The seventh edition of the HT Woman Awards saw the UP government committing itself to end the scourge of child sexual abuse, the theme of this year’s award.
Each year, along with felicitating women of substance from across the state, HT Woman Awards has been associating itself with a cause: female foeticide, human trafficking and acid attack survivors being some among them.
Begum Masroor Jahan, who was unable to complete formal education but went on to pen over 65 novels and 500-plus short stories, was crowned HT Woman 2017. Many scholars have done their PhD research on her works.
The other achievers were no less important. Bareilly’s Rashmi Gupta, on whose intervention several cases of child abuse were taken up, was the runner-up.
The other winners included Agra’s Tanupriya Singh, who made a national mark jumping from an aircraft from 1500 ft, Baghpat’s 86-year old Chandro Tomar, popularly known as ‘Revolver Dadi’, Rana Safavi from Noida, 93-year old Manno Ghosh from Vrindavan, Gorakhpur’s Urmila Shukla, Farah Siddiqui Matin, who composed 100 poems in 60 days, Meerut’s Seema Tomar, Lakhimpur’s Nidhi Mishra, Shalini Agarwal Arora from Bareilly and Lucknow’s Madhavi Kuckreja and Shivi Kapil.
Before 14 women achievers and the lone male winner – Man behind a successful woman category introduced for the first time – were felicitated, some victims of child abuse used the HT stage to narrate heart wrenching stories of betrayal, in some cases by their own relatives or someone near.
The narration moved UP’s health minister Siddharth Nath Singh, grandson of former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, who said the Yogi Adityanath government would provide free medical aid to victims of child abuse.
“The government will launch an awareness campaign on the issue and I would also allow child abuse victims to talk about their plight from the public functions I attend. I would also seek support from Hindustan Times in creating awareness on the subject,” said the minister whose wife Dr Nita Singh, like many others, was visibly moved when child abuse victims narrated their plight.
When students from Prayaas, a special school for slum kids, made a musical presentation, celebrity-turned-Delhi BJP chief and MP Manoj Tiwari, who arrived in Lucknow especially for the HT Awards, too, started singing.
Popular singer Malavika Hariom, wife of a senior bureaucrat, too, moved the audience with her melodious voice.