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Awakening women is her mission



Mohinder Kaur

How many educated women in the country are bothered about the plight of their peers who, despite being elected to positions of power, are reduced to mere shadows, while their husbands or some other males run the show? Here is a 62-year old woman from a remote village in Punjab, who is on a tour of the country to improve her lot.

Meet Mohinder Kaur, who is serving as president of a mahila mandal in Dhoot Kalan village of Hoshiarpur district in Punjab for nearly two decades. She was perturbed by the rampant illiteracy among rural women in Punjab. They are made village heads but simply put their signatures as directed by their husbands, who take the decisions on the panchayat affairs.

"The women are not utilising the facilities being given to them by the Government. They cannot develop as long as they continue to depend on males," she says.

She took upon herself the task of awakening women on various issues in rural areas. She set off on her yatra in October 1992. She hops onto buses, trains and even trucks to reach her destination and does not find travelling alone a problem at all. After touring for a few months, she goes back to her native village and starts on her mission after some break.

Kaur, who speaks Punjabi, Hindi and a little English, has covered 23 States so far. She also visited Nepal in May 2001 and saw the working of the village samithis there and met the members of the National Women's Association of Bhutan in Thimpu, the next month. She feels that Hindi should be made compulsory right from the primary stage all over India so that it can act as a link language and contribute to unity in diversity.

"The gram panchayat system in Karnataka is good," she says, and is impressed by the women bus conductors in Hyderabad and women drivers and conductors in Karnataka.

About her family, she says with sense of pride: "All Indians are my family members and the whole country is like my own house. Our politicians can take a cue from this woman of India.

Those who want to hear this woman can tune in to All India Radio, Visakhapatnam, at 5 p.m. on Monday.

B.M.G.

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