In ancient India, women occupied a very important position, in fact a superior position to, men. It is a culture whose only words for strength and power are feminine -“Shakti” means “power” and “strength.” All male power comes from the feminine. Literary evidence suggests that kings and towns were destroyed because a single woman was wronged by the state. For example, Valmiki’s Ramayana teaches us that Ravana and his entire clan was wiped out because he abducted Sita. Veda Vyasa’s Mahabharatha teaches us that all the Kauravas were killed because they humiliated Draupadi in public. Elango Adigal’s Sillapathigaram teaches us Madurai, the capital of the Pandyas was burnt because Pandyan Nedunchezhiyan mistakenly killed her husband on theft charges. In Vedic times women and men were equal as far as education and religion was concerned. Women participated in the public sacrifices alongside men. One text mentions a female rishi Visvara. Some Vedic hymns, are attributed to women such as Apala, the daughter of Atri, Ghosa, the daughter of Kaksivant or Indrani, the wife of Indra. Apparently in early Vedic times women also received the sacred thread and could study the Vedas. The Haritasmrti mentions a class of women called brahmavadinis who remained unmarried and spent their lives in study and ritual. Panini’s distinction between arcarya (a lady teacher) and acaryani (a teacher’s wife), and upadhyaya (a woman preceptor) and upadhyayani ( a preceptor’s wife) indicates that women at that time could not only be students but also teachers of sacred lore. He mentions the names of several noteworthy women scholars of the past such as Kathi, Kalapi, and Bahvici. The Upanishads refer to several women philosophers, who disputed with their male colleagues such as Vacaknavi, who challenged Yajnavalkya. The Rig Veda also refers to women engaged in warfare. One queen Bispala is mentioned, and even as late a witness as Megasthenes (fifth century B.C. E.) mentions heavily armed women guards protecting Chandragupta’s palace. Bible in India Louis Jaccoliot, the celebrated French author of the : Hindoo Origin of Hebrew and Christian Revelation said: “India of the Vedas entertained a respect for women amounting to worship; a fact which we seem little to suspect in Europe when we accuse the extreme East of having denied the dignity of woman, and of having only made her an instrument of pleasure and of passive obedience.” He also said: “What! here is a civilization, which you cannot deny to be older than your own, which places the woman on a level with the man and gives her an equal place in the family and in society.”Sitting on Judgment on Hindus? The Desert Bloc -Inventors of religion, worldâ€™s three important religions, (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) were, so to say, â€˜backward compatibleâ€™. Anti-feminist, none of the three religions have female goddesses unllike the Indic civilization. Western Christian world gave women the right to vote, mostly between 1920-1950. Low levels of marital success are institutionalized and instead prostitution levels are high. Recent incidents of sati and rash of "dowrymurders" have made headlines not only in India, but all around the world,and have focused attention to women’s issues in India. In the wake of thediscussion it emerged that Indian women’s problems are not only problems ofHindu women or problems caused by traditional Hinduism. MediapaintsIndia as a dangerous place. But if statistics can be trusted, a study by HindusAgainst the Abuse of Women presented at the Second International Conference onBride Burning and Dowry Deaths in India puts USA in the lead of familialfemicide. It says USA murders of women committed by "intimaterelations" are 15 per year per million population.
Reliance Foundation chairperson Nita Ambani has been named the most
powerful businesswoman in Asia by Forbes, leading a list of 50 women
leaders from the region that includes eight from India.
SBI chairman and managing director Arundhati Bhattacharya has been
ranked second on the 2016 ‘Asia’s 50 Power Businesswomen’ list that
features trailblazing women from China, Indonesia, Australia, Vietnam,
Thailand, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, the Philippines and New
Apart from Ambani and Bhattacharya, six women from India have made to
the list, including Mu Sigma CEO Ambiga Dhiraj (14), Welspun India CEO
Dipali Goenka (16), Lupin CEO Vinita Gupta (18), ICICI Bank CEO Chanda
Kochhar (22), VLCC Health Care Founder and vice-chairman Vandana
Luthra (26) and Biocon founder Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw (28).
The list acknowledges the “inroads women are making in the business
world but gender inequality persists. Women are best positioned to
know what it will take to get more of them into commanding roles in
the workforce and keep them there,” Forbes said.
Describing her as the “first lady of Indian business”, Forbes said
Ambani, 52, is a “power near the throne” and makes her debut on the
list because of her rising profile in Reliance Industries, led by her
husband and India’s richest man Mukesh Ambani.
