Tuesday, 8 March 2011

100 years of International women's day - part three: Men who made a difference to women in Andhra Pradesh

2011
By Syed Akbar

NT Rama Rao, champion of property rights for women

Former chief minister and Telugu Desam founder NT Rama Rao introduced the Hindu Succession (Andhra Pradesh) Amendment Act in 1985 to provide equal share to women in property. This was the first legislation in Andhra Pradesh that gave property rights to women. Later, several States followed the AP example and introduced similar legislation.
NTR not only believed that men and women are equal but also went a step ahead by providing daughters a share in the family property. Rama Rao argued that share in property is the fundamental right of women.

Guruzada Apparao, social reformer

Telugu poet and social reformer Guruzada Apparao took up the cause of widows through his social plays. If his play, Kanyasulkam, transformed the attitude of men towards women in those days, his "Brahma Vivaham"
highlighted the plight of widows. At a time when no one dared stood up for the cause of widows, Apparao declared that insult to widows is disgrace to humanity.
In one of his plays, he projected a sex worker in a positive image, while taking pot-shots at male-dominated society.

Kandukuri Veeresalingam, introduced widow remarriage

A champion of the rights of women, Veeresalingam Panthulu practised what he preached. He performed the first-ever widow remarriage in the region and his concerted struggle against child marriage brought a halt to the menace in several parts of the State.
He launched a magazine exclusively for women and started a school near Rajahmundry to educate women. He believed that lowering the image of woman would have negative impact on society.

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