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“This women’s day let us salute the power of Indian women who proved their mettle in every field”-Puri

“This women’s day let us salute the power of Indian women who proved their mettle in every field”-Puri

Jaswant Singh Puri/ March 8,2023

International Women’s Day is celebrated on 8th March annually. It is a global day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. It was started in 1991 to celebrate women’s equality.

International Women’s Day was solemnized for the first time in Australia, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland on 19th March, 1991. However, it was agreed to be marked annually on 8th March according to Gregorian calendar. The United Nations marked it for the first time in 1975. The world has witnessed a significant change in women’s status and society.The theme for 2023 is: DigitALL: Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality. Women have madecontributions to the digital world against all odds but still their potential remains unlocked due to persistent gender gap. Advancement in digital technology offers immense opportunities to address humanitarian challenges.The aim of the IWD 2023 bears a campaign theme #EmbraceEquity.

“This women’s day let us salute the power of Indian women who proved their mettle in every field”-Puri

All the countries of the world are endeavoring earnestly about women empowerment. India has also supported the cause of women equality with full force. Gains in this field are clearly visible in India. We should hire female employees because it imparts wide range of skills and ideas to enhance profit.But women should not be subjected to any harassment and discrimination.

The list of women who have excelled in the field of science, technology, space, literature, culture, film industry, defense, politics, medicine, innovation technology, peace and many more is endless.Mother Teresa, an Albanian Indian Catholic nun,is an apostle of love and peace. She was awarded Nobel Peace Prize in 1979.  Droupdi Murmu has been serving as the President of India since 15th July, 2022. Pratibha Devi Singh Patil served as the First Woman President of India from 2007-2012. Sonia Gandhi is the longest serving President of the Indian National Congress. Indira Gandhi was the First Woman to get Bharat Ratna in 1971. She was a dynamic stateswoman who served as the Prime Minister of India from 1966 to 1977 and 1980 to 1984.

Rajkumari Amrit Kaur was the first woman Cabinet Minister of Health in 1952. Tarkeshwari Sinha was the first Deputy Finance Minister in Nehru’s Cabinet. Vijay Lakshmi Pandit, the sister of Jawaharlal Nehru, was in the Ministry of Local Self-Government. Dr.Sushila Nayyar was the first female Minister of State (Health) from 1962 to 1967.

Sushma Swaraj was a celebrated politician who served Union Minister of External Affairs of India in Modi Cabinet. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee became the first female Chief Minister of the state. Jayalalitha was a successful actress turned politician and remained the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu for more than 14 years. Mayawati has also the distinction to remain the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh. There are 78 women politicians elected as Members of Parliament in the 17thLokSabha. Sheila Dixit was the Chief Minister of Delhi from 1998 to 2013 and became the Governor of Kerala on 11th March, 2014. Vasundhara Raye Scindia was the first Woman Chief Minister of Rajasthan. Meenakshi Lekhi is the Minister of State for External Affairs and Culture of India.

“This women’s day let us salute the power of Indian women who proved their mettle in every field”-Puri

Moreover, Shruti Choudhary, Priya Dutt, Dimple Yadav are the young politicians. Harsimrat Kaur Badal is an example of grace and brains who was the Food Processing Minister of India. Smriti Irani is an actress turned politician in the BJP Government and functioning as Human Resource Development Minister. NirmalaSitharaman is askilled and hard-working Finance Minister in the Union Cabinet. Some other names to glorify the Women Empowerment are:ShaziaIlmi, Jyoti Mirdha, PriyankaChaturvedi, Shaina NC andPankajaMunde. Ahilyabai Holkar, Sarojini Naidu (Poetess and Politician). ArunaAsif Ali, AnandiGopal Joshi, Sucheta Kriplani, SavitribaiPhule are well-known.Anna Chandy was the first Female Judge (1937) and the first High Court Judge in India. Kalpana Chawla created a history when she flew on the Space Shuttle Columbia in 1997 as a mission specialist. Aruna Asaf Ali was awarded the Bharat Ratna posthumously.

In the world of glamour, glitter, music etc. our Indian Bollywood Industry is beaming with diverse colours. DeepikaPadukone, Alia Bhatt, Priyanka Chopra, KareenaKapoor, ShraddhaKapoor, KanganaRanaut, Anushka Sharma, Jacqueline Farnandez, Katrina Kaif, SonamKapoor, VidyaBalan, AishwaryaRaiBachchan, Parineeti Chopra, ‘Dhak-Dhak Girl’Madhuri Dixit, Kajol, Rani Mukherji, ShilpaShetty, BipashaBasu, SonakshiSinha, NehaDhupia, Ameesha Patel, EshaDeol, Sameera Reddy, PreityZinta, Sunny Leone, ArchanaPuran Singh etc. have added new zest to the world of Indian Cinema. Moving back to the world of cinema of 1950s to 1990s, the name of Madhubala, Nargis, Meena Kumari, Suraiya, Noorjehan, HemaMalini, Padma Bhushan AwardeeSharmila Tagore, Rekha, Sridevi, SmitaPatil, Neetu Singh, ParveenBabi, Dimple Kapadia, ZeenatAman, Mumtaz, SairaBanu, Sadhna, ShabanaAzmi, Vyjanthimala, WaheedaRehman, KaminiKaushal, Geeta Bali, Devika Rani, Asha Parekh, Jaya Bachchan, JuhiChawla, Tabu, Babita, Nanda are unforgettable glamorous actresses for their unforgettable roles.

