PAMARTH NIKETAN, a spiritual centre in the north Indian city of Rishikesh, honoured women on Tuesday (8) to mark International Women’s Day.
The centre’s president, HH Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswati (HH Pujya Muniji), presented them with Rudraksha mala – a sacred Ashoka plant – and a certificate of appreciation for their leadership roles in women’s empowerment.
Saroj Naithani, director of National Health Mission in Uttarakhand state, was among the women achievers honoured on the occasion. Other recipients included those who contributed to Namami Gange, the River Ganga rejuvenation project.
The Ganga Aarti or the worshipping of the river was also performed on the occasion; India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiyaji and Divine Shakti Foundation president Bhagwati Saraswati attended the prayers.
The event, where meals were served free of charge, also featured counselling for adolescent girls, a panel discussion on health and skill development and an exhibition.
Underscoring the importance of gender equality, HH Pujya Muniji said the spiritual centre and the organisations associated with it would continue to work to remove disparities in society.
He said only an educated and healthy society can build a prosperous nation.
Efforts would be made to make Rishikesh, a well-known pilgrim centre, cleaner he said.
Sadhvi Bhagwati Saraswati, who teaches at the centre, said the foundation of society can be strengthened by achieving inclusiveness.
Founded in 1942, the spiritual centre promotes yoga and the traditional Indian medicine system of Ayurveda.