PM lauds ‘nari shakti’ in year’s 1st radio talk

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NEW DELHI: Drawing upon India’s tradition of ‘vidushis’, women exponents and champions of the Vedic period, PM Narendra Modi hailed the role of women in his first ‘Mann Ki Baat’ of the year.

Speaking of “nari shakti” and the varied leadership roles women were assuming today, he lauded the “daredevil stunts” of the BSF’s all-women biker contingent, Seema Bhavani, at the Republic Day parade, saying they had left not just the crowd but even the 10 Asean heads of state/government impressed. “…After watching the Republic Day parade, many people wrote on… social media that a major highlight… was the BSF biker contingent comprising women participants. Daredevil stunts performed by them were awe inspiring for our foreign guests,” the PM said.

The PM began with a tribute to Nasa astronaut Kalpana Chawla, who died on February 1, 2003, in the Columbia space shuttle disaster. “Her life, her work is a message to young women across the world, especially to those in India, that there are no upper limits for nari shakti,” he said.

“Today, our nari shakti is assuming leadership roles. It is becoming self-reliant,” Modi added. He went on to share a story of empowerment. “Dantewada… is a Maoist infested region. Violence, torture, explosives… the Maoists have created a reign of terror. In this dangerous atmosphere, Adivasi women are becoming self-reliant by driving e-rickshaws. In a short span of time, a number of women have become a part of this phenomenon,” he added. Modi also drew attention to the critical issue of sex ratio and said there was a need to protect and empower the girl child. He quoted ancient texts in Sanskrit and said, centuries ago, it was mentioned that a daughter was the equivalent of 10 sons.

“This underscores the importance that has been given to women in our society. Be it the erudition of the Vidushis of the Vedic period… Lopamudra, Gargi, Maitreyi; be it the learning and devotion of Akka Mahadevi or Meerabai, be it the governance of Ahilyabai Holkar or the valour of Rani Lakshmibai, woman power has always inspired us. They have always brought glory,” he said.

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