“In a country where billionaire wives tend to remain in the shadow of
their husbands, Nita’s rising profile in the Reliance empire is
unusual and earns her a debut spot,” on the power businesswomen
ranking this year, Forbes
A pan-India survey on the burden of diabetes has shown that
Chandigarh is on course to becoming the country’s diabetes capital
while Punjab is a close second. Punjab has emerged the national leader
in obesity, hypertension and dyslipidemia, all risk factors for major
ICMR’s (Indian Council of Medical Research) India Diabetes Study, a
door-to-door survey of males and females above 20 years of age is the
first national study by the government to determine the exact national
prevalence of diabetes and pre-diabetes in India by calculating
Discussing the findings on the occasion of World Health Day (whose
theme this year is diabetes control) today, ICMR chief Soumya
Swaminathan said: “We have found wide regional variations in the
prevalence of diabetes and pre-diabetes in India. Meghalaya has the
lowest diabetes prevalence at 4.5 per cent, while Chandigarh has the
highest at 13.6 per cent, followed by Punjab at 9.8 per cent.
Pre-diabetes prevalence is also the highest for Chandigarh at 14.6 per
cent and the lowest for Mizoram at 5.8 per cent.”
Results are currently available for 15 states with the ICMR set to
cover the remaining 13 states soon. In every state, the sample size
was 4,000 (2,800 rural plus 1,200 urban).
Findings show Punjab as the most obese and hypertensive on account of
its prosperity and consumption patterns. Punjab has the highest
prevalence of both generalised and abdominal obesity at 40.5 and 57.2
per cent, respectively. Four in every 10 (44 per cent) people in
Punjab reported hypertension, the highest in India.
Even for dyslipimedia (high fats in bloodstream), Punjab has the
highest prevalence (92.3 per cent) among the 15 states for which data
has been revealed. If unmanaged, dyslipimedia can cause heart disease,
heart attack, peripheral artery disease or stroke.
“Being prosperous states, Chandigarh and Punjab have reported high
diabetes, obesity and blood pressure prevalence. What is more worrying
is the high burden of pre-diabetes with Chandigarh topping the chart,”
Swaminathan said calling for a policy to regulate salt and sugar
levels in foods in the presence of Health Minister JP Nadda at an
ICMR’s Tanvir Kaur, who led the study, further pointed out that it
showed worrying levels of physical inactivity across urban and rural
India. “While 68.2 per cent of urban subjects were found physically
inactive, the percentage for rural India was 52.4. This explains why
India is set to be the world diabetes capital. The survey is
significant. The last diabetes study was done by the ICMR in the
1970s. We needed accurate data to formulate a policy,” Kaur said.
India has 60 million diabetics among its population of 1.3 billion
(estimated national prevalence 7.8 per cent), and is next only to
China. Half of diabetics in India don’t know their status, making
treatment that much more difficult. Untreated diabetes can cause
blindness, loss of foot, renal and heart diseases.
The states surveyed so far are: Chandigarh (UT), Punjab, Tamil Nadu,
Tripura, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Gujarat, Mizoram,
Assam, Jharkhand, Arunachal, Bihar, Manipur and Meghalaya.
– By aditi Tandan
Non- governmental organizations or NGOs, as they are popularly known, are those non-profit organizations which are involved in activities related to social welfare of the society.
They act as a bridge of communication between the general public and government, as they tend to convey the problems and grievances of a common man to those in power. On the other hand, these organizations also help people to understand as well as comprehend new schemes and policies the government has to offer, which in turn are beneficial for them as a whole.
In India, the term ‘NGO’ came into existence somewhere around 19th century when socially evil as well as unethical practices like untouchability, caste rigidity, cursed status of widows ,child marriages etc were strong and inseparable part of the Indian society . In fact, it gained more prominence after independence, especially after 1970s
But if we talk about today’s time, the situation has drastically changed now, and along with it, the role of Non-governmental organization has also changed to a great extent .In the present day scenario, when India, one of the largest democracy in the world, is also getting near to become a super power or ‘vishvguru’, the significance of NGOs has become more important than never before.
Although NGOs are free from any kind of governmental control and work independently along with their volunteers and members, still the government plays a key role in their functioning by providing funds to them, so that they could fulfill their moral obligations towards the society they tend to serve.
Some of the moral obligations of an NGO are -:
• Education and Literacy
• Saving the girl child ,crime against women
• Working for the rights and upliftment of under privileged
• Water hygiene and Sanitation
• Helping people during disasters/calamities
• Relief work in war-torn areas etc.
The above mentioned obligations can differ from NGO to NGO, depending on the organizational structure and the kind of work in which a particular NGO is involved.
-By Chaitanya Mukund
A marathi movie on her life “Mee Sindhutai Sapkal” was released, she was interviewed on AIR (Akashvani Mumbai) on many occasions. she really speaks facts with unique style. Salutes to her! read on:
She Begged On Streets So She Could Feed Every Orphan She Saw! Can You Imagine Anyone More Heroic?
