100 years of journey towards greatness


Our Celebration of 100 years


Women’s Indian Association Centenary Celebration Inaugural Speech by Shri Pranab Mukherjee Shri. Vidyasagar Rao, Honourable Governor, Maharastra and Tamilnadu; Dr. V. Saroja, Minister of Social Welfare and Nutritious Noon meal programme, Government of Tamilnadu; Mrs. Padma Venkatraman, President, Womens’ Indian Association; Mrs. Bhargavi Devendra, Honorary Secretary, Womens’ Indian Association; Dr. G. Shantha, Chairperson, Cancer Institute; Mrs. Krishnammal Jaganathan, Social activist; Distinguished guests; Ladies and Gentlemen.

I would like to express my deep appreciation and gratitude to the organization of the Womens’ Association for inviting me to participate in their centenary celebrations. Hundred years in the life of an organization is also an important milestone because it provides an opportunity to reflect, to pause for a while and reflect from where we started, what we have achieved, where we are today and what objectives we would like to have. There is no doubt some inspiring leaders like Dr. Annie Besant, Sarojini Naidu, along with them we say Margaret Cousins, were primarily the moving forces behind the establishment of this organization. Basically the organization wanted to empower the women and to have equal power and status in the society. Its stellar contribution in making a representation to the Secretary of States at that point of time and to the Governor General to pass a legislation to have the marriage of children be prevented and the marriageable age of women be enhanced which is popularly known as ‘Shardabi’ (Sharda Act), also in the abolition of Devdasi system, which was a blot on our society and which were rampant. They took the initiative for the abolition.

It is really a dichotomy of our society, when we call women as the source of power, embodiment of motherhood, we worship women as deity. Our core civilization value tells us to respect a woman. But unfortunately we are really disturbed when day in and day out, we are confronted with the news of desnooding and brutalizing our women force. Sometimes we wonder, today we call us a civilized society. Can any society describe itself as civilized if they do not honour their women? The primary objective of civilisational values is to respect women in whole. Therefore even after 100 years, since your organization was launched, with some lofty objectives to bring emancipation, to find rightful place for women in our society, still you shall have to walk many miles to achieve that objective. Ultimately aiming, even while we are going to celebrate the 70 years of our Independence and in the 68th year of our Republic, it is one thing to guarantee equal rights in the statute, in the Constitution, in the instrument of governance, it is completely a different thing. For the gratitude and approach we have in implementing, in effectively creating the situation so that the letter and spirit of the law are implemented in the fullest.

The contributions which they made are unique in the society but it is not recognized. When we calculate the GDP we take various factors into account, but we do not take into account the contributions made by our womenfolk, in whatever capacity they do work. It is truly reflective of the attitude of discrimination and non performance on behalf of the society. When we find that despite the equal rights, in Indian Parliament, particularly Loksabha, the representation of women are at 11.3%, whereas the global average is 22.8%. That’s why it was thought that without the appropriate reservation as the reservations are made for the certain sections of the society by providing the constitutional guarantee and earmarking the constituencies to be represented by the women.

It would be difficult to have it by the voluntary performance of the political parties and institutions to implement this. Therefore if you want to have the true representations of women in all decision making bodies and truly empower them, not making one or two exceptions, making isolated cases of recognizing brilliance. Giving the opportunity where the same brilliance could be obtained from the womenfolk in large numbers. It is good that scope of education has expanded, scope of opportunities for employment has expanded, but it will have to be expanded further in many other areas and particularly the power, the imminant strength which they have for its full development and fulfillment for the upper development of the society. Many years ago, Rabindranath Tagore in one of his beautiful plays, put in a few words. The story goes, thought about the Arjuna fell in love with the Princess of Manipur, Chitrangada. But Chitrangada did not reveal her identity to him till she was convinced and finally told him that I am the daughter of the King of Manipur, I am the successor to the Throne. But if you worship me as deity, you will not understand me, you will not get me. You allow me to stand side by side, take equal participation in difficult tasks, and then only you will get me. Therefore, that is the aspiration of the women and that aspiration, aspirational opportunity ought to be created in the society. I do feel many illustrious women have made their contributions in our freedom struggle, in our economic development, in providing leadership in different fields, even in highly technical, sophisticated areas.

