Women symbol of peace, love, humanity and dignity: President

Guwahati, May 13 (IANS) President Pranab Mukherjee Monday termed women as the symbol of peace, love, humanity and dignity, while calling for measures to ensure they get recognition for their “selfless work” as well as the “respect and courtesy they deserve”.

He was speaking after conferring two awards, instituted by the Assam government, to two distinguished women at the Pragjyoti ITA Centre for Performing Arts at Machkhowa here.

While Mukherjee conferred the prestigious ‘Asom Ratna’ award for the year 2012 to famous writer and litterateur Mamoni Raisom Goswami posthumously, another award – the Srimanta Sankardev Award – for the year 2008 was given to renowned film actor Sharmila Tagore.

“I am happy to confer the Srimanta Shankaradev Award for the year 2008 on Sharmila Tagore. I congratulate Tagore for her rich contribution to India’s cultural life. She has channelised her energies and resources to the cause of girl child and women empowerment in India.

“I also welcome the recognition, by the Assam government, the contribution of late Mamoni Raisom Goswami by awarding her the ‘Asom Ratna’ Award. She was a legendary story teller and prolific novelist who courageously advocated social change in a very volatile period in Assam’s history,” said Mukherjee.

Mukherjee said that while Tagore – as a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF and chairperson of the Indian Film Censor Board – has used her influence to promote initiatives aimed at bringing positive change in our society, Goswami’s life was an illustration of struggle and the fortitude on how to overcome personal tragedies.

“Goswami will be particularly remembered for her role as a mediator in talks between armed militants in Assam and the government of India. She was also instrumental in formation of a Peace Committee called the People’s Consultative Group (PCG). In all her works, ‘Mamoni’ had focused on women, the disadvantaged and the oppressed in society. By creating a consciousness about these problems, she was able to sow the seeds of change,” he said.

“I am particularly pleased that both the awardees on this occasion are outstanding women. I would like to see more such women of India recognized for their selfless work; more than that, I would like to see ordinary women in everyday life receive the respect and courtesy they deserve. The rising incidents of crime against women and children call for effective measures to ensure their safety and security,” the President said while adding that the women are the symbol of peace, love, humanity and dignity.

The President later attended a function to mark the closing ceremony of the Golden Jubilee celebrations of the Pandu College in Guwahati.

Mukherjee is likely to leave for Silchar Tuesday to attend the annual convocation of Assam University and is scheduled to attend the third convocation of Nagaland University at Lumami on May 15.

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