74 years ago our beloved country India got its freedom but many people have still been struggling for their personal emancipation. Be it freedom from financial issues, farmers wanting freedom from zamindars, or a partner from a troubled relationship and amidst all these, there are women who are trying hard to break the social barrier which is binding them.
In a country, which is still seen as a “Purush Pradhan”, Lead by men and women are expected to stay indoors, cook and care for the family. But women have more skills then just to make round chapatis. In the early history of India, women have walked in sync with their male counterpart. But as time went by and with various evasions in the country, women started being behind the veil or parda while men continued with their stride. But the desire and the fire within women was nothing less than that of men. With the entry of British Raj, western ideas and mindset came into India as well. We have had many men like Raja Ram Mohan Roy, who labored to help women break free from the customs, which hampered their growth physically and mentally. To free India from the British tyranny, we saw many women rise to the occasion and go beyond their set boundaries. India’s independence struggle would have been incomplete without their contribution.
Rani Laxmi Bai was a part of the great revolt of 1857 and Uda Devi who fought against the British East India Company. Savitri Bai Phule was India’s early feminist, who opposed child marriage and caste discrimination. Maniben Patel followed Gandhi’s footsteps and was active in Non Co-operative movement and Salt Satyagraha. Matangini Hazra gave up her life chanting “Vande Matram” outside the police station where the British Police shot her. Sarojini Naidu earned the sobriquet of “Nightingale of India” by Gandhiji and “Bharat Kokila” by Tagore, was also an important figure in our fight against freedom from Colonial rule. And we had many such women who were brave, audacious and purposeful, who fought fearlessly for our freedom.
India also had Mother Teresa, honoured with Noble Peace Prize, who spent her life serving the people of our country though her “Missionaries of Charity“.
In the political front, Indira Gandhi, who lead our country as the 1st ever female Prime Minster, known for her political intransigencies, went to war with Pakistan and War of Independence with East Pakistan which India won and lead to the creation of Bangladesh. Pratibha Patil became the 1st female President of India in 2007 and in 2009; Meira Kumar took over as the 1stFemale Lok Sabha Speaker. Jayalalithaa was the 1st woman Chief Minister of India to rule the state consecutively by winning assembly elections.
Indian Women have shown their prowess even in business and held high ranking positions with national and international companies. Indra Nooyi, led the international beverage giant and conglomerate PepsiCo. as a Chairman and CEO. Roshni Nadar, Chairperson of HCL technologies, is the 1stwomen to lead a listed IT company in India and also ranked as the richest women in India by IIFL Wealth Hurun India Rich List. India also has women like Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, a biotechnology pioneer, media mogul Shobhana Bhartia and actor Priyanka Chopra who have been named among the world’s 100 most powerful women by Forbes. The Queen of Melody, Lata Mangeshkar mesmerized us with her singing and Aishwarya Rai dazzled us with her beauty and intelligence.
Indian women also held our flag high when likes of Sania Nehwal, Mary Kom, Geeta Phogat, PV Sandhu, Deepika Kumari and many more made India proud in the field of sports while Kalpna Chawal touched the sky, Bachendri Pal climbed the Mt. Everest and Avni Chaturvedi became the first female fighter pilot to fly solo.
All these and every other Indian woman, have broken the stereotype and stood for their right and have been calling the shots in the financial markets, leading the country, providing aid to needy or winning crowns of glory for our country. Women in every sector have been taking a modern and a forward-looking view using their positions to better the world as they grow.
Swami Vivekananda, quoted that, “There is no chance for the welfare of the world unless the condition of women is improved” and Pandit Nehru said “when women move forward the family moves, the villages move, and the nation move.