Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Indian Women of the last Millennium

Indian Women of the last Millennium

Are women and men more alike than they are different? And where they are different, are women inferior or superior? Such questions have been debated since biblical times, and especially in the years after 1000. But what about the woman in India? The status of women in India has been subject to many great changes over the past few millennia. In modern India, women have adorned high offices and the incumbent President of India is a woman. There have been many women who shone like bright stars in the millennium gone by. But let us take a look at maybe, some of the most prominent of them who have adorned the Indian firmament in the last millennium.

Of all the characters in the epic mutiny of 1857 and 150 years later there is one name which stands tall over all others and yet ironically was one who was neither the initiator of the mutiny; nor among the leaders until the last stage. Yet, in many ways she was alone in her magnificence, a singular figure among a gallery of heroes. She was Lakshmi Bai from that small town immortalized forever, Jhansi. She was the Rani of Jhansi. After loosing her husband and son at a very early age, she was an image of patriotism. With her adopted son strapped to her back, using a sword with both hands while on horse-back, this heroine died fighting for the freedom of India. She was queen of a small state, but the empress of a limitless empire of glory, her name etched in gold in the heart of Indian History.

The only living star of the millennium, amongst women in India, is Lata Mangeshkar, the melody Queen of India. Lata Mangeshkar has ruled over the hearts of millions of music lovers throughout the world for the last forty years by the magic of her melodious voice. She has already sung over 30,000 songs in a variety of languages. To honor and give recognition to her works, Lata Mangeshkar is also known as the Nightingale of India.

In spite of her ups and down in her native India, she was voted Woman of the Millennium by BBC. Indeed, she was Indira Gandhi, the first woman Prime Minister of India. Her charm, intelligence and charisma made her a powerful statesperson, much loved and admired by her people. Indira Gandhi will be remembered for her commendable efforts in the development and progress of science, space exploration and irrigation.

Small in stature, yet she walked the pages of Indian History, like a colossus. One who will never be forgotten even in the millennium to come. Her mission was to serve and free the downtrodden from hunger, pain and suffering. She was in the eyes of the people a simple and truly humane person. Yes she was Mother Teresa, who according to me is the Indian Woman of the millennium. Born to Albanian parents in a small town in Yugoslavia she entered the order of the Sisters of Our Lady of Loreto at the age of 18 and took the name Teresa. The order immediately sent her to India where she experienced what she described as a "call within a call" to aid the desperately poor of India. That same year she became an Indian citizen. She began her work by bringing dying persons from the streets into a home where they could die in peace and dignity. In 1950, she founded a religious order in Calcutta called the Missionaries of Charity. The order provides food for the needy and operates hospitals, schools, orphanages, youth centers, and shelters for lepers and the dying poor. Mother Teresa died a very peaceful death on September 5, 1997 leaving behind her a legacy, a legacy of selfless service to people in need.



No comments:

Post a Comment