PRIME MINISTER Narendra Modi said women have played a central role in shaping Indian society for centuries and made important contributions to Bhakti Andolan, who he said sowed the seeds of freedom struggle in India.
🗞️ Subscribe now: get Express Premium to access the best election reports and analysis 🗞️
“Go to any state or region of the country, there will be hardly any village where a deity of the village or a deity of a community will not be the article of faith. These women symbolize this feminine power of the county that has shaped our society since time immemorial. The same nari chetna kept the fire of freedom burning during the struggle for freedom in our country,” Modi said while virtually addressing Mahila Sant Sammelan (Saint Sammelan women) at Dhordo village, home of the Rann Utsav ( desert carnival) held annually in Kutch on the occasion of International Women’s Day.
Union Minister Smriti Irani was present at the Dhordo sammelan attended by, among others, Sadhvi Ritambhara, the founding president of Durga Vahini, an affiliate of Vishwa Hindu Parishad.
The Prime Minister said India has always been happy to see the divine in women’s powers. He added that in our Vedas there are many names including rushikas like Gopa, Khoda, Apala and Lopamudra. He also said that multi-talented women like Gargi and Maitrayi gave direction to Vedanta research.
He also said that women contributed to the Bhakti Andolan, which in turn sowed the seed of the country’s freedom struggle. “From Meerabai in the north to Saint Akka Mahadevi in the south, the women of India have lent their voices to Andolan Bhakti, gyandarshan and social reforms… And as we celebrate the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, let us remember this – Andolan Bhakti had played a great role in sowing the seeds of India’s freedom struggle.In every corner of India, one or another saint, hermit or acharya was born and made the remarkable work of stirring the chetna (soul) of India. In the light of the same chetana (awakening), the country has succeeded in the struggle for freedom,” Modi said while also remembering Sati Toral, Ganga Sati , Loyan, Rambai and Lirbai – women from Kutch who became prominent figures in the Bhakti movement in Gujarat.
Bhakti Andolan was the religious and social movement in India during medieval times that sought to bring about religious reformation focusing on devotion to the divine to achieve salvation.
He urged the mahila sants of sammelan to fulfill their social duty and help drive the country forward as it celebrates the 75th anniversary of independence.
The Prime Minister has said that empowering women is his government’s priority. “Today, the country’s priority is to improve the lives of women, to make them partners in the march of the country’s development. We are working to address the challenges facing mothers and sisters across the country today,” he said.
Modi also said that more than 12 crore toilets in the country are under the Swachh Bharat mission. The country gave them more than 9 crore gas cylinders under the Ujjawala scheme and freed them from cooking smoke which otherwise was considered their fate. Over 80% of Stand Up India loans are in the name of women, 70% of Mudra loans given to women. “Not only that, two crore houses built under PMAY are also registered in women’s name and each of them is worth at least Rs1.5 lakh to Rs3 lakh each and thus women have become lakhpatis. Maternity leave has been increased from 12 weeks to 26 weeks…. We have proposed capital punishment for heinous crimes like rape and the issue of raising the age of marriage for women to 21 is under discussion in parliament,” the prime minister said.