Meet Rifat Masoodi, the only woman 'bat maker' from Kashmir
Rifat Masoodi, popularly known as ‘batwoman’, is the only woman manufacturer of cricket bats in the Valley.
Rifat has been running her bat manufacturing business for more than 18 years in the Narwara locality of Srinagar. She has set up manufacturing units in Awantipora, Anantnag, and Pampore.
Rifat took over the business after her father-in-law’s death who had started the business in 1970. It was her will to restart the business despite her family being against it. Later, her husband, a football coach supported her.
Breaking the stereotypes of the society of women being limited within their homes, Rifat said,
It is challenging to manage it at times, but I am used to it now. I feel very attached to my work. We send bats to cities like Mumbai and mostly sell with our name
It’s not an easy task to operate a bat manufacturing business for a sport that is widely celebrated and played in India. There are few sporting brand giants in the country like Punjab’s FC Sondhi BAS and Meerut’s SG. Despite their dominance, Hasina is far more satisfied with her small unit which produces 1,500 bats a year and has a loyal customer base.
Rifat uses the famous Kashmir Willow wood, a well-known material for its soft and lightweight properties. From getting the raw material from the source to maintaining the line of communication with her suppliers from other states, Rifat is the sole player in her business.
With only 10 members in her unit, the production doesn’t slow down at any time. If the demand rises, she hires an extra hand to meet the demand. Besides cricket bats, Rifat also manufactures tennis racquets and seasoned bats.