A few days before International Women’s Day, celebrated the world over on March 8, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to his monthly radio address Mann Ki Baat on Sunday to emphasise on the dream of a New India where women were empowered, strong and equal partners in the nation’s overall development.
He quoted Swami Vivekananda who had said that the idea of “perfect womanhood” was “perfect independence”.
"Today, it is our duty to ensure the participation of women in every field of life, be it social or economic life, it is our fundamental duty,” he said.
"Today, woman power has shown inner fortitude and self-confidence, has made herself self-reliant. Not only has she advanced herself but has carried forward the country and society to newer heights. "We are part of a tradition where men were identified because of women. Yashoda-Nandan, Kaushalya-Nandan, Gandhari-Putra, these were identities of a son...,” he added.
Specifically touching upon the significance of celebrating a day for women, the prime minister said: "There are many programmes that are held in our country and the world. Today the country is moving forward from the path of women development to women-led development."
In the address, he also hailed the efforts of a group of women from Jharkhand who organised a hygiene campaign for an entire month and constructed 1.70 lakh toilets in just 20 days, Modi said they showed that women power was an integral component of the 'Swachh Bharat Abhiyan'. He also urged women to create self-help groups for the Gobar Dhan initiative, which may become a source of income for the rural population.
Referring to a suggestion from a listener, the Prime Minister urged countrymen to felicitate mothers and sisters who have completed 100 years on the occasion of International Women's day.
"Can a programme of paying respect for such centenarians be held and can't we reflect upon a life lived long?" he asked.
(With inputs from IANS)