NEW DELHI: Women empowerment dominated the theme of tableaux of several states and forces during the parade at Kartavya Path on the occasion of the 74th Republic Day on Thursday.
The defence forces have taken a leap towards empowering women and providing equal opportunities towards serving the nation and safeguarding it.
Entry to girls in Sainik and Military Schools as well as the NDA has opened new vistas. Women soldiers will also be inducted through the ‘Agnipath Scheme. They have already been making significant contributions as part of joint exercises with friendly foreign countries as well as in UN Peace keeping missions. An all-women platoon for the UN Mission in Abyei is the singular largest deployment of women peacekeepers in recent years.
Recent sky diving activity by three women soldiers and Captain Shiva Chauhan, the first woman officer to serve in Siachen glacier at an altitude of 15,600 ft signifies that no battlefield is untouched by audacious women. The participation by women in combat zones too got a fillip with the recent announcement of commissioning women officers in the Corps of Artillery.
In a landmark, decision the government approved the setting up of 100 new Sainik Schools from Class 6 onwards. The admission of girl children was initiated in Sainik School, Chhingchhip, in the academic session 2018-19 and 2019-20. From the academic session 2021-22, the same has been opened for girls in all 33 Sainik schools. As of date, 698 girl students are studying as boarders in these schools, a way forward to the NDA and other defence academies.
Indian Navy Tableau
The Indian Navy presented the tableau based on the theme ‘Indian Navy-Combat Ready, Credible, Cohesive and Future Proof’, showcasing the multidimensional capabilities of the Indian Navy, Nari Shakti and key indigenously designed and built inductions under ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’.
The tableau Commanders were Lt Cdr Inderjeet Singh Chauhan and Lt Varsha Shinde. Also present on the tableau for the first time are two Agniveer women Tannu Vishwakarma and Pradeesha AP.
The forward part of the tableau (on the tractor) showcases the women aircrew of Dornier aircraft flying overhead; highlighting all-women crew surveillance sortie undertaken last year. The main section of the tableau (on the trailer) illustrates the ‘Make in India’ initiatives of the Navy.
Indian Navy Marching Contingent
The Naval Contingent of 144 young sailors, led by Lt Cdr Disha Amrith, who hails from Mangaluru in Karnataka, as Contingent Commander and Lt Ashwani Singh, Sub Lt Priyanka Sharma and Sub Lt M Aditya as Platoon Commanders. The notable thing was that the marching contingent, for the very first time in history, consisted of three women and six men Agniveers.
Lieutenant Commander Disha Amrith is the daughter of Amrith Kumar, former Karnataka chairman Bal Bhavan, and Leela Amrith, a retired bank manager who live Tilak Nagar near Boloor in Mangaluru.
IAF Marching Contingent
The Indian Air Force (IAF) marching contingent comprised of 144 Air Warriors and four Officers led by Sqn Ldr Sindhu Reddy and marched past the Kartavya Path in 12×12 box formation. The three supernumerary officers marching behind the contingent commander were Flight Lieutenant Ayush Agarwal, Flight Lieutenant Tanuj Malik, and Flight Lieutenant Pradhan Nikhil.
Central Reserve Police Force Marching Contingent
An all-women contingent from CRPF, ‘Peacekeepers of the Nation’, was led by Assistant Commandant Poonam Gupta. The force has the distinction of raising the first-ever women-armed police battalion in the world. Constable Kamlesh Kumari was conferred the Ashok Chakra, the highest peacetime award for gallantry for her supreme sacrifice while responding to the Parliament attack.
Delhi Police Band
Band Master Inspector Rajender Singh led the Delhi Police Band, comprising an inspector, nine sub-inspectors, nine assistant sub-inspectors, 15 head constables and 42 constables. The Delhi Police women pipe band, comprising of 35 women constables, participated in Republic Day Parade for the first time. The band played the ‘Delhi Police Song’.
BSF Camel Contingent
For the first time, women riders on their decorated camels followed by the ‘Caravan’ participated in the Republic Day Parade 2023, showcasing the theme of empowerment of Indian women in various fields.
