Nari Shakti: Powering the Nation
Padma Bhushan Awardee
Educator, Author, and Philanthropist,
Yatra naryastu pujyante ramante tatra Devata…
This verse was written thousands of years ago in our Bharat, during the times when our ancestors knew the power of women. ‘Women’ not just means a female gender, but much beyond that. They make half the society and a family’s backbone. Where women were respected and enjoy their status, gods reside there. But over centuries, may be due to various reasons, our women were kept inside, unlike those days of thousand years’ ago.
In ancient India, women too were considered equally like men and given opportunities in intellectual debates, administration, property inheritance, scholarly knowledge, etc. Later, women were denied education, social status and to a great extent, her existence. She was only being recognised as a daughter, as a wife or as a mother, and lost her glory of equality and courage.
I feel women are like elephants tied to a tree. For an elephant, a tree is not a great thing to uproot, and she can just pull it out with ease. But the elephant thinks that she has been chained and hence, does not unleash her potential. So are women. They are great managers, root of a family, with hard working habits; but chained to the mindset that they cannot exercise their powers or unleash their potential.
It is possible to think that way because, a starting point is required to trigger any storm or wave. How this point would come, who will help them, who will give them confidence, who will give a policy to help them or who will unlock her potential for the first time? Who will acknowledge her to come out of her smoky kitchens, who can give her a helping hand when she wants to start a new venture, who will appreciate her capacity in sports, health, defence, aviation?
Once it is done, she will grow herself with tremendous capacity in building the nation.
This amazing transformation happened to them, with the right leader who spoke about women and making aware that daughters are precious gifts of god. The leader started talking to all common men and women of his country through a programme with good live and real examples. He made the right promise, with right words and followed in the right direction. Be it ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’, ‘Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana’, ‘Ujjwala Yojana’, ‘Swachh Bharath Mission’, ‘#SelfiewithDaughter’, etc.
Who encouraged the Nari Shakti and made them to remember that they are responsible in country’s building national wealth? This leader did this with ‘Mann ki Baat’ episodes which started in 2014, with various social issues like children getting scared of the exams, parental pressure, women empowerment (Nari Shakti), etc.
The leader is none other than our Honourable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi ji.
The broadcast programme of his talk with people of our country is known as ‘Mann ki Baat’. He speaks with various people from different walks of life, about various causes and finds out the real heroes who are unsung, unheard, unseen, but who have done great work.
When a good leader talks consistently without exaggeration, people listen and believe and then, follow. The entire country has a great belief in him that what he talks, he means, particularly women who have been benefited a lot from his talks and projects. Today, women in different fields have achieved a lot. When women do extraordinary work, they are called and appreciated and nation accepts them; they become role models to many youngsters and thus girl children are dreaming big because they know that policies are favouring them and they are achievable.
Few months ago, I had visited a rural village regarding my work, and was interacting with a group of children. We were exchanging many questions and answers, covering many varied topics. Towards the end of our talk, was my last question to the young girls in the group, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ A bright-eyed girl immediately said, ‘I want to be Zoya Aggarwal.’ I was curious and asked why. She said, ‘You don’t see TV, you don’t read paper? Zoya Agarwal took all women pilot team flying over north pole from San Francisco to Bangalore, covering a distance of 16,000 km. She met our Prime Minister. I want to be like her.’
The other girl said “I want to participate in Olympics, because I will be a role model to other girls and get honoured by Prime Minister.” The third girl said “I want to be a lady entrepreneur, because there are big projects like PMMY which will help me”. Their mother came out and said, ‘Madam, I want to thank Prime Minister ji for getting us LPG. It has saved my eyes from smoke and improved my health.” Another lady said, “I feel safe to go to toilet now.”
Some older women came forward and told ‘We listen ‘Mann ki Baat’ but we do not know how to convey dhanyavad. Madam, in case you meet him or write to him, please convey from all of us that your sisters of this country want to thank him.” Their tears showed how much gratitude they wanted to express. I had told them that I would do it sometime, somewhere, somehow. And, my mind was effortlessly observing the confident transformation in our Nari Shakti.
I remembered the shloka once again, Yatra naryastu pujyante ramante tatra Devata.