Country lauds ‘Nari Shakti’ on International Women’s Day, honours achievers


PM Narendra Modi interacted with the Nari Shakti Puraskar (Twitter image)

PM Narendra Modi interacted with the Nari Shakti Puraskar (Twitter image)

From honouring achievers in various spheres to special all-women services, the country on Sunday celebrated ‘Nari Shakti’ amid calls for taking steps for their empowerment and giving them a safe environment.

In a unique social media initiative on International Women’s Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi handed over his accounts on various social media platforms to seven woman achievers from different fields to share their life journeys and messages.

PM Modi shared brief videos of the women on his Twitter and Instagram pages and their achievements on his Facebook page. The achievements were shared under #SheInspiresUs.

President Ram Nath Kovind awarded the Nari Shakti Puraskar to 15 women for their contribution in acting as game changers and catalyst of positive change in the society.

As part of Women’s Day celebrations, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) made entry to monuments across the country under it free for women, while the Air India operated 52 flights with all-women crews.

The Maharashtra government has decided to raise an all-woman battalion of the State Reserve Police Force (SRPF) in Nagpur district and all-women crew operated the Coimbatore KSR Bengaluru UDAY Express.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s in his message on the occasion said, “May you grow from strength to strength.”

He also posted Mahatma Gandhi’s quote on Twitter, “If by strength is meant moral power, then woman is immeasurably man’s superior.”

Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu stressed on educational and economic empowerment for women and said no country could progress if they were denied equal opportunities.

Former prime minister H D Deve Gowda pitched for implementing the Women’s Reservation Bill, while CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury sought to know why it was not tabled in Parliament yet.

Women members of the Trinamool Congress marched in a rally denouncing the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and the National Register of Citizens in central Kolkata. The party’s chief Mamata Banerjee, who is also West Bengal chief minister, tweeted welfare and empowerment of women were the pillars of society. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said women’s participation in armed forces has increased over the years and expressed the view that no door in the forces should remain closed for them.

Chief ministers Amarinder Singh, Manohar Lal Khattar, Bhupesh Baghel, Pramod Sawant and Naveen Patnaik extended their greetings and laid stress upon women empowerment.

Patnaik said a separate department would be formed for self-help groups (SHGs) for the development and empowerment of women.

Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra also tweeted her wishes.”Happy Women’s Day! To all my sisters: Define yourself, celebrate your femininity and stay brave,” she said.

On the occasion, Union minister Smriti Irani called towards building a new India ably enriched by women-led development.

The women chosen to use PM Modi’s accounts included Sneha Mohandoss, who works to eradicate hunger, Malvika Iyer, who survived a gruesome bomb blast that blew off her hands and damaged her legs when she was 13 and is now a motivational speaker, disability activist and model, and Arifa Jaan from Kashmir who promotes traditional crafts of Kashmir.

Others were Kalpana Ramesh, a water conservator, Vijaya Pawar, who promotes handicrafts from the Banjara community of rural Maharashtra, Kalavati Devi of Kanpur, who collects money to build toilets, and Veena Devi, who is from Munger in Bihar and made her name by growing mushrooms under her bed due to lack of space.

Those who were awarded the Nari Shakti Puraskar included a lady mason, a centenarian athlete, Jharkhand’s lady Tarzan and a “mushroom mahila”.

To mark the occasion, a jawan of the border guarding force ITBP, Arjun Kheriyal, composed and sung a Hindi song. The 7:24 minute audio-visual song, titled ‘Lado, meri lado’, was released by the force on its official social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook. Kheriyal is a singing talent of the force.