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Exclusive: Meet Indian Superwomen who broke the glass ceilings in the face of every stereotype

Barring the alleged clichés on the gender difference women are now spotted with limitless strength from crossing oceans to hiking the lofty mountains.

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Women performing Stunts

March 18, 2017: Within the world of superheroes, we forgot to recognize the actuality of superwomen in the same world. A lot has been said about the women’s ineptness – Women are fragile, or even for that matter they say – Women can’t handle pain. Repudiating the alleged clichés on the gender difference women are now spotted with limitless strength from crossing the oceans to hiking the lofty mountains. While the superhero is known for saving other’s lives, a superwoman is the one who fights with the demons of society.

Newsgram brings to you the story of two heroic women who shun every stereotype and made through the top. Reporter Naina Mishra got in touch with Geeta Tandon (an Indian stuntwoman) and Anam Hashim (the youngest professional bike stunt performer and rider) to get a glimpse of their superlative skills.


 GEETA TANDON 

Geeta Tandon is an Indian stuntwoman. She came into the glare of publicity in Khatron Ke Khiladi 5

Geeta was too naive and docile when she got married to a brutal man. At the age of 15, she faced the tumultuous fits of her in-laws who spared no effort to rip her apart. Her husband once declared her ill fortune into ending up as a sex worker if she chooses to leave him. Notwithstanding, she escaped with her two children one night and never came back. It was until now Geeta thought about herself for the first time in her life and swore by nevermore to look behind.

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Geeta is a Bollywood stunt woman and has body doubled for popular actresses including Kareena, Alia Deepika Padukone. Nevertheless, her journey has not been smooth. From sexual abuse of her husband to a performer in Bhangra group and finally making it through a stunt woman, Geeta has shunned every stereotype reaching her way. For her, suicide was never an option and henceforth through an austere painstaking character, she entered the hall of fame.

“A Stunt woman is strong and the one who wants to accomplish something in life. She is equally competitive to the men. There comes not a single day when she doesn’t feels the agony, but she keeps moving for herself. 

(Geeta Tandon defined the sentiment of a Stuntwoman to Newsgram)

“In the industry also, people come up and tell us that a particular work can’t be done. But the confidence of attaining the unattainable lies within ourselves. One day I asked my master to give me a chance to prove myself, it was presumed by everyone out there that the stuntwomen will be incompetent for the action sequence, but I picked up with the pace and completed the task”, commented Geeta Tandon on gender differences.

“our society tries to wither the spirit of the person. There will be doubters and there will be people who will try to bring you down but what keeps you going is the invincible spirit.”

There was a time she had to seek out for living in slums, but somehow she knew that she doesn’t have to give up at the helm of the doldrums. She now owns a flat in Mumbai. The Bollywood stunt woman aspires to be an ‘Action Film Director’.

ANAM HASHIM

Anam came into the glare of publicity right after a video of her performing ‘Christ’, which is a type of stunt went viral.

Anam Hashim is the youngest stunt rider of the nation. The 21-year-old is known to be the first woman who had ridden to Khardung La on a TVS Scooty. Being born into a Muslim family, her journey has not been loose either.

“I had to fight with my family and leave everything in pursuit of my dreams. My dad taught me how to right a motorcycle and later on, I told him that I want to do stunts.”

‘Breaking barriers’ is exorbitant nowadays but our youngest female street bike freestyle athlete opposes the term “breaking-barriers” while speaking to Newsgram.

“It’s never about breaking barriers as the barriers are just in the head. The problem with people is that they are living with preset limitation for women decided a millennium ago. They don’t try to explore. I think like this way – I ride a Motorcycle; Motorcycle doesn’t know your gender.”

Anam Hashim is invited to world’s biggest platform TEDx – IIT Hyderabad (March 19) to inspire youth and inculcate a sense of individualism in youngsters. She aspires to ace the stunt riding championships across the world and grow her own company dreamsmotorsports.


