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When we divide history by gender, we do a great disservice: Smriti Zubin Irani

English NewsWhen we divide history by gender, we do a great disservice: Smriti Zubin Irani

Chandraprabha Saikiani Centre for Women Studies (CSCWS), Tezpur University organised the Tilottoma Barooah Memorial Lecture and Tilottoma Barooah Memorial Award giving function on Monday.

It is to be stated here that Tilottoma Barooah was a freedom fighter, an activist, and an associate worker of the doyen of women activist Padmashree Chandraprabha Saikiani, the outstanding, fire brand women freedom fighter of the country.

The memorial lecture was delivered by Union Cabinet minister Smriti Zubin Irani, ministry of Women and Child Development in virtual mode. Delivering the lecture, Irani said that technology has given us a platform where issues related to women are discussed, deliberated, and enable us to present to a larger audience.

“Today Tilottama Baruah Memorial award is being conferred upon Hemalata Baruah, an eminent and dedicated social worker, who had started her life journey as a teacher and became a part of the Mahila Samiti for rest of her life. But how many in North India or South India know her contributions,” Union Cabinet minister Irani observed. Therefore, she urged all to create a new narrative where all perspectives are included. “We need a new narrative where women working in even a small village is highlighted and heard by all,” she added.

Giving a tribute to the contribution of Tilottama Barooah, she said, “Tilottama Barooah’s main say was education. It was one of her most poignant contributions that made her stand out. The fact that she was multifaceted yet grounded speaks a lot about her persona.”

Irani advised CSCWS to look at women’s work in the past and find resonance in contemporary times and suggested that documenting such work is what every Women’s Study Centre should do. She further commentated that History is genderless and history should not be a one-sided affair. “When we divide history by gender, we do a great disservice”, she said.

Later Kamakhya Prasad Tasa, Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha conferred the Tilottoma Barooah Memorial Award to Hemlata Baruah. Diganta Barauh, nephew of Baruah received the award in her absentia.

Speaking at the event, MP Tasa said, “Taking the name of Padmashree Chandraprabha Saikiani is indeed a proud moment for everyone. The fact that a centre is dedicated towards such a personality deserves appreciation.”

“Academics is indeed for research purposes but the institutions conducting research should appraise the implementing agencies such as the government about their findings which will be beneficial for policy framing,” he said. “Mere publishing of research papers is not enough, the benefits should reach to the people,” he added.

“Right from Panchayat to the Intellectual circle and business, women have come forward and have occupied leadership roles. That is a sign transformation,” he said.

Dr. Madhurima Goswami, head, CSCWS highlighted how the award, instituted in 2018 aims at celebrating outstanding research and activism in the area of women empowerment, mentoring, and social justice. The award was entrusted by journalist Apurba Baruah, the eldest son of Tilottoma Barooah for an extraordinary cultural activist or a social worker.

“This memorial award will inspire people to work selflessly towards creating a humanitarian and equitable society,” Dr. Goswami hoped.

Besides the memorial lecture and award ceremony, the DST (Department of Science & Technology) GATI (Gender Advancement for Transforming Institutions) website was launched, and a news report of the Centre was released on the occasion.

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