India celebrates Women's Day
Even as the danger of sexual assault, physical abuse, rape, molestation, domestic violence and gender bias attitudes continue to veil the society and pose a threat to women, India on Saturday celebrated the International Women's Day to convey respect, love and appreciation towards every woman.
Started as a socialist political event for the first time in 1909, the day blended in the culture of many countries, primarily in Europe, including Russia. In some regions, the day lost its political flavour and became simply an occasion for men to express their love for women in a way.
International Women's Day is now celebrated on Mar 8 every year and pays tribute to all forms of womanhood.
The UN theme for International Women's Day 2014 is "Equality for Women is Progress for All."
On the occasion of International Women's Day, Indian President Pranab Mukherjee extended his wishes to women across the country.
"On the occasion of the International Women's Day, I extend warm greetings and good wishes to women in all parts of our country. I thank them for their invaluable contribution in the making of our great nation," his message read.
"Women in India have attained greatness through the ages - in political, academic and spiritual spheres. They enjoyed freedom and equal participation in public life in ancient India. In the Rig Veda, women are placed at the highest pedestal - 'Yatr nariyastu poojayante ramante tatr devah' or where women are worshipped, Gods preside there. The Taittriya Upanishad teaches us 'Matridevo bhava' or 'Let your mother be God to you'," Mukherjee stated.
"Swami Vivekananda rightly said, "All nations have attained greatness by paying proper respect to women. That country and that nation which does not respect women has never become great."
He said women empowerment is very important in nation building.
"The principle of gender equality is also enshrined in the Indian Constitution. Not only does the Constitution grant equality to women, but also empowers the State to adopt measures of positive discrimination in favour of women. Empowerment of women must be regarded as not only an element of our efforts towards gender equality but also a critical step for stimulating their full participation in nation building," his message read.
"We as a society must work towards changing negative perceptions about women. Women should be provided a safe, secure and congenial environment in which their talents can flower and they can contribute their full share in the building of our nation," it said.
He urged the nation to work towards the protection of women.
"On this International Women's Day, let us resolve to redouble our efforts for the protection and welfare of women. May the celebrations inculcate in every member of our society the highest respect for women," Mukherjee stated.
While people celebrated this day with fervour in urban areas and females in such parts do get respect for their achievements, the story is completely opposite in the rural parts of the country.
Quite ironically and traditionally, women in those parts are still not getting their basic rights and fighting hard for their existence.
Speaking on the Women's Day occasion, famous psychologist Anuja Kapur said, "The condition of women in some part of the country is really a matter of concern and concerned authority should look into this matter as we are facing these problems from past so many years and not only authorities are blameful for this situation we equally are responsible for this shameful condition of the women. Lets pledge on this women's day that as an individual we all do work to make their condition better and hope next year on this day we will really celebrating this occasion with full of happiness and joy."
"But the agony of women not just remains constricted to the rural areas, as even in urban areas, women are still seen as materials of lust satisfaction. Series of recent rapes will vouch for the same. A girl is not even safe in a city like Delhi in the evening," said Reena Basu, a working lady in Kolkata.
Despite the bitter side of it, Women's Day gained much importance with the passage of time and it is celebrated like Valentine's Day or Mother's Day.
Banking on the occasion, several companies launch different products and offer huge discounts on this day.
Men are seen gifting their dear ones one this day to show love, affection and respect.
Several organisations also marked this day with various interactive sessions, discussions and debates on women related issues.
Popular internet search engine Google commenced the celebration of International Women's Day on Friday with their search homepage featuring an attractive doodle.
It featured multiple ankhs, the ancient Egyptian symbol which stands for Venus and is used to represent the feminine form.
With a play button in the second 'O' of Google, the doodle starts a video featuring many women from around the world. The likes of Mary Kom, Asha Bhosle, Malala Yousafzai, Dora - the explorer, muppet Chamki from Galli Galli Sim Sim, the Indian equivalent of Sesame Street, who wishes everyone 'Happy Women's Day' in Hindi, are among the women personalities featured in the video.
It ends with the message 'Happy International Women's Day!' with the share, music and search options all contained in ankhs in blue, red and yellow.
Celebrities and politicians also made the use of social networking site Twitter to share their feeling on this day.
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi wished all women on Twitter, posting: "On International Women's Day, I bow to Nari Shakti! Let us reaffirm our commitment to make women an integral part of our development journey."
Union Minister Shashi Tharoor tweeted: "On International Women's Day, remembering Sunanda, a woman who epitomised the quest for change."
Former IPS officer Kiran Bedi tweeted:"What determines whether a society is strong and harmonious,or otherwise is role of women ( & MEN ) in it. Happy Women's Day"@SriSri thanku)"
Actress Shabana Azmi posted: "Let your girls fly & reach for new heights. Let them touch the sky!"
Sharing a picture of working women, BJP leader Arun Jaitley posted:"International Women's Day."
Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan tweeted:"Today on International Women's Day, let us pledge to treat the symbol of strength, sacrifice, forgiveness & devotion with profound respect."
BJP leader and actress Smriti Z Irani wrote: "Question is not who is going to let me, question is who is going to stop me. A salute to women for their perseverance, grace n substance."
Cricketer Virat Kohli also wished women on Twitter and wrote:"Happy women's day."
Jewellery designer Farah Khan tweeted: "Happy Women's Day to every woman out there who puts her loved ones needs ahead of hers, who loves unconditionally, &gives without a thought"
Journalist Barkha Dutt tweeted:"To the women who came before and fought our battles for us. thank you. Every day is still a war, but you made soldiers of us all."
Actress Bipasha Basu posted:"Love Yourself should be the philosophy of each woman:) Look after your beautiful self,nurture yourself, celebrate yourself."
Actress Neha Dhupia wished all women by saying:"#happywomensday girlfriends .... Raise a toast to the woman in u everyday! Stay #precious !"
Actor Riteish Deshmukh tweeted:"Happy Women's Day - more power to you guys - love n respect always -"
Actor Arjun Rampal wrote: "Safety,compassion,dignity, lots of love to all the women in the world, who just make it such a beautiful place.More power to you. Respect."
Actor Anupam Kher wished by saying:"Happy International Women's Day. Thank You.:)"
Actress Madhuri Dixit-Nene tweeted:"Happy Women's day!"
Sharing a picture, BJP president Rajnath Singh tweeted: "As the world celebrates 'International Women's Day' today the BJP reiterates its commitment to women empowerment."
Actor Abhishek Bachchan tweeted:"I believe girls and women everywhere have a right to equal opportunity and protection. RT and #chimein if you agree!!"
(Posted on 09-03-2014)