 

The mindset that girls cannot perform what men are capable of is a thing of a past now. Most of the women start loathing their own self and lose faith in times of despairs, however, to abandon hope should be the last thing on your mind because not many live a life of warrior but those who do are the most fortunate ones. It is so easy to break the glass ceilings if we know the strength of our arms.

– Reporting by Naina Mishra, Twitter: Nainamishr94

 

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‘It is time to see the world through a Feminist Gaze’, says Shabana Azmi

Jio MAMI hosted a brunch to discuss and inspire women equality and quality films, which was graced by Manisha Koirala, Shabana Azmi, Kiran Rao, Anupama Chopra, Sayani Gupta, Kriti Sanon, Neha Dhupia and many more

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Shabana Azmi
Shabana Azmi. Wikimedia

Mumbai, October 17, 2017: Veteran actress Shabana Azmi on Monday said it is the time people started seeing the world through a “feminine gaze”.

The pro-equality actress was speaking at “#F for Freedom MAMI” segment of Jio MAMI 19th Mumbai Film Festival.

“I am very delighted that MAMI this year is concentrating on making women’s work more visible. I think it is high time that we started to see the world through feminine gaze,” she said.

Jio MAMI hosted a brunch to discuss and inspire women equality and quality films, which was graced by Manisha Koirala, Shabana Azmi, Kiran Rao, Anupama Chopra, Sayani Gupta, Kriti Sanon, Neha Dhupia and many more.

ALSO READ Divya Khosla Kumar wishes to make ‘Women Oriented Films’ now

Manisha Koirala, who has been vocal about gender equality, said she was happy that JIO MAMI is recognizing women’s contribution.

“Tumhari Sulu” actress Neha Dhupia said that things aren’t changing but with a little initiative, things will change in coming times. “Just because there is a women-centric film after 30-40 others release, everyone feels that things are changing but they are not changing just yet.”

Kiran Rao, the lady behind the initiative, expressed that main objective was to inspire women and get them in mainstream cinema, either in front or behind.

“The initiative was started two years ago, to inspire females to be part of the film industry, not just tell their stories. We want females to join film industry as writers, actors, technicians, creative arts and camera persons as this will improve the condition of women,” said Kiran.

Film critic Anupama Chopra said that the issue of equality in the film was not just limited to Bollywood, “it is rampant everywhere”. (IANS)

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UN Brings the World Together to Fight Violence Against Women and Girls; 1 in Every 3 Women Currently Face Gender-based Oppression Globally

A third of all women experience violence at some point in their lives, and that figure is twice as high in some countries, according to the United Nations

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Violence against women
Head of U.N. Women Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka speaks on stage at WE Day U.N. at The Theater at Madison Square Garden, in New York City (VOA)

United Nations, September 21, 2017 : World leaders meeting at the United Nations on Wednesday launched a half-billion-dollar effort to end violence against women and girls, a crime suffered by 1 in 3 in their lifetimes.

The effort will fund anti-violence programs that promote prevention, bolster government policies and provide women and girls with improved access to services”, organizers said.

It will take particular aim at all categories of violence against women- human trafficking, femicide and family violence.

A third of all women experience violence at some point in their lives, and that figure is twice as high in some countries, according to the United Nations.

“Gender-based violence is the most dehumanizing form of gender oppression. It exists in every society, in every country rich and poor, in every religion and in every culture,” Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, head of U.N. Women, said as the United Nations held its annual General Assembly.

“If there was anything that was ever universal, it is gender inequality and the violence that it breeds against women,” she said.

In other forms of violence against women and girls, more than 700 million women worldwide were married before they were 18, and at least 200 million women and girls have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries, according to U.N. figures.

The initiative of 500 million euros (US$595 million) was launched by the U.N. and the European Union, which is its main contributor, organizers said.

“The initiative has great power,” said Ashley Judd, a Hollywood actress and goodwill ambassador for the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA) who participated in Wednesday’s announcement.