And I am happy when I participated in the standard presentation of the Indian Airforce 115 Squadron, I found quite a few young girls in the attire of Indian Airforce. In Army, Navy and Airforce they are participating by their courage, valour. They are demonstrating that they do not lag behind anybody. And that is the message, I do feel, this organization should convey in its 100 year. Thank you, ladies and gentlemen for giving me this opportunity to share some of my perceptions with this distinguished gathering. Thank you, Jai Hindh.

WIA Month wise Centenary Celebration report

WIA WOMEN’S INDIAN ASSOCIATION CENTENARY CELEBRATION REPORT We are happy to inform that this year happens to be the year of centenary as WIA was started by stalwarts like Dr. Annie Besant, Mrs. Margaret Cousins, Mrs. Jinarajadasa, Mrs. Sarojini Naidu, Mrs. Heerabai Tata, Lady Sadasiva Aiyer in 1917 and it was nurtured by Dr. Muthulakshmi Reddy, Sister Subbalakshmi, Mrs. Ambujammal, and Dr. Sarojini Varadappan. The organisation has achieved its objectives in removing the obstacles imposed on women. First and foremost they achieved the Franchise for women, Abolition of Devadasi system, successfully introduced bringing in the Sarada Act for the Abolition of Child Marriages and all round Empowerment of Women. WIA without a break or blemish is rendering services to the humanity for the past hundred years. Following programmes were chalked out by the present President Mrs. Padma Venkataraman by forming a committee from various branches of WIA and implemented programmes every month in the year 2017.

JANUARY 2017 First programme was started on 10 January 2017 by organising a press meet at Press Club and informed about the aims and objectives and the achievements of the WIA and informed that a yearlong programme to celebrate the occasion.

FEBRUARY 2017 On February 2d 2017, a Quiz Programme was organised for women colleges at MGR Janaki College. Mr. Sumanth C. Raman was the Quiz master. Eight women colleges participated and certificates were distributed. Mrs. Shantha Rajaraman was the programme Co-ordinator. A Photo Exhibition depicting the activities of past and present was organized at Dr. MGR Janaki College of Arts & Science. Two days seminar was organized for the girls on the topic women and health, women and law, Nutrition, Environment, Education, fun corner, Exhibition of self help group articles organised by Ms. Bhooma and Mrs. Anitha Shankar.

MARCH 2017 On 3d the Main Programme was organized at Theosophical Society. Chief guest: The then President of India Shri Pranab Mukherjee, the then Governor of TamilNadu Shri Vidya Sagar Rao and Mrs. V. Saroja Minister for Social Welfare & Nutritious Noon meal prog., government of Tamil Nadu and Mrs. Rakesh Dhawan, president AIWC participated. Dr. V. Shantha, Chairman Cancer Institute, Adyar, Chennai and Smt. Krishnammal Jagannathan, Social Activist were honoured. On 25″ a programme by Society for Rights of All women with Disabilities, a branch of WIA, celebrated their Annual day as a part of Centenary programme of WIA. Our President Mrs. Padma Venkataraman sponsored Rs. 25000.00 and the programme was held at Hotel Dharmaprakash Chennai. Around 800 differently abled women from all over the state participated. Artificial jewellery making kits and tailoring machines were distributed as part of livelihood programme. WIA provided Rs. 9000 for preparing the caps with the logo occasion. WIA, adorned by the participants in the rally organized on the occasion.

APRIL 2017 On 15th one of the branch’s of WIA Kasthurba Nilayam, Kalakruthi – conducted Seetha Kalyanam programme as a part of Centenary celebration of WIA. Mrs. Y.G.Parthasarathy Patron WIA was the chief guest. On 22 Inauguration of Referral Library in memory of late Smt. Vasumathy Ramaswamy Vice President,WIA was celebrated. The programme expenses were sponsored by Smt. Sugantha Sudharsan, Joint Treasurer, WIA, and launch of the WIA website – www.wiachennai.org by the WIA Chairman Mrs. Sarala Krishnan at WIA premises took place. The expenditure for creating website was sponsored by Ms. M. Bargavi Devendra, Hon. Secretary, WIA.

