Government Polytechnic College Srinagar, initially started as a Youtuber and began posting educational content.
“After making some studies related videos, my teachers and friends suggested to start Vlogging firstly because vlogging is very common in Kashmir and also because it was confined to only men,” she told Rising Kashmir.
Following the suggestion of her friends and teachers, Ulfat started making vlogs. She received good response and Youtube channel got 1k subscribers within a week. Currently she has over 20,000 subscribers and is known as a ‘hijabi Vlogger’ with a mask on her face. “The reason I put on a mask is because I want to maintain the Islamic norms,” she added.
She makes three vlogs in a week and according to her earns nearly Rs 10, 000 a month. “When I started posting videos I knew that competition is very high but I thought I might succeed as a YouTuber and in a way be able to help people,” she said.
Initially, she said, her mother, sister and some close friends knew about her Vlogging.
“When my father came to know about my channel, he hesitated at first but then seeing me receiving awards and appreciation, he supported me and advised me to be within the societal norms,” she said.
Ulfat has also started her own production ‘struggle for peace’. There are eight girls who assist her under this production title. She has organised many programmes under this banner. Some of them include ‘Run For Women’, 'Come Back Once Again’, and ‘Drug De-addiction’.
“Come Back Once Again'' was organised in the schools of far flung areas. I chose those government schools where students did not have any stage to showcase their talent. When I met those kids I felt they just needed an opportunity to express themselves. ‘Run For Women’ initiative was a programe in which I explained women empowerment in terms of Islam,” she explained.
The 19-year-old said she did not know much about the technicalities of handling a YouTube channel. “I learnt a lot from people and gradually incorporated them in my work.”
For her work, Ulfat has won many awards and in September this year she was awarded with the Young Leadership Award 2021 by Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha at SKICC, Srinagar. She has also been awarded as the fastest growing Youtuber by IAS Officer Shahid Iqbal Choudhary.
The Baramulla girl said she respects other content creators and wants them to focus more on Kashmir and its culture. “My message to other content creators is that we should create such content in which we bring forth the good things of Kashmir – its culture and beauty and we should not roast or criticise anyone to an extent where he or she stops using YouTube and harms self.
“It takes a lot of hard work to produce any content, so we should not copy anyone’s content. By bringing the positive things about Kashmir forward, our tourists would feel safe here. It is we the content creators who are representing Kashmir to the outside world, so it becomes our duty to be on the right track and represent our Valley positively,” she added.