Women played pivotal role: Prof Habib | india | Hindustan Times
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Women played pivotal role: Prof Habib

WHILE CELEBRATING its silver jubilee, the All India Democratic Women?s Association (AIDWA) remembered the historic role of women in the country?s freedom movement. At a seminar held here today, noted historian Prof Irfan Habib documented the contribution of women in the freedom struggle ever since the historic movement of 1857. He said there were several instances of women playing a pivotal role and shaping the direction of the freedom movement.

india Updated: Nov 16, 2006 09:58 IST

WHILE CELEBRATING its silver jubilee, the All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) remembered the historic role of women in the country’s freedom movement. At a seminar held here today, noted historian Prof Irfan Habib documented the contribution of women in the freedom struggle ever since the historic movement of 1857. He said there were several instances of women playing a pivotal role and shaping the direction of the freedom movement.

Prof Habib said the pioneering role of Rani Laxmi Bai and Begum Hazrat Mahal could never be forgotten. The former professor of the Aligarh Muslim University said, Rani Laxmi Bai was the first woman who stood up against the British. Rani Laxmi Bai’s fight to protect her own rights also embodied the struggle of the nation against the British regime, he added.

Speaking on the violence against women, Prof Habib said the phenomenon was highly pronounced during British rule. Quoting from the ‘History of a Sepoy’, Prof Habib said the British army used to burn entire villages along with women and children.

He said violence against the fairer sex was an old phenomenon and continued even today. He said though some historians glorified ‘sati’, the practice had been criticized in the ancient literature.

National president of AIDWA Subhasini Ali said women’s contribution in the freedom struggle was being buried in history. Only names like Ajeejanbai, Udha Devi, Begum Hazrat Mahal and Rani Laxmi Bai were remembered while discussing the contribution of women in the freedom movement, she said.

She said in the name of globalisation and modernization inequality was being practiced. She said women were its worst victims. He said the declining sex ratio was a glaring example. She said by promoted pro-US policies India would not turn into New York. On the occasion, Prof Roop Rekha Verma, Dr Neelam Singh, Ved Prakash and Nirmala Pradhan were awarded with Durga Bhabhi award for their contribution in promoting gender equality.  Earlier, at Lucknow University seminar, Prof Habib said history books did not highlight the atrocities inflicted by Britishers on the Indians during 1857. The books mostly projected how Indians retaliated and waged war against the Britishers. Asghar Wajahat spoke about different shades of the 1857 struggle.