By Dhanalakshmi P *
Courage is knowing what not to fear – Plato
Many of us suffer from a fear of failure due to which we stop trying or quit soon. But a few of us break this imaginary shell built by oneself and strive and achieve bigger things in life. Our Nari Shakti Puraskar winners are one of such a kind who never allowed anything – neither external nor internal forces – to stop them from dreaming and becoming successful.
Saylee Nandkishor Agavane (Nari Shakti Puraskar for 2020), Vanita Jagdeo Borade (Nari Shakti Puraskar for 2020) and Kamal Kumbhar (Nari Shakti Puraskar for 2021) have made Maharashtra proud with their contributions.
Will power, Determination, Dedication – Saylee Nandkishor Agavane
Saylee Nandkishor Agavane, specially abled Kathak dancer, has been awarded Nari Shakti Puraskar 2020 for her excellence in promoting Indian Classical Dance internationally, despite hardships.
Even after being born with Down Syndrome, a genetic condition that affects one’s physical as well as developmental growth, she did not stop from pursuing her passion to dance. Dancing might not look as tough as it is but the art form itself requires great coordination between the body and the mind. Speaking to Press Information Bureau, Mumbai, Saylee Nandkishor says it is her will power that motivates her to dance.
When she was 9 years old, she started learning ‘Kathak’ along with her sister and 200 other ‘normal kids’. Since then, she has performed on several platforms including reality shows and has also won several awards for her performances. She proudly claims that, “I had proved that a special child like me can also achieve success in life and can be a great inspiration for parents of special children.”
Saylee has also learnt Western Dance forms and her favourite dancers are Hrithik Roshan, Madhuri Dixit and Shiamak Davar. Being a dancer, she believes in practising regularly to attain perfection. “Practice makes one perfect. I practise those songs which have been choreographed already, at least for two hours a day.” Besides practising, she continues to attend dance classes to brush up her skills.
What makes her more special is her willingness and ability to not just break the barriers but also help others like her find their passion. She is teaching dance to around 100 special kids. She has also tied up with a few schools where she teaches special kids. “Dance has helped me to prove that a special child like me can master an art form to which I dedicated myself and which has brought me many successes. Now, I would like to see other special children like me to find this happiness which I am getting through dance. This is my small contribution for them.”
When asked about her message to youngsters who are pursuing a career in dance, she advises, “Will power, determination and dedication is a must. Whatever may be your career choice, work wholeheartedly and accomplish your dreams.”
Environment is life! Let’s protect and nurture it!!: Vanita Jagdeo Borade
Vanita Jagdeo Borade has been awarded Nari Shakti Puraskar 2020 for her exemplary efforts in wildlife conservation, particularly by rescuing snakes and also for creating awareness.
Of all the different kinds of phobias, many of us have this one – Ophidiophobia, fear of snakes. The very sight of a snake even if it is lying idle or unmoving can scare us. But not Vanita Jagdeo Borade. She is the first woman snake rescuer and has rescued more than 51,000 snakes!
“I started catching snakes since I was 10 years old and have caught more than 51000 snakes in the last 35 years. I have set a world record for catching the highest number of snakes in the world. This has been recorded in The India Book of Records, Maharashtra Book of Records, Guinness World Records and Limca Book of Records,” she told PIB Mumbai.
Vanita cites reasons behind people killing snakes out of fear are just their ignorance and prevailing superstitions around snakes. “Our culture teaches and preaches Ahimsa (non-violence), Karuna (compassion) and Jivadaya (love and kindness towards all living organisms),” she states as the reason behind her efforts to rescue snakes. “I work to save the lives of snakes as well as people. I believe I make these small organisms as well as the environment happy by protecting them.” She is also known as the Snake Friend.
As a child she grew up working in the farms. It is from her childhood friends, most of whom were from tribal areas, that she learnt the art of living in harmony with the environment, cherishing every life on earth. “This childhood lesson motivated me to preserve nature especially snakes which are our national treasure. I believe I help preserve the environment by making these organisms happy,” she proudly says. She works in protecting not just snakes, but honeybees as well.
Being the first woman to conduct research on snake conservation, she works on spreading public awareness about snakes and their conservation. “90% of snakes in India are non-venomous. Snakes hide when they find a dark and safe place and never attack or bite on their own until harmed.” She informs that there are free-of-cost medicines as anti-snake venom which are easily available in all government hospitals. “The anti-snake venom can cure the injured immediately and hence there is no reason to panic.”
She believes that the fear of snakes can be eradicated by wiping out the superstitions. She also provides training in rescuing snakes.
You should run at least three businesses simultaneously: Kamal Kumbhar
Kamal Kumbhar, a social entrepreneur, has been honoured with Nari Shakti Puraskar 2021 for her contribution in promoting women’s entrepreneurship in the field of animal husbandry.
Fighting poverty, she became an entrepreneur at the age of 23 with the training she received from a local organisation in agro-based businesses. She shares how she had zero knowledge about starting and running an enterprise, marketing and its nuances but when she started doing it herself, she gained insights through her experience. She also created a micro-enterprise network and started enabling women like herself to become entrepreneurs. She is the founder of ‘Kamal Poultry & Ekta Sakhi Producer Company’ that has helped more than 3,000 women in drought-prone Osmanabad region.
While speaking to PIB Mumbai she said that, “An entrepreneur should not stick to only one business but at least run three businesses simultaneously so that there can be a balance in the profit and loss situation that occurs in every business.” She herself is managing five businesses simultaneously, including one on vermicompost from earthworms.
Kamal Kambhar shares how one’s interest in an idea and proper business planning can make one successful. “Understand the demand and opportunities in your local area or village and analyse the market,” she advises woman entrepreneurs.
On being asked about her reaction on bagging Nari Shakti Puraskar, she said that this has motivated and inspired her more so that she can pursue her work more diligently and with more energy, ultimately realising her aim of creating woman entrepreneurs.
“I have a dream that I want to impart entrepreneurial training to 9000 women and convert 5000 of them into independent entrepreneurs within the next two years,” she shares her dream.
What keeps her motivated? She gives credit to the strong support given by her family and her passion to empower women like her.
Dhanalakshmi P. is Media & Communication Officer, Press Information Bureau Mumbai