ALSO READ Violence against Women and Girls Imposes Large-scale Costs on Families, Communities and Economies, says UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

“There are already so many effective, research-based, data-driven programs,” Judd told the Thomson Reuters Foundation ahead of the announcement. “Financing for existing programs is a beautiful thing.

“It also makes an incredibly powerful statement to show that the world is increasingly cohesive around stopping gender-based violence,” she said. (VOA)

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Mahalaya: Beginning of “Devipaksha” in Bengali Celebration of ‘Durga Puja’

“Mahalaya” is the auspicious occasion that marks the beginning of “Devipaksha” and the ending of “Pitripaksha” and heralds the celebration of Durga Puja

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Mahalaya morning in Kolkata. Flickr
  • Mahalaya 2017 Date: 19th september.
  • On Mahalaya, people throng to the holy river Ganges in order to pay homage to their ancestors and forefathers; which is called ‘Torpon’
  • Mahalaya remains incomplete without the magical chanting of the scriptural verses from the ‘Chandi Kavya’ that is broadcasted in All India Radio
  • The magic is induced by the popular Birendra Krishna Bhadra whose voice makes the recitation of the “Chandi Kavya” even more magnificent

Sept 19, 2017: Autumn is the season of the year that sees the Hindus, all geared up to celebrate some of the biggest festivals of India. The festive spirit in the Bengalis all enthused to prepare for the greatest of the festivals, the ‘Durga Puja’.

About Mahalaya:

Mahalaya is the auspicious occasion that marks the beginning of “Devipaksha” and the ending of “Pitripaksha,” and this year it is celebrated on September 19.

Observed exactly a week before the ‘Durga Puja’, Mahalaya is the harbinger of the arrival of Goddess Durga. It is celebrated to invoke the goddess possessing supreme power! The goddess is invited to descend on earth and she is welcomed with devotional songs and holy chants of mantras. On this day, the eye is drawn in the idols of the Goddess by the artisans marking the initiation of “Devipaksha”. Mahalaya arrives and the countdown to the Durga Puja begins!

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The day of Mahalaya bears supreme significance to the Bengalis. The day is immensely important because on this day people throng to the holy river Ganges in order to pay homage to their ancestors and forefathers. Clad in white dhotis, people offer prayers and take dips in the river while praying for their demised dear ones. The ritual is popular as “Torpon”.

Mahalaya
An idol-maker in progress of drawing the eye in the idol of the Goddess. Wikipedia

As per Hindu myth, on “Devipaksha”, the Gods and the Goddesses began their preparations to celebrate “Mahamaya” or Goddess Durga, who was brought upon by the trinity- Brahma, Vishnu, and Maheshwara; to annihilate the fierce demon king named Mahishasura. The captivating story of the Goddess defeating the demon got popularized with the goddess being revered as “Durgatinashini” or the one who banishes all the evils and miseries of the world. The victory of the Goddess is celebrated as ‘Durga Puja’.

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Mahalaya remains incomplete without the magical chanting of the scriptural verses from the ‘Chandi Kavya’ that is broadcasted at dawn in All India Radio in the form of a marvelous audio montage enthralling the souls of the Bengalis. Presented with wonderful devotional music, acoustic drama, and classical songs- the program is also translated to Hindi and played for the whole pan-Indian listeners.

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Mahalaya
Birendra Krishna Bhadra (1905-1991). Wikipedia

The program is inseparable from Mahalaya and has been going on for over six decades till date. The magic is induced by the popular Birendra Krishna Bhadra whose voice makes the recitation of the “Chandi Kavya” even more magnificent! He has been a legend and the dawn of Mahalaya turns insipid without the reverberating and enchanting voice of the legendary man.

Mahalaya will keep spreading the magic and setting the vigor of the greatest festival of the Bengalis- the Durga Puja, to worship the supreme Goddess, eternally.

                 “Yaa Devi Sarbabhuteshu, Shakti Rupena Sanhsthita,

                     Namastaswai Namastaswai Namastaswai Namo Namaha.”

– by Antara Kumar of NewsGram. Twitter: @ElaanaC