India will be celebrating its 72nd Republic Day. It was in January 1950 when our Constitution came into effect. The Father of the Constitution, Dr B.R. Ambedkar couldn’t have shaped this without important contributions by women who came together from different backgrounds. Their voices and opinions were critical in shaping the final draft of the Constitution.
Many of these women included Dakshayani Velayudhan, the only Dalit woman member. There was also Begum Aizaz Rasul, the only Muslim woman member of the Constituent Assembly. All these women came from conservative families. They contributed significantly to the final draft of the Constitution. These women spoke against issues like gender discrimination and laying emphasis on concepts of liberty. They knew the plight of women and worked together to voice their concerns regarding the discrimination that Indian women faced. Women like Ammu Swaminathan were of the view that India should be a country with no gender inequality. There were only 15 women out of the total 389 members of the Constituent Assembly. But the strong views of these women and their emphasis on important issues prevailing in the society made it possible for major inclusions in our Constitution.
Upliftment of Women
Hansa Mehta worked towards the upliftment of women across society. She was the one who ensured that the ‘Universal Declaration of Human Rights’ was made inclusive. That is how the phrase “All men are born free and equal” was changed to “All human beings are born free and equal” in our Constitution. There were others like Sarojini Naidu, Rajkumari Amrit Kaur, Vijay Laxmi Pandit and many more who spoke against gender and caste discrimination. Their powerful voices had an impact on many and their thoughts eventually led to our Constitution becoming inclusive.
The important contributions that these women made to our Constitution prove that women have the power to change the world. The Constitution of India guarantees every individual the right to freedom and dignity. Despite this, there are still many places where gender inequality persists in India. It is the need of the hour to empower each and every woman. It’s equally important to bridge the gender gap that prevails in many parts of society.
Malala Yousafzai once said, “No struggle can ever succeed without women participating side by side with men.” So, this Republic Day, let us all remember these remarkable women. They didn’t think they were representing only themselves; they spoke on behalf of many other women. Without their strong opinions, the goal to frame a Constitution that was equal to all would not have been possible. Let us salute the women of India who make way through all adversities in life.