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International Women's Day - celebrating women who have dedicated themselves to preserving Indian art and culture

Womens Day 2022

This women's day we are celebrating women who have devoted their lives to promoting and preserving Indian art and culture. From practicing Indian classical dance to saving intricate embroidery from vanishing; from devotedly scrubbing the ghats of Ganga by hand to being national multilingual leaders, these women have done it all! Also, we have so many woman authors who have written stories that have reached far and wide, or that spoke for those who couldn't. Some wrote so wonderfully that they kept sacred Indian epics, glorious legends, and ancient sciences thriving even today. We have women who worked selflessly for those who had nothing, and due to their work found themselves being revered as Ma or Devi. They truly are a treasure and today we take the time to celebrate them and thank them for inspiring us. Happy womens day to them, to us and to womanhood.

 

 

Sushma Swaraj- multi-faceted Leader and an Astute Linguist (1952 – 2019)

A seasoned politician, Supreme Court lawyer, and a senior leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party, Sushma Swaraj has many firsts to her credit. She is the second woman to become an External Affairs Minister in the Union Cabinet after Indira Gandhi. And she was quite a loved EAM! 

Known for her fiery speeches and a feisty spirit, Sushma Swaraj was a graduate in Sanskrit and Political Science, Punjab University where her oratory skills won her the best Hindi Speaker award for three consecutive years.. She has impressedmanyon national and international podiums with her fluent accent and diction in Sanskrit. At one time she learnt Kannadda within a week to deliver a speech in Bellary. Her tweet from 1999, ‘I am proud of all Indian languages. I speak some of them fluently,’ tells of her loving and all embracing nature so true to the Indic spirit.. She was awarded the Padma Vibhushan, posthumously in 2020, for her exceptional contributions to public service.

Meet the prolific Sudha Murty

With her humble, witty and spirited  persona, Sudha Murty is the quintessential lady next door.Her stories about the urban as well as the rural India have regaled readers of all ages. Wife of Infosys founder N.R.Narayanamurthy, she has carved a name for herself as a beloved author. Her numerous short stories, novels and children’s books are based upon the lives of people across India and they highlight the cultural ethos across the diverse land. Her language is simple, making her work reach far and wide. Some of her memorable works of fiction are Dollar Bahu, How I taught my Grandmother to read, Three Thousand Stitches and many more in her wonderful collection. As Chairperson of Infosys foundation she has invested hugely towards poverty alleviation, health and education, promotion of art and culture and women empowerment. For her mammoth service, she was conferred the Padmashri in 2004. 

Mallika Sarabhai-Danseuse Extraordinaire

Daughter of illustrious parents, the late scientist and founder of ISRO, Vikram Sarabhai and dancer Mrinalini Sarabhai has had to live it up to the name of her famous parents. Following in her mother’s footsteps Mallika Sarabhai has successfully carved herself a niche in the field of dancing namely Bharatnatyam and Kuchipudi. She has been instrumental in bringing both the classical dance forms for social change and transformation. She has completed her education in MBA from IIM Ahmedabad and a doctorate in organizational behavior from Gujarat University. She started writing when she produced and performed at her own dance show Shakti: The Power of Women. Since then she has gone on to script many successful shows, TV serials for ISRO’s educational TV program in Madhya Pradesh. Mallika Sarabhai is also the recipient of the Padma Bhushan by the Government of India.

 

Durga Bhagwat- A Woman Par Excellence

A woman of true grit and determination, Durga Bhagwat is a popular name on the literary and cultural scenario in Maharashtra. She spent her time in the jungles of Madhya Pradesh, to study tribal life and their difficulties and devoted her life to writing about them. Some of her notable works are Vyas Parva, Pais, Rutuchakra. She was an embodiment of simplicity and intellect She chose to remain single in a male dominated society at that time. She was conferred the Jnanpith and the Padmashri awards but she had declined them.. Durga Bhagwat was arguably one of the foremost writers in Marathi literature. She was also elected President of the 51st Marathi Sammelan held in Karad in 1975. Bhagwat also wrote many books on cooking and crafts and was called 'Marathi Saraswatachi Saraswati'(Goddess Saraswati of the Marathi People). 

 

Lakshmikutty 'Vanamuthassi' - Grandmother of the Jungle

Lakshmikutty, a member of the Kani community, lives in the Kallar forest area at Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala and has received the Padma Shri Award for her breakthrough in practicing traditional medicine. Poison Healer and herbal medicine maker, she is known for her ability to prepare 500 herbal medicines out of memory. Over the years, she has cured thousands of people from snake bites and other diseases. She attributes her knowledge of herbal remedies to her mother who was a midwife. She is invited to deliver lectures on natural medicine at various institutions throughout Southern India. 

