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TNIE-Prajnya 16 Days Campaign Essay Contest Winner, Op-Ed, 10-12-2008

 

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ARTICLES

Swarna Rajagopalan, What it means to be a woman in India, NIE, November 25, 2008

Posted as "That could be me" on Campaign Chronicle, the campaign blog.
Also posted at StopHonourKillings.com
.

 

TNIE- PRAJNYA SERIES ON WOMEN DEFENDERS OF HUMAN RIGHTS, TNIE

P. KOUSALYA, DECEMBER 1, 2008

 

ANDAL DAMODARAN, DECEMBER 2, 2008

PRASANNA POORNACHANDRA, 4-12-2008

SUDHA RAMALINGAM, 6-12-2008

SAROJINI VARADAPPAN, 8-12-2008

A long innings fighting for the cause of women

Sangeetha Neeraja


Pic: D Sampath Kumar

First Published : 08 Dec 2008 10:51:00 PM IST

SAROJINI Varadappan, takes one by surprise by her agility of thoughts and tireless energy
she displays when she talks about the issues close to her heart. Running 87, she makes one think
‘Age is a perception’ after all. Here was a woman who joined the Women’s Indian Association (WIA)
at the age of 20 in1941. There was no looking back after that. She reminiscences, “The Association
played a very important role in shaping the reality for the Indian women of today.
During the Raj days the women of our Association, realised that the only way to empower women and stop abuse is to give her education. The Association plays an instrumental role in making the women literate.”
Being a Protégé of Dr Muthulakshmi Reddy, along with her, Sarojini played an important role in their fight against the Devadasi system, women’s rights and welfare.

Today, she is connected with more than 25 voluntary organisations across the country.
She said, “We have come a long way as far as women’s rights are concerned. Constitutionally, women have all the rights like men, but even today in rural India the disparity remains. Certain sections of the women still live in ignorance. I think giving education to them is the way forward. Women should also learn self defence techniques like karate to protect themselves.”

Talking about empowerment and the fight against abuse, Sarojini pointed out an unsavoury dynamic which is at play among the younger generation. “I think the break down of joint family system, is one major contributing cause. Parents of today do not have the time to teach values and morals to children. Schools no longer provide moral instruction classes. I feel there is a general breakdown of the value system, which is contributing towards increased violence and divorces today. Tolerance is no longer considered a virtue. This dangerous trend should be stopped.” With so many accolades to her name, Sarojini shares her piece of wisdom with the women of today, “Society has given us so much, I think it is our duty to give back to society what we got from it. This is payback time.”

Expresso@epmltd.com

 

TNIE, Expresso, Page 2, 10-12-2008