An evening of a round table with Women who are changing the meaning of “empowerment” – Aparajita 2019

Aparajita Award 2019
Aparajita Award 2019

With Women’s Day gone just around the block, Aparajita 2019 once again opens the platform where women are recognized for the change they bring.

“Empowered women, empower women” – Taking this thought forward is Aparajita, a platform for recognizing the contributions and efforts of revolutionary women from Bengal.

An interactive session was organized by “Aparajita” with Air Marshal (Dr.) Padma Bandhopadhay, the first woman Air Marshal, Indian Air Force, Ms. Premlata Agarwal, the oldest woman to scale Mt. Everest, Ms. Shonali Bose, Renowned Indian film director, writer & producer, Ms. Anjolie Ela Menon, renowned muralist, and Ms. Sagarika Da’Costa, Eminent Singer at ITC Sonar, Kolkata.

The evening was held with a interactive panel with all of the inspiring women mentioned above, where Dr. Padma spoke about her enticing experiences and the love Army shares as one family. She spoke how in the army no-one asks about your caste, color, creed or religion but the badge on your chest mentioning your squad, is what identifies you. It surely left us with a feeling of pride over our nation.

Following through spoke eminent singer, Ms. Sagarika Da’Costa formerly known as Sagarika Mukherjee. She spoke about her musical journey since childhood making it into Bollywood and indulging into Indian pop music finally settling into World Music. She also is the co-owner of the popular chain restaurant Olive Bar and Kitchen. She currently lives in Italy and is planning to open another restaurant there specialising in Indian and Bengali cuisine.

We’re then greeted by the powerful filmmaker Ms. Shonali Bose. She narrates her journey in the film industry as a filmmaker, especially the trials and tabulations one faces as a woman filmamaker. Her speech leaves a bit dazed and stunned to the ground, all in a good way. She speaks about her journey while making Amu, a feature hit highlighting the Sikh riots and about Marguerita with a straw, and speaks about sexual identity and the taboos.

She’s currently working on a new feature film with the working title The Sky is Pink starring Farhan Akhtar, Priyanka Chopra and Rohit Saraf. The film is inspired from the real life of a girl named Aisha Chaudhary who was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis.

We learn about life and how one’s positive attitude and determination in self can make us reach boundaries even we thought we were not capable of breaking. This story revolves around Ms. Premlata who after 18 years of married and familial life gave her dreams a chance and became the oldest women to climb Mt. Everest .

Lastly we come to Ms. Anjolie Menon, who was also awarded the lifetime achievement by Aparajita later in the evening during the award show. She speaks one particular line which speaks boundaries and I quote, “Art is my life.” She has been practicing art for more than 62 years in her life and says she feels incomplete without painting even for a single day.

All of these women have set examples of how being born as a girl is not s setback and instead is a boon. And on that note, let’s celebrate womanhood. Cheers to being a girl, a woman, a mother.