We often refer to our country as Mother India, admiringly saying “Bharat Mata ki jai”, and conveying our reverence of women and mothers in particular! Since time immemorial, women have been respected as the essence of life – the creators, the caretakers, and the nurturers of generations to come. In essence, they are the symbol of purity and veneration.
Though most of the world today tends towards a patriarchal system, many places are still matriarchal, where women completely rule the roost! But whichever system may be followed, the world acknowledges that women are not just a force to be reckoned with, but are the essence of society.
There are and have been great women all around us – national leaders like Indira Gandhi and Margaret Thatcher, and saints like Mother Teresa, guiding the world through piety and example. Women are heads of corporates, artistes, writers, doctors and teachers. Yet most importantly they are mothers, wives and daughters, the soul of society.
On a day meant to celebrate women, what would be the unique message to the woman in your life? Whether it is your mother, your sister, your wife or your daughter; each one is exceptional in her own right, and each is deserving of that extra love and care reserved for that very particular person. Women’s Day is celebrated in different ways, but the central theme is the same: a woman is to be revered, cherished, loved, cared for and appreciated.
My mother, Bilkees Latif, is graceful, artistic, compassionate, kind and caring. There are truly not enough adjectives to fully describe her. Though she is a writer, artist, and diplomat in her own right, her compassion and self-sacrifice toward those who are less fortunate is remarkable. Walking into the mafia-controlled slums of Dharavi and Kalina well over thirty years ago, she took a broom and pail, and got the slum women to clean along with her, leading by example and not from the solace of a sofa! Since then, for the last 32 years, she has continued to help the needy stand on their own feet, and give a better life and opportunity to them and their children.
My wife, Huma Bilgrami Latif, bubbly and pink-cheeked when we first met, is the matured, beautiful, sensitive and charming woman of today. Having perceived the need, she conceived You & I, leading from the front and ensuring that it achieves the high standards that she has set for it. Though very much the entrepreneur, she completely dotes on our son, thinking about him with every second waking moment. A truly caring and loving wife, concerned about my every need, very much a complete woman.
So on this Women’s Day, let’s ensure that all women are offered every opportunity, make certain they are protected and cared for, and appreciated in the special way that they truly deserve.
Asad K. Latif