Well versed in Sanskrit, she loves to write plays and poems and is also a teacher at Kerala Folklore Academy. Her love for the jungle has earned her the affectionate title ‘Vanamuthassi’ (Grandmother of the Jungle in Malayalam). Her struggle-saga is an inspiration and we salute her love of nature as well as her passion for taking care of precious lives.

Author Roopa Pai

A renowned children’s book author, Roopa Pai rose to fame after the release of India’s first-ever fantasy adventure series titled ‘Taranauts’. This Bangalore-based author is an engineer by qualification but chose to pursue a writing career instead.  She has over 25 published books for children, ranging from picture books to chapter books and fiction to non-fiction, on themes as varied as sci-fi fantasy, popular science, maths, history, economics, Indian philosophy, life skills, and most recently, medicine. Many of her books are bestsellers including the award-winning ‘The Gita for Children’. Roopa firmly believes that it is important for everyone to be familiar with the values, ideas, and philosophy in the ancient texts of their own culture that leads her to break the complexities of Gita, Vedas, and Upanishads and make it accessible to the children. Her work is enjoyed as much by adults as by children.

 

Master craftsperson Latika Vakil

An award-winning master craftsperson of the Chamba district, Latika Vakil has constantly been working to conserve and revive the traditional art form of the district, Chamba Rumal (Chamba Handkerchief).  It is an embroidered handicraft that was once promoted by the formal rulers of the Chamba Kingdom.

Using her expertise, she has been training the younger generation for the past five decades, creating gainful employment for them while simultaneously promoting the art globally.

Traditionally, Chamba Rumal embroidery was only done on muslin cloth but Latika Vakil has created new designs on silk and tussar fabrics. Her blend of traditional and contemporary designs brought new life to a dying art form.  She has exhibited the artform in numerous exhibitions around the world to preserve and promote this intricate and beautiful embroidery style. For her relentless efforts that spanned over five decades, she was conferred with the Padma Shri. 

 

Temsutula Imsong - The Naga Warrior of Varanasi

One of the most inspiring champions of the Swacch Bharat Abhiyan (Clean India Movement) initiated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has to beTemsutula Imsong who took upon herself the task of cleaning Prabhu Ghat and Babua Pandey Ghat in Varanasi. No one could have imagined how the ghat full of dirt, defecation and debri would, due to her efforts, be so clean one day. 

Temsutula Imsong is a cleanliness activist who belongs to the Ungma village of Mokochung district in Nagaland and a co-founder of Sakaar Seva Samiti. Imsong along with her team has been successfully battling to clean up the ghats and lanes of Kashi (another name for holy city Varanasi). About her efforts to clean she says, ‘the ghats belong to all of us and we all should clean and maintain. That we should not dirty it because ‘Ganga ji Hamari hai’. ‘

She rose to fame in 2015 after the Prime Minister tweeted about her organization Sakaar’s effort for cleaning up Varanasi’s ghats. The efforts of this young lady are now focused on waste management and have been actively working towards it by educating people about composition and waste management. We salute her!

 

 

 

Our Forever Nightingale Shrimati Lata Mangeshkar (28 September 1929 - 6 February 2022)

Lata Mangeshkar was considered to have been one of the greatest and the most influential singers in the country. In a career span of over seven decades, her contributions to the Indian music industry gained her many honorific titles such as "Queen of Melody", "Nightingale of India", and "Voice of the Millennium".

The singer lent her voice to the actors in not only Hindi and Marathi movies but in languages as diverse as Bangla (she sang nearly 200 songs in Bangla), Assamese, Gujarati, Tamil, Kannada, Maithili, Konkani, and Telugu among others. She is known to have recorded songs in over thirty-six different Indian languages.

Recipient of several awards and honors including the Bharat Ratna (India’s highest civilian award) and the Officer of the National Order of the Legion of Honour (France’s highest civilian award), Lata Mangeshkar was truly an icon. Her contribution to the rich legacy of the music industry will always be remembered.

 

The cultural, artistic and socioeconomic efforts of these women have made our world a richer place and have left us inspired to do the same and for that we celebrate them today and forever. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



32 names of goddess Durga with meanings

Learn: the thirty-two names of Mother Durgā and their meanings

The Thirty-two names of Mother Durgā

श्रीदुर्गा-द्वात्रिंश-नाममाला

Deepawali diwali diya in flower rangoli

Deepawali or Diwali?

It is that time of the year again 🪔

The air is filled with the vibrant spirit of Deepawali. …

by Aarti Pathak
1844