To show respect streets and roads are named after important people in a country. Many popular roads in India are named after Freedom Fighters, Kings, Scientists, Social reformers and so on. However, the sad part is that despite securing a special place in India’s history, most of the cities’ roads fail to be reminiscent of women achievers.
The road “Pandita Ramabai Marg” is located in Gamdevi in Mumbai.
Given this, it is heartening that we finally have a road named after a female social reformer. The road “Pandita Ramabai Marg” is located in Gamdevi in Mumbai. Pandita Ramabai Saraswati was a powerful female figure who initiated the Arya Mahila Samaj to elevate the status of women.
The epitome of women empowerment
An Indian social reformer, an erudite Sanskrit scholar, Pandita Ramabai devoted her life working for the upliftment of women. The University of Calcutta bestowed upon her titles of ‘Pandita’ and ‘Saraswati’.
In 1882 Ramabai moved to western India and started Arya Mahila Samaj. Incidentally, the Arya Mahila Samaj Hostel on Dr Kashibai Navrange Marg is part of the Pandita Ramabai Marg.
Besides that, Ramabai also founded Sharada Sadan in the erstwhile Bombay, with just two students and a principle of observing complete religious freedom. Later it shifted to Pune and became the Pandita Ramabai Mukti Mission.
Reflection of liberal thought
“Somebody who spoke about difficulties faced by women 150 years ago is not an ordinary person. She is a reflection of liberal thought and did immense social work, despite all opposition,” said Arvind Ganacharia, retired head of the department, history, in Mumbai University.
“The Arya Mahila Samaj was started on November 30, 1882, by Pandita Ramabai with the aim of empowering and educating each woman for leading a dignified life. 150 women attended the inaugural meeting. On the first day, 16 women members were enrolled. We are in our 136th year and the Arya Mahila Samaj has turned into a trust.”said Dr Asavari Paredkar, a trustee.
Talking about the various initiatives taken to empower girls, he adds that they have opened a hostel for girls. Furthermore, they provide scholarships for underprivileged girls and women.
The neglect in streets being named after female path breakers across the country reflects how easily we belittle women’s accomplishments. However, we hope other cities take a cue from Mumbai.