Samantha Ruth Prabhu, RashmikaMandanna, RaashiKhanna, Nithya Menen, Pooja Hedge, Shruti Hassan, Nayanthara, Anushka Shetty, Taapsee are glamorous South Indian heroines who have created a stir in film scenario. Raveena Tandon was honoured with Padma Shri. Rukhmani Devi was awarded with Padma Bhushan in 1956. Kangana Ranaut was conferred with Padma Shri in 2008. Asha Parekh was honoured with Padma Shri in 1992 and Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 2020. The list is long for the glamorous world.

“This women’s day let us salute the power of Indian women who proved their mettle in every field”-Puri

Music is the apotheosis of mental faculty. There is a brigade of female singers with melody and grace.‘Melody Queen’ Padma Bhushan Awardee Lata Mangeshkar, Padma Vibhushan Awardee and Dada Saheb Phalke Awardee Asha Bhonsle, Usha Mangeshkar, Sunidhi Chauhan, Alka Yagnik, Kavita Krishnamurthy, NehaKakkar, Neeti Mohan, UshaUthup, Harshdeep Kaur, Monali Thakur, RekhaBhardwaj, Suchitra Singh, Kavita Seth, AnuradhaPaudwal etc. are the singers with mesmerizing voice.

The Royal City of Patiala has the distinction in several fields. Preneet Kaur has been the MP and Minister of State in the Ministry of External Affairs. She is the wife of former Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh. RajmataMohinder Kaur is a known figure among the philanthropists of Patiala. Navjot Kaur Sidhu, wife of Former Cricketer and Politician Navjot Singh Sidhu is from Medical Profession. For the first time, Women Brigade has managed ‘Patiala Heritage Festival’ under the Woman IAS Officer Sakshi Sawhney – theFirst Lady Deputy Commissioner of Royal City, Patiala. Sunita Dhir is a renowned Punjabi actress and a Professor at the Theatre and Television Department of Punjabi University, Patiala. Neeru Bajwa, Seema Kaushal, Gurpreet Bhangu are also captivating for their acting in Pollywood Cinema. NeenaTiwana is also a renowned name in the realm of theatre and Chairperson,HarpalTiwana Auditorium, Patiala. Dalip Kaur Tiwana was a famous Punjabi novelist and short-story writer. Professor Navjot Kaur is working as Registrar of Punjabi University, Patiala.

The world of literature is booming with female poets and writers like Subhadra Kumari Chauhan, Mahadevi Varma, Jhumpa Lahiri, Arundhati Roy, Anita Desai, ShashiDeshpande, Toru Dutt, Anita Nair, Krishna Sobti,Kamla Das etc.

Iconic beauty of RajmataGayatri Devi of Jaipur was an epitome of elegance. Anita Delgado Briones, dancer and singer was the Maharani of Kapurthala. Women are excelling in the world of defencelike Shiva Chauhan. Prof. Inderjit Kaur Sandhu was the first Woman Vice-Chancellor of Punjabi University from 1995-1997. She was appointed to look after the activities of Women Empowerment Programme. C.M. of Madhya Pradesh Shivraj Chauhan has declared Ladli BehnaYojna under which Rs. 1000/- per month will be deposited in the accounts of women as financial help.

Sakshi Swahney IAS DC Patiala

The women have also excelled in the field of sports like cricket, tennis and badminton. Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Women Residential Cricket Academy was set up in Dharmshala in 2009 to boost women cricket. Women’s Premier League (WPL) has enabled the girls to take a giant leap in the world of Cricket. Harmanpreet will lead Mumbai in WPL.

Indian Medical Association Patiala has celebrated International Women’s Day on 7th March on the International Women’s Theme: “DigitALL and Embrace Equity”. Diviya Negi, a confident and vibrant orator from Uttrakhand addressed the G-20 Summit attired in traditional dress ‘Sari’ in a powerful tone.

Kiran Bedi was the first to join the Officer Rank of the Indian Police Service in 1972. She also served as the Governor of Puducherry. Visually impaired Dr. Kiran is functioning as Assistant Professor in Punjabi University, Patiala. She is also working as Coordinator for Disability Studies Centre. Dr. RituLehal is the Director, Women Studies Cell, Punjabi University, Patiala. Kanwardeep Kaur, a 2013 batch IPS Officer of Punjab Cadre is likely to be the 2nd Woman SSP of Chandigarh. Shruti Gupta is a Kathak-Dancer with two-time Limca Book of Records holder.

Young and energetic Ria Puri, daughter of Rahul Puri is an equestrian and NCC  cadet. She has won gold medal in Horse Riding at PPS, Nabha. Bibi Amtus Salam, the adopted daughter of Mahatma Gandhi was born in 1907 in Patiala who performed ceaseless work for Hindu-Muslim unity.

Many cheers for women who struggle against all odds to perform and achieve the best. And cheers for those men who support them.

Jaswant Singh Puri

Note: This article is dedicated to Smt. Alka Puri wife of Dr. Ajit Singh Puri and mother of Jaswant Singh Puri.

(The views expressed are personal)


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