President Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday lamented the rise in crimes against women, saying it is “inexcusable” that they do not feel safe. The President was addressing the awardees of the Nari Shakti Puraskar at New Delhi on the occasion of International Women’s Day.
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The 31 awardees who were recognised today at Rashtrapati Bhavan included ISRO scientists, first-ever women troupe of Kathakali dancers, India’s first female graphic novelist, survivors of acid attack and trafficking, environment and animal activists, among others
“The government is equally concerned at the rising rate of violent crimes against women. It is inexcusable that women in India do not feel as secure and safe as they should.
“Gender biases have no place in modern India where inclusive development is a key objective,” said President Mukherjee while addressing the gathering here.
The three women scientists from ISRO, who were honoured, were Subha Varier, B Codananyaguy and Anatta Sonney. All of them have participated in some of the historic space missions like the Chandrayaan mission, Mangalyaan mission and the most recent launch of 104 satellites in one go.
Subha Varier, who was in-charge of the video system for the launch of 104 satellites, explains her role in the most recent mission, “Video is the best way to show our achievement. Seeing is believing. In this mission we had satellites of six different countries and therefore it was even more necessary to have visual evidence.
“We had eight cameras for video processing. Images were acquired in real time, compressed, transmitted on ground, de-compressed and converted into a video so all of us could watch it.”
An all-women kathakali troupe was also given an award for claiming a dance form which was traditionally a male preserve. Tripunithura Kathakali Kendram Ladies Troupe from Kerala was formed in 1975 and since then they haven delivered over 1500 performances in India and abroad.
Among the winners today was also Amruta Patil, writer and painter. She is also the first female graphic novelist. Her novel Adi Parva, based on the Mahabharat, Puraans and the tradition of oral storytelling, was selected as one of the year 2012’s best graphic novel.
Asia’s first woman to drive a diesel train, Mumtaz Kazi, was also bestowed with an award.
Anoyara Khatun, a survivor of trafficking, who has worked to rescue child labourers, victims of human trade and domestic violence, also received an award. Anoyara was also nominated for the International Children’s Peace Prize in 2012 and has represented India at UN.
The Nari Shakti Puraskar comprises Rs 1 lakh and a certificate.
Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi was also present at the event where she recounted the achievements of her ministry in the past three years.