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Divinity dwells where women are honoured

Divinity dwells where women are honoured
Highlights

The fight to change mindsets must happen every day, and not a show of tokenism one day in the year, the then Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting, M Venkaiah Naidu, asserted sometime back.

The fight to change mindsets must happen every day, and not a show of tokenism one day in the year, the then Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting, M Venkaiah Naidu, asserted sometime back.

Listening to the speech of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, delivered from the ramparts of the Red Fort, this Independence Day, one should recall what Naidu told in the past. 'Naari Shakti' is not incremental. It should be a leap of faith as the Prime Minister too suggested.

But, are we really empowering them? Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, in his I-Day speech, asserted that his government was empowering women in a big way by providing them free bus rides in the national capital.

He also pointed out to the similar announcements made in the past by the AAP government. Is this empowerment of women? Really? The importance of women's emancipation cannot be limited to mere tokenism on a single day.

Every day should be a women's day for putting an end to any sort of discrimination and achieving gender-based equality and women's emancipation, as Naidu had gone ahead to point out rightly in his article.

For this, there is absolute need for change in the mindset of people, particularly men. It is unfortunate that even after seven decades of Independence, we are still talking in terms of ending gender discrimination and the abhorrent practice of female foeticide.

Education, empowerment, entitlement and emancipation are required to usher in a society where women are treated as true equals in all spheres of life. But, to understand these things, the men must be taught properly the value systems. Their education is more important.

They may be graduates, postgraduates or scholars in their respective fields, but do they know how to treat their women with respect and give them equal footing? It is easy to blame Hindu traditions for the neglect of women. We should remember that this is again a result of ignorance. Right from Vedic times, women were respected and venerated.

The best example of this is from Hindu mythology where Lakshmi is the Goddess of wealth and fortune, Saraswathi, the Goddess of learning, and Durga, the Goddess of power. As the famous Sanskrit sloka says, where women are honoured and respected, divinity dwells there and all actions are fruitless where women are not honoured.

In fact, India is personified as Bharat Mata and rivers have been named Saraswati, Ganga, Yamuna, Godavari and Kaveri, Naidu rightly recalled. Indian women have made stellar contributions in several fields including politics, arts, literature, sports and education, among others.

Women are now being inducted into the combat stream of the armed forces and the nation proudly acknowledged the induction of the first three women fighter pilots. A UN report, based on data from 219 countries, said that for every additional year of education for women in the reproductive age, child mortality is reduced by 9.5 per cent.

An OECD report, based on a study of Fortune 500 companies earlier, says that companies with more women directors had significantly higher financial returns. India could become a $ 5 trillion economy faster only if women are given their due status in the society.

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