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“37 Million Diyas” to show you care
The campaign “37 million diyas” began on 27 January with the observance of an hour of solidarity with the victims of rape and harassment to women beginning from the womb. It was organized by the Archdiocese of Mumbai to raise awareness and initiate change in attitude toward and the treatment of women in India.
More than 500 people including at least 100 religious sisters, brothers and priests participated in the campaign “37 Million Diyas to show you care”, at St Stanislaus High School Grounds from 7 – 8:30 pm. on Sunday, 27 January, 2013. It was the venue chosen for the Bandra Deanery.
The message of the Bishops’ Conference for Indian Republic Day was: spiritual and sexual health formation can bring about a change in attitude that respects the dignity and sacredness of human beings. Today India celebrates its 63rd Republic Day, and the debate on the role of women, after the New Delhi gang rape is still alive. The Archdiocese initiative comes in this context.
The number 37 million signified the difference between males and females in India as of the last national census of 2011. The campaign will continue in every parish in Mumbai and it will continue for as long as it takes for you and me to bring about change. India’s shame: female genocide, aborted before birth, poisoned, drowned, stifled, deliberately neglected, burnt for dowry, sacrificed in childbirth, killed in sickness and starved to death.
Most of the participants were vested in white. Many of us thought we would be lighting diyas and praying, but we had more than what we expected.
Two eminent speakers, Ms Vibhuti Patel and Ms Shyama Kulkarni enlightened us on various issues specially with regard to the atrocities on women and how women as a group need to stand up courageously for their rights and stop being stepped upon as has been the well-accepted tradition in the Indian ethos.
Even though both the speakers profess other faiths, they were appreciative of late Keenan and Reuben (two youth from Amboli, Mumbai), who gave their lives for the cause of protection of women.
Besides eye-opening talks, there was a cultural item by some young students which made us reflect on the many and varied talents of the Indian woman.
During the programme, the Women’s Commission of the Archdiocese, threw more light on the subject through a power point presentation featuring the plight of the girl-child today, and inviting us to reflect on our role in her emancipation.
It invited us to break the chains of lethargy and fear which keep us from doing the good we are called to, and thereby courageously carry out the mandate Jesus gave us in the Gospel to follow.
What should not go unsaid, is the back-breaking efforts put in by the Women’s Cell of St Peter’s Parish, Bandra in organizing this programme with the support of the parish priest, Fr Errol Rodrigues SJ and team.
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