An exuberant culmination on the eve of Independence Day @ Patan

Patan, an ancient city of Gujarat established by Vanraj Chavda in 745 AD played host to the culmination of a fortnight long state wide celebrations of women empowerment.

It was the morning of 14th Aug, the eve of India’s 68th year of Independence. The southwest monsoon was being extremely kind on us. Ahmedabad had just woken up after a night full of rhythmic rains. A beautiful morning indeed it was – freshly drenched roads, bathed and brightened up trees, chirping birds and chattering monkeys, a blanket of mist hovering over the Narmada waters in the Sabarmati river … Oh! What a blessing to relish this nature’s immense bounty.

And as we drove past the city and hit the highway I couldn’t but resist noticing the carpet of green over growth skirting the roads, making them merge effortlessly with the endless fields. Fields busy with farmers tilling, women bending over and sowing perhaps singing away happily being one with nature. What a wonderful sight to behold and cherish! It’s precisely this monsoon season and the way it empowers our drenched and parched lands that makes driving an added pleasure on Gujarat’s well maintained highways.

While the towns and cities across the country were getting ready to celebrate India’s independence with patriotic fervor, Patan was all decked up and ready a day in advance.  An otherwise laidback ancient town was buzzing with intense activity. Women from all around were flooding the town. I couldn’t but help notice their happy cheer. And all this cause their beloved ‘happy sister’ – Anandiben 🙂 was going to spend two days amidst them.

Patan has been electing Gujarat’s first lady CM since a decade now.  Right from the well laid out roads to the major infrastructure projects visible all around, from the beautiful sprawling circuit house to the gardens one can figure out that Patan is not merely her constituency but truly her home which she nourishes and nurtures. And perhaps this is why the fortnight long celebrations of women empowerment happening all across the state was culminating at Patan. And why not, isn’t Patan already the cynosure of heritage lovers all over the world as its very own RankiVav was recently declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO!

The WOMEN EMPOWERMENT FORTNIGHT caught almost every eyeball in Gujarat and beyond for the past two weeks. An initiative which gave much deserved appreciation to the new lady CM of Gujarat and her passionate appeal towards continuous women empowerment as emphasized in her agenda of “100 Days Target towards a Progressive Gujarat”.    Even before she became the CM she brought in reforms for women in education, healthcare and housing . In fact in the state’s budget of 2014-15 one can notice a good-go for women oriented schemes. Not just the women help-lines like Abhayam-181 have been more active and its scope widened but care has been taken to increase the nutrition intake amongst pregnant women under the Kasturba Poshan Sahay Scheme. And not to forget the special emphasis of the state’s Suraksha Setu Society towards women empowerment and safety. And this is why I was present in Patan on that august morning partaking the festival like ambience at the APMC grounds.

Over 20 to 25 thousand women had congregated at the venue well in advance. It was a gathering from all strata – school girls, housewives, entrepreneurs, investors, farmers, businesswomen, hawkers, police women, community leaders and many more. While we all awaited the arrival of the CM the continuous singing of patriotic songs and bhajans of all faiths reverberated the grounds.  And amidst all this I could feel the tranquility and notice the orderly decorum maintained all along. The ambience truly personified women power, highly inspirational, indeed a sisterly celebration as it was conceived as!

The reason I was present was the dedication of our Suraksha Setu Rath by the CM to the state. The Rath is indigenously designed and developed by TEAM VAMA.  ‘Auto Design’ is now a newly added dimension in our capabilities!  This ultra-modern and eye catching bus has been primarily designed as a bridge between the police and the community and largely women in particular. To be eventually used for grievance redressel and awareness activities across the state. A sure shot in the arm for Women Empowerment!

As the CM walked into the venue there was a gush of excitement, an eagerness in the air to catch every word of hers. And she did not fail to deliver. And what a rapturous audience, catching her every word, raising a toast to her every appeal, clapping and showcasing a combined bonhomie of camaraderie… Promises sought and promises made!!! Truly an exuberant culmination to a fortnight long intensive exercise of Women Empowerment.

And as I leave the venue contemplating on the exhilarating morning, reminiscing the mixed bag of experiences, I am tapped on my shoulder by a old and a fragile looking disturbed lady – babbling away seeking my help to solve her problem. After a bit of prodding I understand her issue and as I take her along to look out for an appropriate grievance cell at the venue to help her out we sadly realize that there was non.  On inquiring with some official personnel we were asked to go over to some administrative office. This surely meant a long ordeal of going from one desk to another to another. Helpless as I stood not knowing how to help the lady I couldn’t but choke with emotions noticing the irony of our situation. Here I was supposedly well versed and a working professional I too am reeling under stress in the work space and have been spending the better part of this year trying to seek help resolving my pending issue, going from desk to desk literally and not knowing which door to knock on finally.  My situation seems no better than that poor lady at the APMC ground in Patan. Both of us are seeking deliverance and hope that this celebration of women power spear headed by Gujarat’s first lady CM will truly empower us and impart us justice just as to many other needy souls.

The happiness quotient of any society depends on the well being of its women and I do hope and pray that the promises made on the podium would not be mere words but a mission for keeps for the powers that are!

God Bless & Ciao!!!

Sincere Cheers to Women Power!