NCC Combined Band
The combined band of NCC Boys Scindia School, Gwalior, and NCC Girls Birla Balika Vidya Peeth, Pilani, Rajasthan, was led by Senior Under Officer Abhisekh Chauhan and Sweksha Gupta. The band played the tune ‘Sare Jahan Se Acha’.
NCC Girls Marching Contingent
NCC Girls Marching Contingent
Senior Under Officer Sonali Sahoo of NCC Directorate, Odisha, led the NCC contingent consisting of 148 senior division cadets drawn from all 17 directorates of the NCC.
National Service Scheme (NSS) Marching Contingent
The contingent comprised 148 volunteers. The National Service Scheme has 3.91 million volunteers in its fold, drawn from 657 universities, 51 directorates and two councils, 20,669 colleges and institutions of higher learning and 11,998 senior secondary schools.
The contingent marched under the command of Aanchal Sharma from Himachal Pradesh, Regional Directorate of NSS, Chandigarh.
NSS volunteers render selfless service to the community in the field of education, health, environment enrichment, rural development, disaster management, shramdaan, swachhata abhiyan, blood donation, tree plantation, pulse polio immunisation, gender justice, etc.
Kerala presented a tableau on Naree Shakti and folk traditions of women empowerment that includes Kalaripayattu, a martial art with more than 2,000-year history, percussion and tribal traditions.
Kerala has the highest women’s literacy rate in the country and has the world’s largest women’s self-help network, Kudumbashree. The tableau connected women empowerment with literacy mission.
The tractor portrayed Karthyayani Amma, the winner of Nari Shakti Puraskar in 2020, who topped the literacy examination at the age of 96. Nanchiyamma, the first tribal woman to bag the national film award in 2022 for best playback singing is seen saluting the nation.
Tripura tableau’s theme was sustainable livelihood through tourism and organic farming in Tripura with active participation of women.
In this tableau, the beautiful Mahamuni Pagoda (Buddhist stupa), with its base adorned by bamboo reliefs was depicted at the front. The middle part shows various indigenous performing art forms of Tripura such as Hojagiri.
The composite culture of Tripura and participation of women in different fields is depicted through SHG women at work, women with baskets of pineapples, cottage, tea plantation workers and women dressed in colourful traditional costumes walking alongside the tableau.
The tableau of Maharashtra on the background of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav presented ‘Sade Tin Shaktipithe and Nari Shakti’ under the theme Narishakti. All these goddesses are considered sources of power and was reflected through this tableau.
In the front part of tableau, the Ghondali associated with the goddess can be seen playing the instrument Sambal, an important music instrument related to the Goddess. On the main body, one can see replicas of three-and-half Shakti Peeths.
At the centre of the tableau, there is a folk art form of Potraj and Aaradhi, associated with the goddess. A Maharashtrian woman depicted on the back side of the tableau represented feminine power. Overall the tableau showcased the feminine power as well as the intangible heritage of temple style and folk art of Maharashtra.
Tamil Nadu tableau
The tableau from Tamil Nadu was based on women empowerment and culture of the state which prevailed from the Sangam era to the present day.
The front portion of the tableau showcases a statue of the ancient poetess, Avvaiyar, an icon for intellectual women. She wrote ‘Aathichoodi’ and ‘Kondraiventhan’ amongst several other finest poems. She is also known as a noble and worshippable saint of exponential morality.
On either side of the front portion, the statue of Veeramangai Velu Naachiar riding on a horse is placed. She was the queen of Sivaganga (1780-90), who stood as an epitome of bravery and waged war against the East India Company.
The middle portion of the tableau showcases statues of eminent women personalities namely Carnatic singer Bharat Ratna M S Subbulakhsmi, the great Bharatanatyam exponent Padma Bhushan Tanjore Balasaraswati, pioneer of women doctors in India and social reformer, Padma Shushan Dr Muthulakshmi Reddy, a social reformer, author and political activist of the Dravidian movement, Moovalur Ramamirtham Ammaiyar and Padma Shri Pappammal, a popular organic farmer still active at the age of 105 in her agriculture field.
