Worship of Divine Women Goddesses as prevalent in India has not been seen in any other part of the World. Reason : Indian tradition holds Women in high esteem. Anthropologists ascribe this to : In times when humans lived as disparate ethnic groups it was women who provided the lead to all their actions. They were the ones who are now worshipped as Goddesses. Even today, the abilities and deeds of women in India are hardly surprising. Tamil revolutionary poet, Subramania Bharati, has hailed women in his poem thus : ” Femininity relieves and remedies all sufferings “.
From the times of Vedanta Period – Sangam Period in Tamil, 3rd Century B.C. to 4th Century A.D. – the record of accomplishments of women have been a matter of pride to all women.
Queens who ruled people ; enlightened women who provided ways to better acquaint with the Lord ; and women skilled in fighting as leaders of people are not few. These women who have etched their names in our history have not just reflected the status of women of those ages but live in our memory as examples of ‘women power’ in society today.
Lakshmibai, Rani of Jhansi, one of the legendary figures of the Indian rebellion of 1857 and a symbol of resistance to the British Raj is too well known for her fight with her child strapped on her back. It is a historic fact that the British could not step into the soil of Jhansi until her demise.
The famous Tamil Saint/Poet Avvaiyar is known for counselling Kings of the period like Adhiyaman besides writing poems in volumes like ‘Purananuru’.
Examples of women with extraordinary mental power who have created a name for themselves in history abound.
There are also women who created history through their siblings. Veermata Jijabai, the eternal mother symbol of faith and courage, created history through her son, Shivaji, who founded the great Maratha Empire.
References to such women from history and puranas recounting the birth and deeds of Women of Valour, Skills, Creation, Learning, Poems .. .. evoke little in the minds of the present generation who are too willing to dismiss them as just fertile imagination. Their insouciance to these adventurous acts of Women in history often finds the reply thus : ” It is fine in those periods ; it is also fine to listen to and praise their acts ; but today’s world is changing swiftly ; it may not be practical now “. Hence, the need for citing examples of Women’s Skills (not so much valor or bravery in war) in our productive activities of economy. The qualities that make women – responsibility, sense of duty , humanitarian characteristics , love/affection , and dedication have never been in doubt.
Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic threatening human lives the world over, it is only justified to learn from the good events emerging in our society. Four examples are given below :
1. 81 year old Saroja of Kandhampatti village, Salem District, Tamil Nadu, makes her living from the meagre resources left behind by her deceased husband. She draws pension. She uses a portion of that money (pension) to sew masks and distribute them to the local workers and other people in the village. She also distributes “Kabasura Kudineer”, an Ayurveda mixture of water to almost everyone in the village daily. She makes a demand estimate everyday to fulfill this. With little signs of ageing and with scarce resources but with strong humanitarian bent of mind she continues her service .
2. 84 year old Nanjammal of Thoppampatti village, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu. She grows vegetables in her kitchen garden and distributes saplings free of cost in a bid to boost the culture of “Kitchen Gardens”. More than 100 families grow kitchen gardens now in the village. Ultimate aim is to create “Village Kitchen Gardens”. Significant in the wake of shooting vegetable prices in these days. Every family can save ₹ 6000/- per year according to her. Tomato, chilli, brinjal, bottle gourd, greens, drumstick are grown generally. She also makes natural pesticides from neem leaves and custard apple. The village is now self sufficient in vegetables. The village has become the most active in the region and the lady Nanjammal has been extremely successful in transforming the village and the region too. Again, with little signs of ageing ; with little resources but with strong sense of dedication and focus she continues her service. She is confident that this will contribute to the village economy in a big way in future.
Are these two old women any less dedicated than Avvaiyar is the question raised by people around these regions. Answer is a firm “No”.
3. 15 year old Roshini of Ajnaul Village, Bhind district, Madhya Pradesh. Roshini used to cycle 24 km on a daily basis to attend school. She scored 98.5℅ in Class 10 Board Exam (State Board), and stood 8th in ranking. Her father is a farmer by occupation, Purshottam Bhadoria. High on motivation and support, he helped his daughter work hard and make everyone in the family proud. Roshini’s dream is to do IAS. There are lakhs of Roshinis living in every district, every state, and every region in India. They have something to emulate here.
Again, Subramania Bharathiar said : “It is the duty of women to provide education to children “.
4. 15 year old Jyoti Kumari of Dharbhanga in Bihar. Jyoti Kumari cycled nearly 1200 km last week with her father, Mohan Paswan, (who was hurt in an accident that left him unable to continue his job of driving an e-rickshaw) riding as pillion to reach her hometown in Bihar from Delhi. It took her 8 days of tiresome cycling at a stretch. This happened amidst COVID-19 struggle that shattered the lives of lakhs of people. The military personnel in that region in Bihar gave her prizes. She also received ₹ 100000/- from Mankind Pharma for her Commitment to her parents ; and a free IIT-JEE tuition by Bihar’s widely acclaimed Coaching Centre, Super-30. Cycle Federation of India has also invited her for trials and rewards.
Jyoti Kumari is now an example of the will power and pertinacity of Indian Women in general.
This heroic act of Jyoti Kumari went viral in Social Media throughout the world that US President, Donald Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, immediately recognised the heroism displayed by the girl acknowledging with the photo of Jyoti Kumari with words : ” An accomplishment full of love and affection of the highest order”.
There are also lakhs and lakhs of Jyoti Kumaris in India. Strength of India lies in the strength of the minds of such individuals.
Is Jyoti Kumari any less courageous than Lakshmibai, Jhansi ki Rani ? No.
Civilizations may change ; Seasons may change ; Science may control the World ; Whole earth may shrink to become a small village. But, there can be no doubt that the minds of Women filled with ‘Zeal and Stubbornness’ will cross all the hurdles not just to stabilize itself, but also to stand tall leading the World.
” Dieu avec nous “
Wednesday, July 15, 2020 – 2.09 p.m. (IST)
Tidbit : ” She needed a hero ; so that’s what she became “.