Remembering and reclaiming Pandita Ramabai
ICWM Pune Unit organized International women’s day in collaboration with Women’s Commission of the Diocese of Poona on 2nd April 2016 at Barco Hall, St. Xavier’s Church, Pune. More than hundred women belonging to different Christian denominations participated in the event. The program began at 4pm with a prayer by Rev. Chitralekha James from CNI and Ms. Nirmala Bhakre formally welcomed the guests and the gathering.
Adv. Anupama Dongre Joshi, the speaker of the day, presented the life of Pandita Ramabai. Adv. Anupama’s grand mother was one of the collaborators in Ramabai’s work and mission. She enlightened the participants about the life of Ramabai and some of the feature of her mission which are mostly ignored and forgotten today. She emphasized saying Ramabai as: Woman of Impact, Sanskrit scholar, social reformer, translator of the bible from Hebrew & Greek to Marathi, established the Arya Mahila Samaj for the cause of women’s education in Pune and established Mukti & Shrada Sadan where she sheltered and rescued the outcast children, child widows, orphans and other destitute women. Adv. Anupama also narrated some of the incidences of Ramabai’s life which she heard from her grandmother. The question that arises in everyone’s mind is why Pandita Ramabai is not remembered today even after her enormous contribution to the empowerment of marginalized in the Christian community or in Maharastra.
On this occasion of women’s day, we also took the opportunity to congratulate Sr. Lucy Kurien the recipient of Nari Shakti award from Indian Government recently. Sr. Flory Menezes briefed about Sr. Lucy’s life, her work and the achievements through Maher. She was very much appreciated by ICWM and Women’s commission of the diocese of Poona for her work for the poor and marginalized. Sr. Lucy in her message said that, we all need to come together and strengthen the support system. She further said that we need people who will give their time and loving touch to the lonely, distressed etc. and not only being compassionate towards them but also taking some steps to reach out to them by our actions. She challenged the women to leave the comfortable life and go beyond to reach out the people who need support.
Fr. Malcolm, the Vicar General of the Diocese of Poona, greeted everyone on women’s day. Taking from Sr. Lucy’s message and the life of Pandita Ramabai, he said that each one of us is called to be courageous women to continue the mission of Christ. To bring any change in society we need to take risk and have courage.
Thereafter Ms. Raynah Braganza, beautifully presented the life of Pandita Ramabai through a Power Point presentation. Streevani team kept alive the spirit and enthusiasm of women through the awareness songs and actions. The program was ended with the action song: we shall overcome sung by all which was followed by the national Anthem.