Rupa – a glittering example of woman empowerment!


Jat pujyantey nari tat tisthanti devata  (The divine are extremely happy where women are respected/worshiped) – goes the adage, symbolizing the age-old rich socio-cultural heritage of India. But with the passage of time, women were suppressed, oppressed and unthinkable atrocities were committed on them.

Ma Mati Manush (Mother, Motherland & People), a Bengali political slogan, coined by All India Trinamool Congress chief and present Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee became very popular in West Bengal during 2009 General election and 2011 state assembly election. She later wrote a Bengali book, multiple Bengali theatre groups produced dramas and a song to glorify it focused on communal harmony. The song composed reads: Eta Ma Mati Manusher din. Eta Ma Mati Manusher gaan (This is the day of Ma Mati Manush. It is the song of Ma Mati Manush). Media in June 2011 reported it to be one of the six most popular political slogans in India .

Mamata Didi’s slogan glorifying women empowerment while all Govts including the Centre have been consistently advocating policies for women empowerment.

I coincidently identified a glittering example of women empowerment during a morning walk in Munshipara in Jalpaiguri district of West Bengal recently. A young girl drew my attention while directing labourers to load boulders and sand on trucks on Torsa river bed.

Little enquiry left me dumfounded. She is local girl Rupa Roy, a class-XII student of nearby Govt Salkumar Govt HS School, but a well known boulder-sand contractor. Her father, a boulder-send contractor for 15 years passed away in 2011, leaving his wife, daughter (Rupa) and son to fend for themselves.

“It was too difficult for my mother to nurture us. I initially assessed the pros and cons of the vocation and stepped into my father’s shoes as it was a question of our survival,” she said with twinkling eyes. Besides supplying to all Govt departments, she gets a call from any local resident intending to build a RCC house. She has engaged 20 labourers, half of them women, while about 100 others – quarry, sand depot and truck owners indirectly benefit from her occupation by moving around on her scooty during 6 am to till 11 pm to meet everyone’s demand.    She has endeared her to Govt officers concerned by diligently paying royalty per truck load.

When asked: “Don’t you get scarred while moving alone till late night?”, she quipped: “I have enough self-confidence that none would dare to touch me as I am known to one and all for my job.”

On her life’s ambition, she said, “I wish to pursue higher education up to graduation before looking for a Govt job. I cannot study more for want of resources and situation. I shall try for any Govt job, but continue in present vocation in case of failure.”

Asked to send a louder  message to young women of her age who very often face a tough life, she said, “it is  social responsibility for the society and the Govt to shoulder. West Bengal is the best example as such criminals are never spared”.

Can you call yourself a manush (human being), if you commit any heinous crime against a maa (mother)? – her question was a befitting reply that left me speechless.

It is difficult to trace the history of Munshipapra, whose original residents had migrated from Bardhaman but made it the vegetable hub that supplies about 50 metric tons vegetable annually to Kolkata, Bihar, NE. Nepal and Bhutan. They were ruled for long by the Cooch Behar King, being part of his kingdom. Had the kingdom continued and Cooch Behar King been alive, Puja, an example for others to emulate, would have been honoured.

Mamata Didi is no exception in recognizing such unique personalities and Prime Minister Narendra Modi has always been advocating dignity for women and Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao  scheme is the best example.

Hopefully those who matter would draw the attention of West Bengal and GoI for  young prodigy Puja to be honoured. She deserves not only kudos but recognition too as an unparallel example to set a milestone for young Indian girls to emulate. There cannot be greater feat than Puja’s triumph against all odds that too by struggling hard without any support? If state and national awards are given in recognition for some great achievement, why not she?

“Govt of India’s various initiatives seek to facilitate economic empowerment, self-reliance & social equality as far as Nari Shakti is concerned,” PM Modi  saluting the indomitable spirit, determination and dedication of Nari Shakti on International Women’s Day on 08.03.17 had said on the micro-blogging site.

Despite Constitution of India provisions and UNO policy to ensure rights of women to recognise their basic human rights and creating an environment to treat them  equals to men, alas…. rising woman crimes had earned New Delhi an obnoxious sobriquet – rape capital of the world from China’s state-run news agency Xinhua in 2013.

Statistically Delhi, among India’s major cities, has  highest number of reported rape cases by far to draw media attention. But these crimes take place in large numbers in other major cities, which mostly go unreported. Thus,  Bhaskar Chawla wrote- Delhi can no longer be called India’s ‘rape capital,’ –  in VAGABOMB on 14.05.16.

Where lies the faults? Are media persons not Indians? All crimes should be reported but media should not resort to extra judicial trails as was seen during trial of a 23-year-old medical student, Nirbhaya,who was brutally gangraped by six men in a private bus in New Delhi on 16.12.12.

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