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Monday, March 8, 2021

International Women's Day 2021 - Appreciating all women I know !!

Today (8th of March) is International Women’s Day .. ..  Appreciating all Women I know ! and special greetings to all of them  ~ International Women's Day 2021


March 8 last year, (2020) was a Red letter day  for  Indian women's cricket. India's maiden appearance in a T20 World Cup final, against defending champions Australia, drew 86,174 spectators at the MCG - the most ever at a women's or men's T20 World Cup final and for a women's sporting event in Australia.  India lost that match !  .. ..

Yesterday : South Africa 178 for 2 (Lee 83*, Goswami 2-38) beat India 177 for 9 (Raj 50, Ismail 3-28) by eight wickets.  Laura Wolvaardt and Lizelle Lee put on a 169-run opening stand and made a half-century apiece as South Africa eased their way to a win over India in the opening ODI in Lucknow. Only two other batters were needed to chase a small target after a disciplined effort from the visitors' bowling attack and an energetic display in the field kept India to an under-par score on a good pitch. On the way, Wolvaardt also became the youngest South African to 2000 ODI runs.  

Hima Das  nicknamed Dhing Express, is an ace sprinter from the state of Assam. She holds the current Indian national record in 400 meters with a timing of 50.79 s that she clocked at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia. She is the first Indian athlete to win a gold medal in a track event at the IAAF World U20 Championships.   She was in news recently . .. …

In some ways this is a western concept – marking a day and attaching all importance to it by marketing it. Our literature has good place for women and traditionally we are taught to respect elders and mother. Our moral stories are replete with instances of obeisance to mother and femininity holding them in high regard; yet 8th Mar would be a special day.

Elections to TN State Assembly are around the corner and there are talks that Ms Kushboo Sundar is the likely candidate representing BJP in alliance with the ruling AIADMK – women power in politics is nothing new.    From  Triplicane assembly constituency was elected Ms Bader Sayeed in 2006.    Earlier ace Bharatnatyam dancer Ms Vijayanthimala Bali represented South Madras constituency twice (Triplicane was part thence)

Thousands of miles away, Anne ascended power to become the  Queen of England, Scotland, and Ireland from  8 March 1702 and 1 May 1707. On 1 May 1707, under the Acts of Union, the kingdoms of England and Scotland united as a single sovereign state known as Great Britain. She continued to reign as Queen of Great Britain and Ireland until her death in 1714.

Any reference to women of fame would not be complete with writing about ‘Avvaiyar’ -  great tamil poetess  whose statue also stands in the marina closer to Queen Mary’s college. She  lived in the southern parts attributed to sangam period. Reverred to be noble besides her extraordinary poetic skills, the term means ' respected old woman' or 'Grandmother'. Her works include Purananuru and Aathichoodi. She had cordial relations with the Kings Pari and Athiaman. Aathichoodi is a collection of single-line quotes written by Avvaiyar and organized in alphabetical order.

Indian sprinter Hima Das  recently was  inducted as Deputy Superintendent of Assam Police and referred to the moment as a childhood dream coming true. In a ceremony organised in Guwahati, the Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal handed her the appointment letter and top functionaries of the state government as well as from the police department, including the Director General of police attended it. Addressing the gathering after her induction, Hima revealed that she had dreamt of becoming a police officer when she was young and therefore this was a very special moment for her.

According to Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, King Janaka of Videha Kingdom held a Rajasuya Yagna and invited all the learned sages, kings and princess of India to participate. The yagna lasted for many days. The galaxy of scholars, included the renowned sage Yajnavalkya.  There  were eight renowned sages who challenged him for a debate, which included Gargi, the only lady in the assembled gathering of the learned.  Gargi and Yajnavalkya's exchange centered on the ultimate "warp" of reality ("warp" means "the basic foundation or material of a structure or entity).  This is a post on ‘wonder woman’ ~ it would not require a Nobel for a woman to be impressive and an influencer    before you read further, this post is dedicated to all the Women known and those who influenced me – the list would start with my mother, sister, wife – my teachers at elementary school,  my female colleagues, my women bosses and my dear friends).. ..

Woman in Cricket circles is not new ! ~ am not talking about Mayanti Langer.  Remember seeing Indian womens’ play at Chepauk – captained by Shanta Rangaswamy, the first woman to lead an Indian cricket team, the first woman to win a Test series and the first woman to receive a lifetime achievement award from the BCCI, Shanta Rangaswamy was nothing short of a pioneer. But if she had to be broken down in the simplest terms, she was a batting allrounder, who ran in with the new ball and later made others run after it. She captained 12 out of the 16 Tests she played in since making her debut in Oct 1976.  She scored India's first Test century and smashed the first six as well.

486  years ago this month in 1535 occurred the siege by Bahadur Shah who attacked Chittor Fort.  Rani Karnavati, wife of the late Rana Sangha fought valiantly, was expecting help from Humayun, who betrayed and .. ..   13,000 women including Rani Karnavati committed Jauhar and 3,200 soldiers committed Saka.    In Nov 2014, Our Prime Minister Narendra Modiji, on a visit,  gave his Australian counterpart Tony Abbott a rather interesting gift ~ and to us something to glance through the annals of history – connected to an Australian lawyer and novelist by name John Lang [1816-1864]… and this has direct reference to a great Indian woman ?  ~ yes, Jhansi Rani.

Can you think of one sport where men and women compete against each other as equals? – in Tennis – the mixed-doubles !!Stumped?  It is  horse racing, where female jockeys regularly jump in the hot seat alongside their male counterparts ~ and it is not riders alone .. it is the horses too.   The horses carrying them towards the finish line are locked in their own battle of the sexes.   

A couple of years ago, President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind presented three Padma Vibhushan, six Padma Bhushan and forty-eight Padma Shri Awards at a Civil Investiture Ceremony held at Rashtrapati Bhavan,  the women seen in the photo at the start of the post -  a Padma Shri recipient – Saalumarada Thimmakka, by name; she  was 105 years of age at that time ~  had no formal education and worked as a casual labourer in a quarry ! ~ great person !.

Saalumarada Thimmakka also known as Alada Marada Timakka is an environmentalist from the state of Karnataka, noted for her work in planting and tending to 385 banyan trees along a four-kilometre stretch of highway between Hulikal and Kudur.  Not many of us have cared to know that a  U.S. environmental organisation based in Los Angeles and Oakland, California called Thimmakka's Resources for Environmental Education is named after her.

Appreciations and greetings to all  Women known and those who influenced me

With regards – S. Sampathkumar



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