Updated: March 13, 2022 2:04:26 pm
Three hundred and eighteen women participated in ‘Women’s Car Rally to the Valley’, which started on Saturday morning in Mumbai, where they drove their fancy cars themed around messages of women empowerment, road safety, social evils and global issues to create awareness and to celebrate International Women’s Day.
The annual event was organised by the Western India Automobile Association (WIAA), presented by J K Tyres, co-partnered by Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited’s UFill and powered by Westside.
The rally, which began at 8 am from JIO World Drive in BKC, was flagged off by Zita Goenka and Viveck Goenka, president of WIAA and Chairman of The Indian Express group.
Pankaj Kumar, Director (Offshore), ONGC, who flagged off the cars, said: “I am happy to see so many women spreading awareness with different messages on women empowerment. We too have two teams participating in the rally.”
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Nitin Dossa, Executive Chairman of WIAA, said, “The response was very good and we plan to have 300 entries next year.” The participants touched upon several issues like ‘Beti Padhao’, gender equality, violence against women, patriotism, ‘say no to war’, mental health, self-love, ‘trans lives matter’, animal cruelty, yoga, mental health, saving mangroves, climate change and road safety.
The women seated in 106 cars (three women per car) passed by major Mumbai landmarks. The rally will end at Taj-The Gateway Ambad in Nashik. Some of the participants will be rewarded for best theme, best slogan and best decorated car.
One of the participants, Jayshree Shinde, is specially-abled and has completed 101 marathon runs using crutches. Shinde, who was in the driver’s seat, said, “I want to change the way society looks at disability.”
Three other women doctors, Aparna, Deepti and Kavita, were dressed in t-shirts in the colour of the Indian Army and said they wanted to see more women join the forces. “We wish we were from the Army. We ask women to live their lives fearlessly, to fight back and learn to say no,” one of them said.
A homage was also paid to iconic singer late Lata Mangeshkar by a group of women who put up photos of the singer on their cars with messages like, “Melody of India” and “Voice of India”. “We are from the generation who grew up listening to her songs,” said Sanjana Lahoti.
Three women — Gunjan, Deepa and Darshana — were seen dressed as three different goddesses — Saraswati, Lakshmi and Kali. “We represent Narishakti,” they said. Three others 3 Savneet, Chitra and Savita — depicted the Ardhanarishvara, a form of Hindu God Shankar which is half-male and half-female. “We want our society to learn from the god who depicted gender equality,” one of them said.
Another car was fully had the Indian Flag on it. Three other women were dressed as Coorgi brides. “We are against the ritual of Kanya Daan. Our message Kanya Dan Hataye, Kanya Sanman Nibhaye,” said Dr Shilpa. About nine women were dressed as flamingos to create awareness on the importance of mangroves, and three were dressed as Hibiscus flowers which represent feminism and beauty.
A few cars were decorated with photos of the Army, Navy and Air Force. One of the women in the cars, Sarita Venkat, whose husband serves in the Navy as a captain, said: “Our message to women around the world is to break the barriers, step up the game and take the lead.”
Regional Transport Office (RTO) officials also participated in the rally. Pallavi Kothawade, Deputy RTO, Mumbai (West), said: “Several lakh victims of road accidents are from the young generation. So, we need to raise awareness among them as our future depends on them.”
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