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India reintroducing ‘respect for women’

By Leiselle Maraj Monday, January 27 2014

click on pic to zoom in
High Commissioner of India to Trinidad and Tobago, Gauri Shankar Gupta (right) raises the Indian flag yesterday at his residence in Federation Park to...
High Commissioner of India to Trinidad and Tobago, Gauri Shankar Gupta (right) raises the Indian flag yesterday at his residence in Federation Park to...

India’s President, Pranab Mukherjee believes India can lead the world by example and this year will mark the beginning of the country’s resurgence caused by social, economic and political issues.

Mukherjee’s address on the eve of the country’s 65th Republic Day celebrations was read yesterday by this country’s Indian High Commissioner, Gauri Shankar Gupta. He addressed members of the High Commission and specially invited guests at a flag raising ceremony held at his home in Federation Park to commemorate the occasion.

After a brief cultural programme, during which he delivered the speech, Gupta said India has a lot to show for itself since becoming Independent in 1947 and a Republic in 1950. He said India has moved from being a net importer of food to becoming self sufficient and a net exporter within this time. India, he said, is the world’s largest producer of milk. Industrial revolution has been realised and the country has experienced healthy industrial growth for some time. Space exploration and a reduction in poverty are also areas India can boast about, Gupta said.

“In a large country like ours, there are going to be problems but we are committed to resolve them one by one,” he explained.

Such problems include a disparity in the distribution of income among the population and providing young people with avenues to improve their skills and become employed thereafter. When asked about improving women’s rights, Gupta said the country is working on reintroducing respect for women. Several reports have surfaced within the last year regarding the high incidence of rape. Most recently, an Indian woman has been recovering in hospital after being sentenced to be gang raped by 13 men on the orders of a village court after she was found to be in a relationship with a man from another community. India has moved to toughen laws against sex crimes since these reports have been highlighted.

Gupta said in the past, Indian women were worshipped and women and men had same place in the society. “After colonisation in India, for centuries, things change,” he explained. He said these instances, while they must not happen, have sometimes been disproportionately highlighted by the media and India remains one of the most peaceful nations in the world.

He said like India, despite problems, Trinidad and Tobago has been able to hold its own as a flourishing democracy. He said the country is harmonious despite multiple religions and ethnicity and political leaders and members of civil society have enough wisdom to guide the nation on the right path.

Gupta, reading the President’s speech said as India prepares for its next general election, due after May 31 this year, parties contesting should avoid making false promises to the people. He said government must be free of corruption, incompetence and complacency and not betray the people of India. Democracy, he said, is not a gift but the right of every individual who has the right to elect or reject any government. He urged India’s population not to elect a fractured government so that the country can continue to progress. Mukherjee also called on the country to focus on the quality of its education.

“Education is no longer just the privilege of the elite, but a universal right. It is the seed of a nation’s destiny. We must usher in an education revolution that becomes a launching pad for the national resurgence,” he stated in his speech.

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