New Delhi: To celebrate the occasion of International Women’s Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday took a day off social media and handed his accounts to seven women achievers who shared their inspiring life stories through the day. Also Read - Parts of Delhi, UP Sealed Amid Cases Rising; Trump, Bolsonaro Praise Modi | Today's Top Developments
As part of his #SheInspiresUs campaign on ‘Nari Shakti (Women’s Empowerment), he commenced the day giving up his social media accounts. He wrote on Twitter, “Greetings on International Women’s Day! We salute the spirit and accomplishments of our Nari Shakti. As I’d said a few days ago, I’m signing off. Through the day, seven women achievers will share their life journeys and perhaps interact with you through my social media accounts.” Also Read - India-US Ties Stronger Than Ever, Tweets PM Modi, Says India Shall do Everything Possible to Fight COVID-19
Take a look at these women who steered one of the most influential social media handles of the world: Also Read - Thank You Modi, Will Not be Forgotten, Tweets Trump as India Allows Hydroxycholoroquine Export
1. Sneha Mohandoss
From Chennai, Sneha Mohandoss was the first woman among the seven lucky achievers to handle PM Modi’s Twitter and Instagram account. A 23-year-old communication student, Mohandoss is the founder of Chennai-based FoodBank-India, an initiative to fight against hunger.
A staunch believer in Mahatma Gandhi’s ideology, she urged people to feed at least one needy person of and stressed on zero wastage of food.
Sneha introduced herself on Twitter and said that she was inspired by her mother, who instilled the habit of feeding the homeless. “You heard of food for thought. Now, it is time for action and a better future for our poor. Hello, I am Sneha Mohandoss Inspired by my mother, who instilled the habit of feeding the homeless, I started this initiative called Foodbank India,” Mohandoss tweeted along with a video introducing herself.
“I feel empowered when I do what I’m passionate about! I wish to inspire my fellow citizens, especially women, to come forward and join hands with me. I urge everyone to feed at least one needy person and contribute to a hunger-free planet,” she wrote in another post.
2. Malvika Iyer
With one of the most heart-clenching stories of struggle, the second woman to handle the PM’s account was Malvika Iyer, a bomb blast survivor. Iyer was only 13-years-old when she survived a gruesome bomb blast in Bikaner, Rajasthan, in 2002 that left her an amputee. But that didn’t deter her from pursuing her dreams and get her medical degrees.
Narrating her story, she said how she survived a bomb blast at the age of 13, lost her arms but went on to get a PhD degree.
In her pinned tweet, Iyer took over Modi’s social media account and said, “Say hello to Dr Malvika Iyer Heart suit. PS: To everyone who’s been curious as to how I type, do you see that bone protruding from my right hand? That’s my one and only ‘extraordinary finger’. I even typed my PhD thesis with it.”
Iyer is an award-winning disability rights activist with a doctorate in social work. She is an international motivational speaker and the recipient of the ‘Nari Shakti Puraskar’, the highest civilian honour for women from the President. She is also a TEDx Speaker, a Model for Accessible Fashion and a Global Shaper at the Global Shapers Community (an initiative of the World Economic Forum).
Iyer co-chaired the World Economic Forum India Economic Summit 2017 and featured in UN Women editorial series ”From where I stand”, ”YES, WE CAN!” of 100 Inspiring Stories of Differently Abled Entrepreneurs by Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
3. Arifa Jan
From the land of Kashmir Valley, Arifa Jan followed next. “I always dreamt of reviving the traditional crafts of Kashmir because this is a means to empower local women. I saw the condition of women artisans and so I began working to revise Namda craft. I am Arifa from Kashmir and here is my life journey. “read the tweet as she spun a success story.
Arifa aims to revive ‘Numdah’, a traditional handicraft of Kashmir and give more Kashmiris the opportunity to work. She has trained more than 100 women in Kashmir and employed 25 Kashmiri artisans and increased wages of her employees from Rs 175 to Rs 450 per day. Despite the financial constraints faced by a female entrepreneur apart from criticism, she has actively promoted new designs of the craft.
Jan was awarded along with 15 other women by President Ram Nath Kovind. She was also conferred for her outstanding achievement in the revival of felting craft of Kashmir by a leading business house in Kashmir in 2013, Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016, and S-E-A Award in an event organised by a cold drinks company and Jagrati Yatra at Mumbai in 2018.
4. Kalpana Ramesh
Kalpana Ramesh, who on Women’s Day became the fourth woman to took over the Prime Minister’s social media accounts, gave a spin to the message on empowerment by urging people to become water warriors.
Appearing on the Prime Minister’s Twitter handle, Kalpana tweeted, “Be a warrior but of a different kind! Be a water warrior. Have you ever thought about water scarcity? Each one of us can collectively act to create a water-secure future for our children … Here is how I am doing my bit.”
A Hyderabad-based architect, Kalpana Ramesh advocates for water conservation in residential apartments and office blocks through rainwater harvesting.
A volunteer with SAHE, Society for Advancement of Human Endeavour, Ramesh also goes by the moniker ‘Go Green Water Champion”.
5. Vijaya Pawar
Up next, Vijaya Pawar on Sunday familiarised Indians with the handicrafts of the Banjara community in Maharashtra through PM Modi’s handle.
An artisan of Banjara handicraft for the last two decades, Vijaya presented the rural Gormati art of Maharashtra and showcased through a video how she encouraged thousands of women artisans working with 90 self-help groups (SHGs) under her guidance.
“There is a struggle behind it. Banjara handicraft has changed into a languishing art,” she tweeted.
6. Kalaveti Devi
The sixth woman achiever taking over the Prime Minister’s accounts was Kalaveti Devi, a woman mason from Kanpur. Through her powerful story, she narrated how she became a driving force behind reducing open defecation in the district of Kanpur.
Introducing herself, she tweeted in Hindi: “The place where I used to live was a living hell. But there was a strong belief that through cleanliness we can change this situation.”
Kalaveti is responsible for building more than 4,000 toilets in villages in and around Kanpur. Her indomitable spirit did not shake despite being a single earner in the family, taking care of her elder daughter and her two grandchildren after the untimely death of her husband and son-in-law.
In an inspiring message, urging people to never deter from their missions, she urged to head out and hit the streets. “If someone speaks foul of you, let them do it. If you want to achieve your goal, then do not look back,” she said.
7. Veena Devi
“Where there is a will, there is a way,” read a post as the final person took charge of PM Modi’s social media accounts. Here was 43-year-old Bina Devi from Munger district of Bihar, better known as “Mushroom Mahila”.
Veena is recognised for popularising mushroom cultivation in the Maoist-affected Belhar block of Munger. Her tireless efforts in the last five years have popularised mushroom cultivation in many villages and helped improve farmers’ economic condition.
“My real identity began with cultivating one kilo of mushrooms under the bed. But this farming not only made me self-sufficient, but gave a new life by increasing my confidence,” she wrote.
Not just that, Veena has also been teaching farmers organic farming, compost-making and organic insecticides and due to her courage and positive attitude, women in the area are also taking up cattle rearing.
Devi’s efforts have seen farmers in 105 villages opting for mushroom cultivation. She is also providing digital training and has helped over 700 women to use mobile phones.
With inputs from agencies