Happy IWD 2021!
HAPPY INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY to the wonderful women out there! This year’s theme is #Choosetochallenge, so I challenge all women, regardless of age, background etc to step out of their comfort zones and be a better version of themselves – whether career, home, sports, health, family, self-love you name it. If you put your mind to it – you can!!!
An inspiring story about my Great-Grandmother, who was affectionately known as Maaji, did it over 80 years ago despite being illiterate and she helped saved lives as a result. My dad, a professional photographer, took this picture of Maaji, back in the late 60s, in Delhi.
As was prevalent back then, Maaji married my Great-Grandfather, aged 5 years old and they wouldn’t move into together until their late teens. Gandhi’s freedom movement for India was beginning to take flight and my Great-Grandfather took leave and became a freedom fighter, for which he was recognised later. But not before teaching Maaji valuable medical and homeopathic knowledge he’d been taught during his medical degree.
While Maaji was not only doing her best to raise four children, she helped vulnerable women in her village to give birth and dispensed medicine to anyone who needed it. As she couldn’t read nor write, she had cleverly set up her own colour-coding system to know which medicines to dispense.
Maternal mortality has always been a huge problem in rural India, mainly due to limited access to healthcare and poor sanitisation. Strong patriarchies, casteism and lack of education for women have also played a role. Only in recent years, has it begun to decline as organisations have gone into villages, broken down barriers and trained local women to become health workers.
Thank goodness my great-grandfather was more progressive. Had Maaji received an education, or even existed in our current times, I wonder what she’d have been? She’d definitely have Chosen to Challenge…May every female in your life be lifted up to reach her full potential