New Delhi: A bomb blast survivor, a water conservationist, anti-hunger and crafts activists — these are some of the women who took over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Twitter account Sunday, on the occasion of International Women’s Day.
Earlier this week, PM Modi announced that he would be “giving up” his social media accounts, later saying he would be “giving away” his accounts to inspiring women.
ThePrint looks at the seven women and their stories of grit and hope.
A Chennai-based food activist, Sneha Mohandoss was the first women to take over the PM’s account Sunday morning. Founder of Food Bank India, Mohandoss is striving for a hunger-free planet.
Through her NGO, home-cooked food is made for the poor, packed in containers and assembled in one place, before a small team takes it in a car or autorickshaw and distributes it to the homeless.
According to Food Bank India’s Facebook page, “the core team drives in and around the streets to makes sure it reaches only the needy and the homeless. It pretty much takes about an hour or so if the destination and the target audience are clear”.
Malvika Iyer is a bomb blast survivor, who lost her hands and damaged her legs in the grenade blast in her home in Bikaner in 2002, when she was 13 years old. Iyer was bedridden for over 18 months and underwent multiple surgeries for over two years to get back on her feet.
Since then, Iyer has been a motivational speaker, a disability rights activist, and a model striving to make fashion accessible to all. She has sought to raise awareness for the participation of disabled youth in promoting inclusive elections.
Arifa is a Kashmiri activist seeking to revive the traditional Namda crafts of the region.
“When tradition meets modernity, wonders can happen. I experienced this in my work,” she tweeted from the PM’s handle Sunday.
“It is designed to suit the modern day market. My first business activity was participating in an exhibition of handmade items in New Delhi. This exhibit attracted a good clientele and a turnover.”
A Hyderabad-based architect, Ramesh runs a city-based project to conserve lakes and rivers. The government and forest authorities have also been collaborating with her in the endeavour to conserve water.
An artisan from the Banjara community of rural Maharashtra, Pawar was the fifth woman to take over Modi’s social media account.
“You have heard about handicrafts from different parts of India. My fellow Indians, I present to you handicrafts of the Banjara community in rural Maharashtra,” she wrote. “I have been working on this for the last 2 decades and have been assisted by a thousand more women.”
Kalavati is an activist who campaigns against open defecation — an issue very close to PM Modi’s heart. A mason who hails from Kanpur, Kalavati is on a mission to build toilets across the lower income households in the city.
An organic farmer, Veena Devi has been growing mushrooms at home for several years now, through some unique farming-at-home techniques. She has also encouraged several other women to do grow mushrooms in a similar manner.
This has not only allowed Devi and other women in Munger, Bihar, to be self-sufficient, but also self-assured and confident.