Sometimes you don’t need too many of your words. You just need to be an instrument to spread the words of others. No, not just the words, but the works, the really good, noble and inspiring works of others. Today’s post is like that.
Today’s post is about India’s daughters who make me proud to be one of their sisters. I share about only a few such daughters, but there are countless others. All across the length and breadth of this vast country.
Come, listen to their stories.
Daughter # 1: Neelam, Haryana
Thirty-one-year old Neelam is the sarpanch of Chappar village in Haryana. She ran in the village elections for the post of sarpanch because she wanted to see a positive change in her village. The state of Haryana has been notorious for having a highly skewed sex ratio owing primarily to neglect of girl-child and sex-selective abortion.
Under the leadership of Neelam, this has begun to change. Chappar villagers now distribute sweets and welcome every newborn girl child. She has been encouraging girls to continue their education. More women are now actively participating in the village matters.
Watch a video interview with Neelam to learn more about her work here.
Daugther # 2: Sindhutai Sapkal (Mai), Maharashtra
Sindhutai Sapkal is an Indian social worker known particularly for her work for raising orphan children.
Born in 1948 in a very poor family, she attended school only until 4th grade. As was the custom in those times in her village community, she was married off at the age of 10. Her abusive husband abandoned her when she was 20 years old and pregnant. Her personal struggles became her inspiration for her life-long work which has given her the title of Mai (mother), Mother of Orphans.
As of 2012, Sindhutai Sapkal has nurtured about 1,442 orphaned children. Many of her adopted children are well-educated lawyers and doctors. Some, including her biological daughter, are running their own independent orphanages. One remarkable fact about Mai’s life is that she donated her biological child to a trust running an orphanage in Pune, only to eliminate the feeling of partiality between her daughter and her adopted children.
Mai has been honoured with hundreds of awards. All the award money goes to create and maintain homes for her ever-growing family of sons, daughters and grandchildren.
Read more about Mai’s work here.
Daughter # 3: Kudumbashree, Women’s self-help group, Kerala
In September 2014, the state of Jammu & Kashmir faced its worst flood in 100 years. The disaster took the lives of more than 200 people, and left thousands of people homeless.
Indians from across the country came forward to extend their support. Food packets, clothes and medicines and other supplies were sent across. But there was one essential woman-specific requirement that was ignored by all – sanitary napkins.
Enter the women of Kerala’s biggest women’s self-help organization, Kudumbashree. In association with Get Closer, a CSR management company, the women manufactured thousands of sanitary napkins in just 2 days, and were able to transport them urgently to their “sisters” in Kashmir.
Read more about this story here.
Daughter # 4 and many more:
Theirs are the stories in which we will find lessons for not only finding one’s strength to fight back, stand up for one’s honour, self-respect and rebuild one’s life. Theirs are the stories in which we may also find some powerful lessons for how to fight against social evils such as violence toward women. These are the daughters of India who have shown the path of courage and self-respect to countless other women.
How I wish we will make films after films about their courage, about the way they inspire so many women.
Such positive stories are all around us. Of women who make it happen.
On the occasion of International Women’s Day, I salute these daughters of India. And all those unnamed billions of women all across the length and breadth of India and in the world, who have in their own little or big ways made a difference to the lives of people around them.
…no law can liberate women unless they liberate themselves; likewise, men too, in spite of all their habits of domination, will cease to be slaves only when they have freed themselves from all inner enslavement. (The Mother)
To read readers’ responses to this post, click HERE for its previous version.
Women AND Men: To read this blog’s IWD special post from last year, click here
Linking this with Blog-a-rhythm’s IWD Linkup.
Linking this with ABC Wednesday, H: H is for Happen