All Women Bike Rally Rolls in Delhi on International Women’s Day

Indian film actress Juhi Chawla addressing the crowd at the All Women Bike Rally in Delhi on International Women’s Day. At right is playback singer Shibani Kashyap

Home Minister Rajnath Singh flags off Women’s Day Rally with celebrities Juhi Chawla, Shibani Kashyap, Lavina Tandon looking on

By Geeta Goindi

New Delhi, March 8, 2015 — Flagging off the third annual NBT All Women Bike Rally on the UN-designated International Women’s Day, Home Minister Rajnath Singh underscored that Indian women are capable of meeting any challenge.

Commending the participants of the bike rally, he noted that women can not only ride bikes, they can surmount any obstacle, push all boundaries and reach for the sky.  He praised the participants for their efforts to reclaim the country’s roads as safe spaces for women and for instilling a sense of confidence in other women.

Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh addressing the All Women Bike Rally in Delhi on International Women’s Day

Women are truly unstoppable!  And to celebrate the spirit of womanhood, BCCL Languages brought women bike riders together at the south Delhi-based DLF mall.  The event afforded a great platform for women to proudly proclaim that there are no barriers which can hold them back.  Delhi heard the roar of freedom as scores of women participated in the motorbike rally!

On stage, the Home Minister was joined with other special guests including Indian actress Juhi Chawla, playback singer Shibani Kashyap, and television star Lavina Tandon who plays Ruqaiya Begum in the historical drama, ‘Jodha Akbar’.

Indian television star Lavina Tandon (left) at the All Women Bike Rally in Delhi on International Women’s Day

In his keynote address, Home Minister Singh stressed, “We must recognize the power of women”.  Quoting United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, he said, “When we unleash the power of women, we can secure the future for all”.

Drawing attention to the women bike riders present, Singh noted, “Women play a major role in the development and success of men”.  On his part, he attributed his contribution to national politics to the key role played by women in his family.

He told the sizeable crowd, outdoors at the popular Mall, “I am standing before you as India’s Home Minister for which the credit goes to my mother, wife, daughter and sister”.  He emphasized that without their support, he would not be where he is today.

A cross-section of the crowd at the International Women’s Day celebration at DLF Place in Saket, New Delhi

Singh recalled being arrested at the young age of 24 when a state of Emergency was imposed in India, and how his mother was a pillar of strength and support.  She taught him never to kneel before autocrats even if he has to spend his entire life behind bars.

Singh was in jail for 18 months during which period his wife supported the family by being the breadwinner.  “My wife taught at a college in the Daltonganj district of Jharkhand, so that we could pay rent”, he said.  “Thus, I feel that I could not be here without their (his mother and wife’s) contribution”.

Together with Delhi, this year’s All Women Bike Rally was held in eleven Indian cities: Lucknow, Thane, Nagpur, Pune, Kolhapur, Aurangabad, Ahmedabad, Nasik, Bangalore and Kolkata.  Thousands of concerned citizens participated in the rallies putting the spotlight on women’s empowerment!

Indian film actress Juhi Chawla speaks to journalists at the annual All Women Bike Rally in Saket, New Delhi
Playback singer Shibani Kashyap performing at the annual All Women Bike Rally in Delhi on International Women’s Day
A scene at the annual All Women Bike Rally in New Delhi on International Women’s Day

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