The School of Comparative Tribal Languages and Literatures, KISS-DU, in association with the AURORA Project (co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union), celebrated International Women’s Day on 8th March 2022. Ms. Sumitra Naik, Ms. Sunita Toppo, Ms. Jayanti Bhoi, Ms. Dhani Soren, Ms. Jamini Jhankar, Ms. Kalyani Bhoi, and Ms. Manjulata Hansda, research scholars of KISS-DU, were invited as speakers on occasion.

While voicing their concerns, views, dreams, and aspirations, Ms. Sumitra Naik said, “Women are the backbone of the society and are not dependent on anyone anymore”. Women are aware of their rights and have excelled in all spheres of life ranging from sports to politics to science, said Ms. Sunita Toppo, adding that they have successfully defined their roles beyond child-bearers. Underscoring the relevance of living with dignity and self-respect, Ms. Jayanti Bhoi stated that women cannot exist without nature. Ms. Dhani Soren talked about the importance of having the drive to achieve and accomplish things in life and highlighted the significance of equity in society.

Ms. Jamini Jhankar said, “Progress of a nation cannot happen without women’s progress. Development can happen only with the support of women.” In turn, Ms. Kalyani Bhoi spoke on what empowerment meant to her and suggested that men should play an equal role in running household chores. She opined that this is the only way mutual respect can be infused. Manjulata Hansda stated that there is a need for grass-root leaders and underlined the value of freedom and opportunities in women’s lives. Addressing her juniors, she added that they should be proud of themselves.

While sharing the contribution of KISS in their lives, they said that it is a place where their dreams have come true and expressed their gratitude towards Dr. Achyuta Samanta, Founder, KIIT & KISS and thanked him for shaping their lives.

In her welcome address, Dr. Sujata Acharya, Principal, KISS said that the theme of the event is in sync with the United Nations’ theme of ‘Gender Equality Today for a Sustainable Tomorrow’. Dr. Tripura Mishra, Vice-Principal, KISS, said, “KISS is the best example of women empowerment. We have amongst us girls who are Santhali newsreaders and self-defence trainers.” Dr. Kanhu Charan Mahali, Director General, KISS-DU noted that the activities and endeavours of KISS-DU are in line with the Vision and Mission of this pious institution.

Speaking on the occasion, Professor Deepak Kumar Behera, Vice-Chancellor, KISS-DU described the tribal society and said that women enjoy more freedom in indigenous communities and are breadwinners of their community. He threw light on how the decision-making process takes place at the community level and the role of women in the process. More student-centric activities should be organized in the days to come, he suggested.

Dr. Prashanta Kumar Routray, Registrar, KISS-DU said, “Unity, strength, empowerment is only possible through education. The majority of the staff as well as the students at KISS and KISS-DU are women and it is a platform to empower the females through education which plays a key role in bringing them to the mainstream.  In general, it is observed that gradually the trend is changing and the women irrespective of their marital status have been able to carry more responsibilities both at the personal and professional arena than men.  Keeping in view the social status of the women, it is always a good thing to educate the women in particular so that education will ensure employment and the women can be independent in their life.”

The event was organized by Dr. Rashmita Tripathy, Dean, School of Comparative Tribal Languages and Literatures, KISS-DU and Dr. Snigdharani Panda, Dean, School of Tribal Resource Management and Project Manager AURORA Project, KISS-DU and moderated by Dr. Debahuti Pattnaik, Odia Programme, KISS-DU.