“The strength of a woman is not measured by the impact that all her hardships in life have had on her; but the strength of a woman is measured by the extent of her refusal to allow those hardships to dictate her and who she becomes,” said author C. JoyBell C. This indeed stands true as being a woman is certainly not easy! A woman toils all day long and she is the one who touches the lives of many with her ways. This Women’s Day its time yet again to honor and appreciate the spirit of womanhood. Here are 6 Indian women activists listed by MSN, who have done their little bit to contribute to the society and dared to be different.
Also known as the “Iron Lady of Manipur”, Irom is a civil rights activist, political activist, and poet from Manipur. Irom has been on a hunger strike since 2 November 2000, to demand that the Indian government repeal the (AFSPA), which she blames for violence in Manipur and other parts of northeast . She has refused food and water for more than 500 weeks, and has been called “the world’s longest hunger striker”.
Recently she was also charged with Section 309 (attempt to commit suicide) of IPC for fasting at Jantar Mantar in Delhi. The courts have used an absurd law in the case and it only makes the matter more baffling. Appearing before the court she said “I am not committing suicide. This is my way of protest. I am protesting by non-violent means,” reported PTI.
Mallika is an activist and Indian classical dancer from Ahmedabad. She is the daughter of classical dancer Mrinalini Sarabhai and renowned space scientist Vikram Sarabhai. She is also a talented Kuchipudi and Bharatanatyam dancer. She has received many awards, Padma Bhushan being one of them in 2010.
Mallika says women should change but good men should speak up against the violence and make a change in society. She was quoted by the Hindu, saying, “It is because good men have been silent that these other men have not been shamed. The good men should stand up and publicly tell them that their acts of violence are not a sign of manhood but of cowardice.”
Mallika is also known to have protested against Gujarat Chief Minister, Narendra Modi during Sadbhavna Mission in September, 2011. She accused Modi of scampering the petition filed in Supreme Court by her on the .
This name needs no introduction. Roy is an Indian author and political activist who also won the 1998 winning novel ‘The God of Small Things’. She is actively involved in environmental and human rights causes. Roy has also been on numerous lists of the most beautiful women in the world.
Roy is a spokesperson of the anti-globalization/alter-globalization movement and a passionate critic of neo-imperialism and of the global policies of the U.S. She also criticizes India’s nuclear weapons policies and the approach to industrialization and swift development as currently being practiced in India, including the Narmada Dam project and the power company Enron’s activities in India.
Roy was once quoted saying “I say I am letting my fame use me. The space for disagreement, not only in this country, but also abroad, is shrinking. Critics say we are urban elites and so can’t comment on rural problems, as if being urban is a crime. What they really want is that only powerless people in the village should protest, because they know such people can easily be crushed underfoot,” as reported by The Christian Science Monitor.
Vandana is an Indian environmental activist and anti-globalization author. She has authored more than 20 books and was also trained as a physicist and received her Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Western Ontario, Canada, in 1978 with the doctoral dissertation “Hidden variables and locality in quantum theory.”
Vandana is one of the leaders and board members of the International Forum on Globalization and a figure of the global solidarity movement known as the alter-globalization movement. She has argued for the wisdom of many conventional practices, as is evident from her interview in the book Vedic Ecology (by Ranchor Prime) that draws upon India’s Vedic heritage. She is also a member of the scientific committee of the Fundacion IDEAS and the International Organization for a Participatory Society. Shiva was also awarded the Right Livelihood Award in 1993.
Aruna Roy is a political and social activist and founder of the . She is best known as an outstanding leader of the Right to Information movement through National Campaign for People’s Right to Information, which led to the enactment of the in 2005. She has also stayed as a member of the National Advisory Council.
Aruna in 2000 received the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership, while in 2010 she received the prestigious Lal Bahadur Shastri National Award for Excellence in Public Administration, Academia and Management.
Roy most recently was in news talking about the scheme. She said “The government says they want to end MNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) as it is becoming a source of corruption. It is the officers who do corruption so why should the poor bear the brunt of it. We, therefore, demand that this APL-BPL divide should be dissolved and universal pension scheme be employed,” as reported by OutlookIndia.com.
Medha is an Indian social activist. She is well-known for her role in Narmada Bachao Andolan. She has also filed a public interest petition in the Bombay High Court against Lavasa together with other members of National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), including Anna Hazare. She comes from a politically and socially active family as her father had actively fought in the Indian Independence Movement, while her mother was a member of Swadar, an organization setup to help and assist women suffering difficult circumstances arising out of financial, educational problems, etc.
Patkar was often known for her extreme views on growth of country and liberalization. Author Jacques Leslie devoted a third of his book, Deep Water: The Epic Struggle Over Dams, Displaced People, and the Environment, to a portrait of Patkar as she planned to drown herself in rising reservoir waters behind the Sardar Sarovar Dam, against whose construction she fought for two decades.