Every year since 1975 the 8th of March is a day which has a sole purpose of celebrating womanhood and honouring the lionhearted creation of the lord ‘A Woman.’ Such a gregacious creation a woman is, isn’t it? You need not to be a feminist to respect and honour a lady; you don’t need to be a soldier to celebrate her gallantry, you don’t need to be a magician to strike her with awe, you don’t need to have super powers to guard her; All you need is the eyes to see her flaunting her courage and the heart to care for her vibrant soul. An impeccable mother with unadulterated love, a sister who is a friend to the spirit, a daughter who’s the shadow of her creators, a vivacious friend with whom all your distress comes to an end, a passionate lover and a magnanimous wife; we all know that a woman is so much to define and to be in this one life.
Talking about criticism, stereotypes and crimes against women is not my intention. Today let’s recall the tales of glory of the Himalayan women of Uttrakhand and their incredibly invaluable contribution to their state.
- Prabha Devi– a 65 year old Phadi woman who took an initiative to plant more trees in her own farm due to the unethical practices of deforestation in her village in Uttarakhand. She has planted more that 500 trees and turned the area into a forest.
- Rani Karnawati ‘The Invincible Queen of Garhwal’– known as the Naak Kati Rani, rani Karnawati, proved to be a shield of the Kingdom of Garhwal by defeating the troops of Mughals who invaded towards the Garhwal Himalayas in 1640.
- Gaura Devi– an environmentalist with a spirit of a fighter, she was born in 1925 in the Lata Village of the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. Gaura Devi believed that nature is our mother and we should be protecting it to any extent and therefore she started the very successful and well-known Chipko movement by literally embracing the trees and protected them from the jab of knife.
- Devika Chauhan :The First Graduate Woman from Jaunsar- a girl born and brought up in the underdeveloped regions of Uttarakhand amused everyone when she became the first girl to graduate from the remote hills of Jaunsar in 1954. She was also the first women officer to become The Block Development officer for the entire state of Uttar Pradesh.
- Bachendri Pal: The First Indian Women to conquer the summit of Mount Everest in 1984- Born on 24 May, 1954, Bachendri Pal turned out to be the first Indian woman to conquer the summit of Mount Everest. She was born in a small village of Nakuri in the Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand.
- Basanti Bisht– Been bestowed with the ‘Nari Shakti Samman Award’ by President Pranab Mukherjee, Basant Bisht has spent her entire life in social service and has helped to replenish the dried Kosi river and has formed a number of women self-help groups by initiating empowerment of women on both political and social front.
- Mamta Rawat– a dynamic mountaineer from the Bankoli village of Uttarakashi district saved the lives of 500 pilgrims during the 2013 Uttarakhand floods while her own house was been washed away by the floods.
- Teelu Rauteli– An exceptional soldier who freed Garhwal kingdom at the tender age of 22 from the tyrant ruler called Dham Shahi. She fought valiantly on the battle field and gave away her life to protect and safeguard her kingdom.
It is a feeling of pride when we read that even the most secluded regions with all the underdevelopment can produce the bravest hearts and rise against the stereotypes that encircle their gender. But at the same time a thought crosses my mind, “here we are celebrating a day to honor every female on this planet, but somewhere on some land there is a woman’s dignity and her soul being scratched, raped, tarnished and assaulted by a demonic soul. If women are secure, the world will become a better place to live in all by itself.