Commemorating International Women’s Day

Only complete emancipation and empowerment of women can unlock the crate of India’s development. Hence the need of the hour is bringing women to the forefront as they walk with their male compatriots towards the path of nation’s progress at an equal pace. That should be the pledge of us all in this year’s ‘Women’s’ day. This pledge is more significant at a time when India is slowly becoming a dangerous place for women to live in. This disappointing fact has been validated in a 2011 survey done by the Thomson Reuters Foundation where India was ranked 4th in case of lack of security for women. Even in a progressive city like Bangalore, where women and men are almost equally employed in the professional sector, a kind of fear persists in the minds of those women working till late hours about their safety. It is this kind of persistent fear that holds the nation back from progressing forward.

It is sadly ironic that such kinds of stigma fall on a nation where women are raised as the divine representations of wealth, learning and strength as understood from the following slokas:

Ya Devi sarva-bhuteshu, Vidya rupena sansthita, namastasye namastasye namastasye namo namah

Yaa Devi sarva-bhuteshu, Shakti rupena Sansthita, namastasye namastasye namastasye namo namah

The nation itself is glorified in our national song as ‘Mother, I Salute to Thee’. But sadly in the present time, instead of salutations this mother of ours has been savagely pillaged. In the recent years, the National Crime Records Bureau gave very high numbers in cases involving rape, molestation and torture. But as the saying goes, darkness and desolation are often followed up by lights of hope.

Belonging to a family which is female-centric, consisting of his wife and two daughters, Shri Ananth Kumar finds the cause of women safety and empowerment indispensable. It has always been a key part of his vision to assist in bringing women in equal footing at all aspects of professional life. This is showcased in his involvement in women welfare which includes him regularly contributing to ‘Abalashrama’ (an orphanage specifically for girls) as well as supporting educational institutions run solely by Women such as Mahila Seva Samaja, Sharada Vidya Peeta, and Mahila Mandali through his MPLAD funds. The high dais that a woman rightfully deserves in a family was put into the administrative context by Shri Ananth Kumar during his stint as Urban Development Minister, as his ‘VAMBAY- Housing and community toilet scheme’ ensured that houses are registered in the name of the female family members.

Credit should also be given to the Bharatiya Janata Party who like Shri Kumar have done more than just paying mere lip service to the concept of women welfare. It must not be forgotten that it was Shri Vajpayee’s government that passed the ‘National Policy for the Empowerment of Women’ in 2001 along with launching the self-help groups based programme ‘Swayamsidha’. Included among the various recent schemes that have been initiated in the BJP-ruled states to empower women are : ‘Kanya khelwani’ – education programme for the girl child in Gujarat; ‘Bhagya Lakshmi’ and ‘Ladli Lakshmi’ – social and economic security schemes in Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh; ‘Janani Suraksha Yojna’ and ‘Madilu’ in Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh and ‘Janani Shishu Suraksha Yojna’ in Rajasthan.

But the most important step to ensure the safety and empowerment of women in this nation would be to alter our mindset and center it more towards gender equality, thus assuring welfare for all. With this message and the hope for a better future for the women in this nation as well as worldwide, let us commemorate the International Women’s Day.

Womens Day