Women- One half of humanity, somehow never treated as the equal half. But time and again, women proved that they have every bit of will and intention to go beyond what men expect from them, to go beyond what men themselves are capable of, and do something to change the world.
On the occasion of Women’s Day, The Voice Raiser salutes these 7 women whose voices couldn’t be captured by the confines of the society. They came, they saw, they conquered.
Irom Chanu Sharmila
It is almost impossible that you haven’t heard about the Iron Lady of Manipur. At a mere age of 28, she decided to sit on a hunger strike against the atrocities committed by AFSPA in the North-East. For 16 years, she continued her hunger strike and her struggle- not for herself, but for countless innocents wronged by the army. She did something what most of us cannot even begin to imagine, and she continued doing it for more than a decade. Her grit and determination can only be matched by her iron will. She stands as an example to those who deem women too weak to bring about any change.
Amrita Devi Bishnoi
If you have never heard of her, you are not alone. But probably you have heard of the Chipko Movement, haven’t’ you? Well, this is how it all started. Amrita Devi was an extraordinary woman who stood for the protection of forest, and laid down her life in the attempt. She did that in 1730, a time when the idea of an “empowered woman” was a preposterous myth. Standing against the feudal lords and wastrel kings, she sacrificed her head for saving the khejari trees. Her sacrifice sparked a movement that led to the martyrdom of 383 people of the Bishnoi community and an example for generations. Amrita Devi stands tall as the supreme sacrifice one can give for Mother Nature.
Think that the ruthless world of business is a men-only territory? Think again. Chanda Kochhar proved countless critics wrong over the years, by ranking as one of the most powerful women in the world. As the CEO of ICICI Bank, Chanda Kochhar has been an inspiration for innumerable women who are trying to make it big in the corporate world. A Padma Bhushan awardee, Chanda Kochhar is a prime example of where your grit and determination will lead you, irrespective of your gender.
At just the age of 33, Swati Maliwal has earned herself a reputation. As the chief of Delhi Commission for Women, Maliwal has attained a position nothing short of a rockstar, for all the right reasons. A fierce proponent of child and women safety, she has relentlessly worked to provide voice to those who were silenced by all. Just last month, she initiated a movement called “Rape Roko” aimed at ensuring death penalty to child rapists. Time and again her work has led to clashes with the powerful, and never has that deterred her. “God helps those who help themselves”; Swati Maliwal is a living testimony of that.
Durga Shakti Nagpal
As the joint magistrate and IAS officer of UP cadre, Durga Shakti Nagpal sends out a strong message: your gender cannot stop you from doing the right thing. She came into limelight after the UP government suspended her for demolishing an allegedly illegal mosque wall in Noida. She soon began a symbol of resistance for both feminists and anti-corruption crusaders. Undaunted and fearless, Durga Shakti Nagpal justified her name and stands as an inspiration for millions of girls.
Thirty years ago, Sudha Varghese moved to a small village in Bihar and saw the pathetic condition of the downtrodden. The Musahar, a community of dalits considered low for eating rats, specifically caught her attention. What followed was 3 decades of hard work, dedication and sheer will that transformed hundreds of lives. Sudha Varghese worked against caste and gender discrimination, ensured abolition of child labor and education of girls. She taught numerous women various skills and made sure that they could earn decent living for themselves. She prides herself for forming a unique girl-only band that performs in marriages. For women who ever wondered what difference they could make, Sudha Varghese stands as a shining example of true conviction.
Yes, you. Every woman, like every human being, is special and amazing in her own way. Whether you are a manager at an MNC or a regular homemaker, you continue to change the world around you. The fact that there are people who cannot imagine their lives without you, speaks volumes of your worth. Nobody can shame you, nobody can deter you. Whatever you set your eyes upon, you can achieve it. The society, with all its orthodox confines, cannot contain the flame of your passion.
The only person who needs to realize your true worth is YOU. Every woman deserves a voice and deserves to be heard. But if the society denies you the right, step up and snatch it. Your voice has the power to shape the world.