To salute the inner strength and indomitable spirit of women who are a source of inspiration for the society at large, the Odisha Television Network has embarked on a noble initiative in the form of an annual event from this year on the occasion of International Women’s Day. OTV Prerana. It aims to bring to limelight women who have made a difference in the society in small but significant ways and celebrate their endeavour and efforts.
According to Co-Founder and Director of Odisha Television Network Jaggi Mangat Panda, OTV Prerana is a tribute to women who have battled hardships and struggles to bring in a change and emerged as role models in the society. This year, five women from different parts of the State and working in different sectors were honoured with OTV Prerana Awards.
Among the awardees, while Sabarmati has been practicing organic farming since 1989 without using fertilizers and pesticides and cultivated 414 varieties of paddy so far, Sanghamitra Jena, a tour operator has popularized eco-tourism, nature-based tourism that involves education and interpretation of the natural environment through her own tour company, Eastern Treasure India.
Similarly, Damayanti Besra is a writer who has promoted Santali language, particularly in the field of education and is recognised as the first lady writer of Santali language while Sofia Seikh is a social worker, who has been spreading awareness on women’s rights for a long time now. The fifth recipient for the award this year is Tara Das, an entrepreneur, who has made ‘aarisa pitha,’ an Odia delicacy, famous all across the globe.
On the occasion, the channel had also organised a session on whether women have made real progress in a male-dominated society with eminent speakers like senior burueacrat Aparajita Sarangi, writer and senior administrator Paramita Satpathy, educationist and film personality Malavika Ray and social activist Dharitri Patnaik.
While admitting women have made immense progress today even from rural areas, Aparajita Sarangi called upon all women not to bring in a sense of competition with men and clear the hurdles together.
She also pointed out that the west should not be aped and an ideal woman should be a perfect combination of tradition and modernity.
On the other hand, Dharitri Patnaik gave a critical picture of the progress made by women in reality with statistics that highlighted the atrocities on women and the gaps that needed filling up for women empowerment, particularly those from rural belts.
Malavika Ray, on the other hand, stressed on the fact that women have always been powerful and progressing even in the past when they married early to take care of families all by themselves irrespective of the restrictions. It was only due to their self confidence that men like Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar or a Ram Mohan Ray fought for their rights. She said the modern woman today is progressing at a much rapid pace because of the change in the society though she admitted that a lot still needs to be done.
Paramita Satpathy presented the real picture of women in the society today and their role by reciting from her poem Saree and My Daughter, a poem by Pratibha Satpathy.
Following interaction with the audience, the session ended on a positive note celebrating the progress being made by women today with the hope for a brighter future ahead.
The event will be telecast today on OTV at 8 pm.
(The author moderated the panel discussion at the event)