A march towards equality
Feature Articles

A march towards equality

March 8, 2022

By Shadan Muneer

Women are not only bestowed with the power to bring in a new life to earth but are endowed with divine character to care for and nurture. International Women’s Day celebrated annually on March 8 presents an opportunity to acknowledge, appreciate and celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played extraordinary roles.

The day also calls for a gender-equal world, a world free of bias and discrimination. In tune with the present scenario, the theme for International Women’s Day – 2022 is ‘Break the Bias’ aiming for gender equality and making the world treat women on par with men. On this occasion, Star of Mysore caught up with some of the most inspiring women achievers of Mysuru from different fields ranging from fine arts to adventure and education to medicine.

Vinaya, Vinamrata and Viveka are pavers of victory: Dr. Manik Bengeri

Dr. Manik Bengeri is a multifaceted achiever who has single-handedly attained laurels. She is a singer, composer, writer, performing art critic, HRD trainer and a successful banker. A native of Belagavi, she hails from a family of scholars and has been a resident of Mysuru for decades. Her academic credentials include Hons. in BA, MA, Ph.D and degrees in Hindustani Classical Music and Journalism from University of Mysore.

She has written many books in different languages and has received awards from the State and Central Governments. Her contribution in the field of Music and Fine Arts has earned tremendous appreciation. She also teaches Hindustani Music to local as well as foreign students. She was honoured with  ‘Postal Stamp Souvenir’ and was bestowed with ‘Ramnath Kovind Sahitya Puraskar’ among other honours.

Star of Mysore (SOM): Women have the inbuilt trait of being multi-taskers but you are an exception and excelled in multiple fields. How did you manage to juggle so many hats at a time?

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Dr. Manik Bengeri: I have strained every nerve and strived very hard. I do believe that women are born multi-taskers and cope well with juggling priorities and switch between tasks with ease as they organise themselves well under pressure. I worked like a machine in my early days, learning music, family responsibilities, a full-time bank job along with academics were part of my routine. My strong willpower and self-motivation kept me going.

SOM: Give us some tips to maintain composure and manage time?

Dr. Manik Bengeri: Emotional self-control and a positive attitude is important. You need to practice this as it doesn’t come easily. Do not let negativity take over you, train your mind to absorb positivity around you and have clarity in whatever you do. For better time management, you need to learn to do things precisely. Planning, prioritisation and correct methodology will help.

SOM: Can you point out some effective measures that can be taken up for women’s empowerment?

Dr. Manik Bengeri: I have held sessions for women to run self-help groups even when the concept of ‘women empowerment’ didn’t exist. Interactions and discussions relating to self-elevation, time and money management, self-reliance were part of my sessions. Recognising the talent and rewarding women for their hard work will help boost their self-esteem.

SOM: What advice would you like to give youngsters who want to make a career in Fine Arts?

Dr. Manik Bengeri: The path is long, you must have a lot of patience. Having a good voice is essential to becoming a singer and if you want to make a career in music and dance, having a good Guru is important. Music and dance relax the mind and release unwanted pressures and help concentrate.

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SOM: It is often said that for a woman to be successful you need to have a supportive family, what do you have to say about this?

Dr. Manik Bengeri: I don’t agree. If you are economically independent, mentally fit with a hunger to excel along with strong willpower, you can reach great heights single-handedly. It is important to carry yourself well with dignity and have the clarity to differentiate between the good and the bad. The three Vs — Vinaya (modesty), Vinamrata (humility) and Viveka (prudence) — together make a victory.

SOM: Gender disparity still exists at some places. Your opinion.

Dr. Manik Bengeri: It is only psychological, gender discrimination lies in the mindset of the people which needs to change. Prevalence of gender imbalances and biased social norms lead to many problems, we need to get rid of these practices to break the bias and make the world treat women on par with men.

SOM: What do you like doing in your free time besides your varied professional interests?

Dr. Manik Bengeri: I like trying my hand at painting and knitting. Cooking is something I enjoy doing. I also like spending time interacting with like-minded and selfless people about the values of life over a cup of tea.

SOM: What’s your take on Women’s Day?

Dr. Manik Bengeri: World cannot run without women. Respecting women has been in our culture for ages. Every day is auspicious to do good things and respecting women is one of the good things you can indulge in, and feel proud of the fact that we are born as women. There is a saying in Sanskrit which says God lives in a place where womanhood is worshipped and treated well, so celebrate being a woman every day.

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