Prema Nandakumar responds to P.V. Srividya and Vikram Gopal:

Owing to editorial suggestion on space constraint (250 words), I shall be brief.

Purity, selflessness, and forbearance: these are eternal verities, same for man and woman. ‘Mother’, in the Indian context, is never just the biological mother. Since women have the maternal instinct by nature, nursing and teaching are preferred professions for them. Sister Subbulakshmi Ammal was such a mother. Traditional festivals seek happy interpersonal relationship for a peaceful society. If the rope used for drawing water is used to make a noose, it is not the fault of the rope.

An empowered woman helps herself and others. Sanghamittra was a nun; Ahalyabai lost her husband and child but assumed office herself and gave enlightened leadership to her kingdom; Lilavati, was a widow who went on to be known as a mathematical genius; and Mirabai had no children, yet has she shown a sunlit path to many. Such persons inspire others to become heroes and heroines.

The epic heroines of India help us in counselling young girls against suicidal tendencies. These women of the past lived to prove themselves, never taking the easy way out. Like Kannaki, who lived on to prove Kovalan’s innocence.

As the earlier writer had begun with Swami Vivekananda, my chronology followed him through the nationalist movement to the Gandhian Movement. The two young journalists have not included Venkata Rangacharyulu and Vedanayakam Pillai in their list. Should I then accuse them of deliberately ignoring South India’s contribution to women’s emancipation?

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