On the occasion of the 50th year of India’s independence, the school decided to organize activities on the topic ‘WOMEN OF INDIA’ in the form of projects. Competitions, visits to work centers for women and exhibitions. The principal called a staff meeting and a notice was displayed on the notice board regarding the activities.
Before the bell rang for the prayer, a group of girls and boys and were reading the notice on the notice board. The discussion that followed was:
Zubeda, mamta, cline (talk to each other)
The topic they have selected is very interesting. We must fight for justice and equality.
Manoj: Injustice! Inequality! On the contrary you women are getting all the facilities such as special trains, special compartments, and special seats in buses. What more do you have to fight for? You all want special facilities and you say you want equality! If you want to be treated as equal to men then you have to suffer hardships like men.
Mamta: Manoj, you are seeing the issue with colored glasses. You boys, go wherever you want, come back late. You take part freely in co-curricular activities. If we want to go for a movie, mummy will ask, “With whom are you going? When will you come back? When we think of relaxing Mummy will say, “Help me in the kitchen. You have to learn everything. How will you manage when you get married?”
In spite of all this, if a girl completes her study and manages to get a good job, she has to leave the job, whenever there is a proposal for marriage, which is good according to the parents.
Take the example of my elder sister; she had a good job as a manager of a company. She had to leave the job when she got married. She is now just cooking, cleaning and looking after kids, though she is an engineer.
(There was quite a heated discussion between the boys and girls. Meanwhile, the bell rang. The pupils entered their class and still the discussion continued, as the prayers were over and the teacher had not yet come. At that time, the Principal enters with four other teachers. The class greets the teachers and settles down.)
Principal: What are you all so busy discussing?
Monitor: We read the notice on the notice board about the projects and we were discussing them.
Principal: Have you all followed the topic? What the use of discussing like this? You have to proceed systematically. You have to collect material, organize it and present it in a proper way. Some of your teachers are here. They will give you teacher Mrs. D’Souza, in-charge of co-curricular activities, will tell you about the activities.
Mrs. D’Souza: The main purpose of this program is to make everyone understand the importance of women in society and for its development. Though there is some difference in the physical structure of man and woman, the goals of both are the same. Women have proved their abilities in all fields. Even those which were considered to be a preserve only of men such as aviation, police, defenses, sports and mountaineering etc. Both men and women have to work together for social and national development. Women form a major section of society. If they are not given education and opportunities, the nation will not progress. It was for this reason that Mahatma Gandhi stated: If you educate a man, you educate an individual. If you educate a woman, you educate a family.”
Considering all these facts, the following subtopics have been selected:
(i) Women in the Freedom Movement.
(ii) Status of women in society.
(iii) Achievements of women.
(iv) Problems of women.
Each class will form groups and work on one sub-topic. The groups will collect information from books, newspaper cuttings, stories etc. They will prepare projects, posters, charts, cultural programmers. The projects, posters, charts will be displayed at the exhibition. The cultural program will be presented as variety entertainment. So a lot of concrete work has to be done. The main thing, all of you have to bear in mind is that all work will be done both by boys girl, will do whatever work is assigned.
Principal: Mrs. D’Souza has given you general idea of the entire activity. Your class will be working on the first sub-topic ‘WOMEN IN THE FREEDOM MOVEMENT’. Now your History teacher, Mrs. Ghate will give you a brief idea of the women in Indian Freedom Movement.
Mrs. Ghate: Women were highly respected during the Vedic period. Later on, certain restrictions were put on them and they were not allowed to study the Vedas and speak Sanskrit. The men had so many rites but the women had one rite only and that was Marriage.
Leaders like Swami Vivekanand and Mahatma Gandhi, who worked for the upliftment of women, strongly believed in the participation of women in social development. Mahatma Gandhi went to different regions of the country and addressed the people, especially the women. Lest year, you studied ‘The Story of Freedom Movement’. Do you remember any of them?
Mamta: Rani Laxmibai of Jhansi fought bravely and tried to save Jhansi from the British. She declared: “I shall never surrender my Jhansi.”
Mrs. Ghate: You are right. She fought with valour, determination and courage and sacrificed her life for Jhansi. British soldiers were impressed by her indomitable courage. Begum Hazarat Mahal inspired and helped the sepoys. This was during the National uprising of 1857.
In the Chittagong Armoury Raid, young girls like Kalpana Dutt, Pritilata Waddedar took part in the raid. In response to the call given by Mahatma Gandhi, thousands of women joined the Satyagraha movement. Indian women took the freedom struggle to every household Madam Bhikaji Cama had unfurled the flag o India while she was in Europe. The most outstanding among the women freedom fighters were Kasturba Gandhi, Sarojini Naidu, Kamaladevi Chattopadhyaya, Hansaben Mehta, Avantikabai Gokhale, Kamala Nehru, Sucheta Kripalani, Usha Mehta, Aruna Asaf Ali.
In the Indian National Army led by Subhash Chandra Bose, the Rani Jhansi Regiment was an army battalion of women under the captaincy of Dr. Lakshmi Swaminathan.
We have broadly recapitulated the women who were freedom fighters and their contribution to the freedom movement. You have to read and find out more about them.
Principal: Mrs. Ghate has given you in brief an idea of the topic you have to work on. Mrs. Swamy, Your language teacher will give you an idea about compiling and processing the relevant material.
Mrs. Swamy: Now, I am sure you have got an idea of what the content of your project in going to be. Next, you will have to consider how you are going to collect the data, organize it and present it effectively. As regards the sources of your material, you will be able to find information in story books, Amar Chitra Katha series, history books and textbooks. For example, even TV serials like the one on Rani of Jhansi which was telecast will help you. All the matter collected has to be compiled and organized in proper sequence. The matter can be made more attractive by adding suitable illustrations. Of course, for all this, we are always there to guide you and help whenever you have problems.
Principal: With all this discussion, I am quite confident that you all will be able to prepare good projects and other material for the exhibition. You can start your planning with the help of your class teacher.
Pupils: Yes teacher, we all will work together and prepare good projects.
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