|Governor Syed Ahmed felicitates mountaineer Premlata Agarwal on International Women’s Day in Ranchi on Friday and (above) the gathering. Pictures by Hardeep Singh
Ranchi, March 8: Governor Syed Ahmed’s inspiration is three years older than the 102-year-old International Women’s Day, first celebrated in the western world in 1911.
“Main mahfuz hoon kyunki meri maa mere saath hai,” 68-year-old Ahmed said about his 105-year-old mother Sayra Khatun on Friday while talking about the power of women as change-agents.
Earlier, the governor addressed women at an event hosted by the department of water and sanitation in Doranda, the high point being a thought-provoking couplet.
“Tere shane pe yeh aanchal bahut hee khub hai par iss aanchal ko parcham bana leti to achchha tha (The piece of cloth on your shoulder looks beautiful, but it would have been better had you made a flag out of it),” he said.
Mountaineer Premlata Agarwal, sportsperson Prerna Agarwal and rural social worker crusading against open defecation Naina Madhu, felicitated by the governor on the occasion, seemed to have imbibed the philosophy in practical terms.
Ahmed also told the gathering of grassroots and urban women achievers, bureaucrats and others that the police had been directed to beef up law and order across the state. “I request women to neither tolerate crime before their eyes nor fall prey to crime themselves. Any woman apprehending an untoward incident can approach the police for safety,” he said.
Quoting Swami Vivekananda, who had said “The best thermometer to the progress of a nation is its treatment of its women”, the governor added that women’s education was a key indicator of socio-economic development. He also expressed his concern over Jharkhand’s girl child literacy rate that was less than the national average.
Additional chief secretary Sudhir Prasad, who heads water and sanitation department, urged the need for departmental convergence at the rural level.
“Development in villages will be possible only when four basic departments — water and sanitation, social welfare as well as health and education work together,” he said.
He also gave a pragmatic solution.
“We have to empower five rural women, the mukhiya who represents Panchayati Raj, the sahiya who takes health to every household, the jal sahiya, who teaches the community about water and sanitation, the anganwadi worker in charge of social welfare and schoolteacher. These five will be an integral part of every village water and sanitation committee to fight disease, malnutrition and inspire more girls to go to schools,” he said, adding there was no substitute for convergence for big changes.
Mridula Sinha, principal secretary, department of social welfare, in her address, remarked that 2012 was the year of the girl child while 2013 was taking it forward by being the year for adolescent girls.
Her department, she said, was committed to curbing school dropout rates and female trafficking.
State women’s commission chairperson and noted educator Hemlata S. Mohan asked sahiyas and jal sahiyas present on the occasion to fight female foeticide.
“I request you to inform the police or us about illegal ultrasound clinics and keep tabs on people opting for sex determination. You have to be the change-makers,” she said.
Though International Women’s Day was first observed in 1911, it was held on March 18 in a handful of European nations.
In 1977, the United Nations started observing the day worldwide on March 8. But the century-old commemoration was celebrated in 2011 with events in more than 100 countries.