Author: Shreya Pareek
Date: August 12, 2014
Sindhutai Sapkal’s life started as being an unwanted child, followed by an abusive husband who abandoned her when she was nine months pregnant. The circumstances she has faced could force anyone to lose courage and succumb to the adverse situations. But Sindhutai emerged stronger with every difficulty she faced and became a ‘mother’ to over 1400 homeless children when she herself was in a hand-to-mouth situation! Read more to know about this unique persona.
Sindhutai Sapkal is much more than just a name. The 68-year-old lady hides many stories behind her strong personality. Full of energy and passion, Sindhutai is commonly referred to as “Mother of Orphans” and as she talks about her life and her children you can see the pain, the troubles and the miseries she has faced and overcome with her hard work during her life time. But, from all the emotions you see on her face, an unusual sense of confidence, which she has derived over the years through her experience, is something you get inspired from.
“I am there for all those who have no one,” she says with a lot of affection. You can see flashes of her life as she talks about her journey and how she became the “mother”. Being an unwanted child, she was nicknamed “Chindhi” which means a torn piece of cloth.
Though her father supported her and was keen on educating her, she could not continue her studies after fourth grade due to family responsibilities and early marriage.
Born on born on 14 November, 1948 at Pimpri Meghe village in Wardha district of Maharashtra, she was keen on completing her education and used Bharadi tree leaves to write as the family could not afford a slate. Her early marriage put an end to her desire to study.
“I was told there are only two processions in a woman’s life; once when she gets married and the other when she dies. Imagine my state of mind when they took me in a procession to my husband’s home in Navargaon forest in Wardha,” she says.
She got married at a tender age of 10 to a 30-year old man. Her abusive husband beat her up and threw her out of the house when she was 20 and nine-months pregnant. She gave birth to a baby girl in a cow shelter outside their house the same day and walked a few kilometres in that condition to her mother’s place, who refused to give shelter to her.
“I cut the umbilical cord with a sharp-edged stone lying nearby,” she recalls. The incident deeply affected her and she thought of committing suicide, but gave up that thought and started begging at railway platforms for food to look after her daughter.
As she spent more time begging, she realized that there are many orphans and children abandoned by their parents. Having faced the difficulties herself, she could feel their pain and she decided to adopt them. She started begging more earnestly in order to feed the many children that she had adopted. Gradually she decided to adopt every child who came across as an orphan and, over a period of time, she emerged as the “mother of orphans”.
Till date she has adopted and nurtured over 1,400 orphans, helped them get an education, got them married and supported them to settle down in life. She is fondly referred to as “mai” (mother). The children are not given up for adoption. She treats them as her own and some of them are now lawyers, doctors and engineers.
“When I was out myself on the streets begging for food and fighting for survival each day, I realized that there are so many orphans who have nobody to go to. I decided to take care of them and raise them as my own,” Sindhutai says.
To eliminate the feeling of partiality among children she gave away her biological daughter to Shrimant Dagdu Sheth Halwai, Pune. Her daughter herself runs an orphanage today.
Sindhutai with her love and compassion has gathered a huge family of 207 sons-in-law, 36 daughters-in-law and over 1000 grandchildren. Till date she continues to fight for the next meal. She does not take support from anyone but still gives speeches to earn her daily bread and butter.
“By God’s grace I had good communication skills. I could go and talk to people and influence them. Hunger made me speak and this became my source of income. I give many speeches at various places and this gets me some money which I use to take care of my children,” she says.
Many years after being abandoned by her husband, he came back to her and apologized for his harsh deeds. Having devoted all her life to the orphans, she forgave him and accepted him as her child, as she could only harbour motherly love for all. She affectionately introduces her 80-year old husband as the eldest child.
For her immense courage and compassion she has received over 500 awards. Whatever amount she received as awards, she used it to construct homes for her children. The construction is still going on and she is constantly looking for more help across the globe to give shape to her dreams.
She has six organizations operating under her name which work for various needs of orphans. “I had no one with me, everyone abandoned me. I knew the pain of being alone and unwanted. I didn’t want anyone to go through the same. And I feel immense pride and pleasure to see some of my children doing so well in their lives. One of my children made a documentary on my life,” she says.
Her life’s story inspired many and a Marathi film called “Mee Sindhutai Sapkal” was made on her which won a national award. “I approached the Maharashtra government several times for help but I never received it. I used to beg earlier to fulfill the needs of my children and I will continue to do so,” she says.
The unusual life of Sindhutai is an inspiration for all of us. Even after facing so many hardships, she stood tall and made her way into everyone’s heart. She proved that if you are dedicated, nothing can stop you from changing the lives of thousands of people around you. We salute this brave lady and hope that the country gives birth to many such strong daughters and mothers.
Know more about Sindhutai and her work through her website.