“Yatra naari astu pujyante, ramante tatra Devataa”, this line is taken from Manusmriti (3/56) which means, ‘where women are provided a place of honour and treated well, Gods are pleased and reside there in that household’. Women had such a respectful place of dignity in the society during ancient times. And where women were not treated with respect and dignity those places, households never prospered. Is it still the same in this modern era, more so in the city of Nagpur?
We can find evidences in ancient scripts and literature that speak about the power of women which destroyed mighty kings and kingdoms when women were ill treated. The most significant ones being that from Ved Vyas’s Mahabharata and Valmiki’s Ramayana.The famous example is that of the downfall of the Kauravas due to the insult and humiliation rendered to the wife ofPandavas, ‘Draupadi’ and what followed after, we all know. The second one is that of Sita being forcibly abducted by Ravana.Result – Ravana and his kingdom Lanka were destroyed.
In India, since ages our culture has seen the tradition and trend of worshipping Goddesses. Do you know why? It is to motivate, inspire everyone from the social, the general public to respect women and treat them well. In olden days, women were not isolated, kept inside closed doors but were allowed to participate in ceremonies, religious rituals and ensembles. Women were given freedom even in the Vedic era; they were allowed to choose their life partners.
Thus, men and women were given equal and similar status in the eyes of dharma or righteously which is beautifully mentioned in Rigveda (10-191-3). It says, ‘O women! These mantras are given to you as equally as given to men. May your thoughts, too, be harmonious. May your assemblies be open to all without any discrimination. Your mind and consciousness be harmonious. I, the Rishi, give you these mantras equally as to men and give you all and equal powers to absorb these.’
After, talking about the status of women in India since ancient times, the transitional phase from ancient to medieval to modern and to the new millennia has seen drastic changes. We see them everywhere. Women of Nagpur have not been left behind, they have also taken steps to move ahead from being a housewife-of being within the traditional framework of her family, to being a working woman, be it any field of occupation, profession. Nagpur women are heading in private, public and the government sector. They are also seen as engineers, scientists, surgeons, politicians, teachers, social workers par excellence. Recently, Nagpur has elected a woman Mayor, to bring in the needed changes in the city and its administration. Women are making their presence felt everywhere in Nagpur.
All said and done, the most disturbing thoughts that come to my mind on this International Women’s day are that of safety, security and dignity of women in our city of Nagpur. Are they being given the respect they deserve? Are they being treated well in their homes and offices, as warranted rightly. Are they finding the right opportunities to showcase their talent? On one side we speak from a woman’s point of view and on the other should we not question as to what the city of Nagpur is doing for women.
Every morning, we read about crime and atrocities against women, from rape of a 3 month infant to that of a 65 year old beggar on streets; wives being beaten up black and blue, murdered in drunken stupor, mothers being killed for being old and helpless. Illicit relationships exploiting women, extra marital affair disturbing wives causing legal threats to women’s married status. Harmony in houses disturbed, children affected, their future at stake. Others areburglary, chain snatching, car and two wheeler thieves targeting women- both young and old. Is it the life we envisaged for our women of Nagpur?
Swami Vivekananda said, “It is impossible to think about the welfare of the world unless the condition of women is improved. It is impossible for a bird to fly on only one wing.”
So what we doing for improving? Like, in the beginning we have seen the quote from Manusmriti that prosperity is where women are and where they are treated well with honour. Should we not shift our focus to this point and deliberate on why there is not much development and progress in our city as compared to the estimated and projected. Should we not do some loud thinking on the queries put before the citizens of Nagpur? Involve them in debates, deliberations and start a forum specially to address the safety of not only women, but every one who belongs here.
Every elected leader, may be a man or a woman, if spares and spends two hours a day for his or her area’s development, safety and security of women and religiously dedicate time for the city’s welfare, there can be a change in city’s progress and also in the status of women of Nagpur.
Let’s all come together and pledge for the safety and welfare of women, children and citizen’s of Nagpur on this International Women’s day and plead those women in authoritative positions to come forward and make the difference, which only THEY can do it for Nagpur!!!
Let Nagpur be a women smart and women safe city!
Happy Women’s Day !!!
About the Author:
Shobha Dhanwatay is a graduate in BA – English Literature with 23 years of experience in the Public Relations Industry, corporate communication & CSR. An active life member of PUBLIC RELATIONS SOCIETY OF INDIA, held the portfolio of the Secretary of Nagpur Chapter for 2 consecutive tenures..
Shobha has a rich academic background; she is a gold medalist with PGD in Marketing & Sales from BhartiyaVidyaBhawan’s Institute of Communication and Management,Nagpur and PG Diploma in Mass Communication from Indian Institute of Management Studies, Chennai; a PGD in Human Rights and holds a Diploma in Hotel Management & Catering Technology, and a Certificate of Computer Competency fro La Salle University, Pennsylvania, USA.
Shobha, is a Govt. of India certified CSR professional and consultant, (IICA, Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Govt. of India’s certification) and is the Patron for International Center for Cultural Studies, USA and a life member of Indian Council for Cultural Relations, New Delhi, and has written several articles on Art, Culture, Music & Dance. She has also served as faculty with Symbiosis Institute of Media & Communication, Pune from June 2009 – August 2012.
Active member of Vidarbha Industries Association(VIA) AND Vidarbha Economic Development Council (VED), Nagpur. Patron of VidarbhaSahiyaSangh, Nagpur and an active life member of World Rose Federation.
Presently she is the director of WorkskillsTraining Academy (WTA), Nagpur, involved in training and teaching for enhanced employability skills. Registered with AMET University, Chennai, and pursuing for PhD, topic-“Impact of Public Relations Campaigns on Tourism Development with specific reference to AthithiDevoBhava.
She is also a secretary of a registered society by name ‘Samruddhi-A Workskills Training Academy Foundation’, where she conducts training programs for women, youth and women empowerment through employment and entrepreneurship. The Society also caters to CSR activities, programmes and projects.