The rear portion of tableau showcases the replica of Thanjavur Brihadeeswara temple, built by the Great Chola King Rajaraja Chozhan. The temple is recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage ,Site known as the ‘Great Living Chola Temple.’
Karnataka’s tableau symbolically unveiled the exceptional achievements of three women achievers from Karnataka under the name ‘Nari Shakti’.
Sulagitti Narasamma, a midwife, Tulsi Gowda Halakki, known as Vruksha Maate (mother of trees), and Salumarada Thimmakka (Thimmakka of row of trees) have become noted names due to their selfless contributions to the society.
The Centre honoured them with the Padma Shri, the country’s fourth highest civilian award, for their outstanding achievement.
CAPF: Ministry of Home Affairs tableau
The CAPFs — BSF, CRPF, CISF, ITBP, SSB and Assam Rifles tableau was based on the theme of ‘Nari Shakti’ .
On top of the tractor portion of the tableau, a larger-than-life statue of a woman combatant is displayed wearing the state-of-the-art combat gear, carrying modern equipment and holding a weapon in alert mode. The woman combatant is standing on an armoured vehicle being used in operational zones by CAPFs.
The first segment of trailer shows three women combatants encircling the Tricolour (National Flag) carrying small arm, area weapon and special equipment of riot control, that depicts the participation of women combatants in different set of duties performed by them and their steadfast devotion and spirit.
The second segment showcases a larger-than-life statue of a decorated woman soldier in ceremonial uniform in a saluting position — a tribute to all the gallant women soldiers working relentlessly in the service of the nation. The third segment reflects the operational environment of a jungle terrain wherein a woman combat doctor is treating a patient as a civic action.
The fourth segment highlights women combatants in an operational environment of snow-clad mountains, woman combatant performing patrol duty, guarding Metro train and two sportswomen, a boxer and a weightlifter, depicting the glory achieved in the field of sports while playing for the country. The elegant and graceful marching by uniformed women combatants of CAPFs shows the professional excellence and commitment to serve the nation.
Ministry of Culture tableau
The Ministry of Culture presented ‘Shakti Rupena Samsthita’ tableau on the theme ‘Shakti’, or woman power, and celebrates the divine feminine, who resides in and empowers all living beings.
The tableau represents a gala, a carnivalesque of descent of divinity on the Kartavya Path. The tableau has manifestations of Her as Shakti or power, as Buddhi or intellect and as Lakshmi or prosperity; as these forms of Matri (divine mother) create, maintain, destroy and re-create the entire Universe, as per Indian tradition. Here, the Earth and the motherland are also revered as the Matri-Shakti.
The tableau is a representation of these aforesaid four activities of Hers, reflected by live artists from all across the country, duly complemented with rich tradition of masks from different parts of India, in all their visible splendour.
The spectacle begins with an iconic Ma Durga atop a lion in all her majesty. She annihilates ignorance as shown through the Mahishasura episode. The trailer features images of Her three manifestations as they oversee the multifarious dancers; as they exhibit traditional ritualistic dance forms such as Chhau, Cham, Charkula, Chang-Sang, Kacchi ghodi, Gaur Maria, Therakuttu, Theyyam and Nandi Dhvaja. Together, all these elements celebrate the divine feminine, with a complementing background musk.
Twenty-three tableaux — 17 from states and Union Territories and six from various Ministries and Departments — depicting the nation’s rich cultural heritage, economic progress and strong internal and external security rolled down the Kartavya Path.
President Droupadi Murmu led the nation on Thursday in celebrating the 74th Republic Day from the Kartavya Path. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi was the Chief Guest at the parade.
Building on last year’s celebrations, in the 75th year of Independence, being celebrated as ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’, the celebrations this year were marked by zeal, enthusiasm, patriotic fervour, and ‘Jan Bhagidari’ as envisioned by Prime Minister Modi.
The week-long celebrations commenced on January 23, the birth anniversary of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. To mark the occasion, a one-of-a-kind military tattoo and tribal dance festival ‘Aadi Shaurya-Parv Parakram Ka’ was organised in New Delhi on January 23 and 24. The events will culminate on January 30, which is to be observed as Martyrs’ Day. (ANI)