MAY 2017 On 8th “Founders Day” of WIA was celebrated and three eminent ladies were honoured — Dr. M. Sharada Menon, Eminent Doctor & founder, Scarf India, Ms. V. Susheela, Secretary and Correspondent, Avvai Home, & Dr. Latha Rajendran, Correspondent, Dr. MGR Janaki College of Arts and Science. To mark the centenary programme 100 lamps were lit and 100 students from 6 schools were given scholarships of Rs. 1000 each. Dr. Nandhitha Krishna, patron WIA has donated a sum of Rs. 1.00 lakhs to create an endowment in memory of Dr. Annie Besant to honour an eminent person every year on Founders day. Mrs. Padma Venkataraman President WIA donated Rs. 2.00 lakhs to create an endowment to donate the interest acquired to Avvai Home on 8th May (Founder’s Day of WIA) of every year. The programme was fully sponsored by Ms. M. Bargavi Devendra Hon. Secretary WIA. On 9th Visit to Cancer Institute, Adyar (WIA) was organised to conduct a programme for the cancer affected children with a magic show. Mrs. Vanaja Krishnamurthy, member of WIA sponsored the magic show to entertain the children. The President of WIA gave a donation of Rs. 1.00 lakh through WIA to Cancer Institute for purchase of play equipment for the cancer affected children.

JUNE 2017 On 4th and 5th, as a part of centenary celebration, Environmental day was celebrated by launching E-waste Environmental Awareness Programme at Elliots Beach, Besant Nagar. Saplings were distributed, Sanju Madar Sangam through Mr. Aswin 3D Optical Illusion Street Art organized a drawing on the Street on the importance of Environment and demonstration of e waste disposal by Mr. P.V. Navin Ambedkar, Virogreen India P Ltd. on 5th of June 2017 a programme was organized at WIA with eminent speakers on environmental protection Mr. Ismail and Mrs. Malathy of Women Detective Agency and disposal of e waste by Mr. P.V. Navin Ambedkar. A skit by Jothi Madar Sangam one of the branches of WIA on environmental degradation was enacted. WIA has produced a 30 minutes dance programme depicting the history of WIA from its inception. This was choreographed by famous dancer Mrs. Gayathri Krishnaveni Lakshman, founder of Krishnadhwani School of Natya. FICCIFLO (Women Wing of Federation of Indian Chamber Of Commerce & Industry, Chennai) organized a classical dance about WIA activities – “Shraddha” about the great women leaders of the country who started WIA to commemorate WIA centenary celebration on 16th June at Hotel Crown Plaza. They also hosted a dinner in honour of WIA.

JULY 2017 Dr. Muthulakshmi Reddy Women’s Association celebrated the birthday of late Dr. Muthulakshmi Reddy on 28th July at Dr. MGR Janaki College of Arts & Science for Women and Mrs. Jaya Ramakrishnan, Vice President, WIA was honoured and given Life Time Achievement Award and also the teachers of AIWC school, Chennai, were honoured. Youth wing through students from MGR Janaki college was inaugurated. Dr.Booma Srinivasan organized the programme. AUGUST 2017 13.08.2017 — AT C.P.Ramaswamy Aiyer Foundation, Alwarpet, a documentary film tracing the history of WIA was released by Central Minister Dr. Nirmala Sitharaman and the first copy was received by Dr V. Shantha Patron WIA. The bio- picture was produced by nationally welknown M/s. Krishnaswamy Associates. They have done a commendable job of condensing 100 years of history into 30 minutes documentary without compromising on the historical fact and the quality,

SEPTEMBER 2017 On 1″ September 2017, WIA and Universal Peace Federation of India in collaboration with Department of Women Studies, celebrated the centenary of WIA at University of Madras on the theme “Human Empowerment and Peace”. Dr. V. Bharathi Harishankar, Prof. & Head of the Department of Women Studies, University of Madras and Ms. Chizuko Onoders, Director UPF, Smt. Letika Saran, IPS (Retd), Former DGP, Dr. Nanditha Krishna, President, CPR Aiyar Foundation, Chennai, Mrs. Latha Rajendran, Secretary and Correspondent, DR. MGR janaki College of Arts and Science for Women and President, Secretary and members of WIA participated. The U.P.F. conferred “Ambassador of Peace” award on WIA in recognition of 100 years service to humanity. Dr. Nandhitha Krishna was honoured as “Ambassador of Peace” for her contribution to environmental work. Dr. Latha Rajendran was honoured “Ambassador of Peace” for her service in the field of Education for girls.

OCTOBER 2017. As a part of centenary celebration on 7th October 2017, Gandhi Jayanthi programme was celebrated at Gandhi Mandapam. Tmt. Vyjayanthimala Bali was the chief guest and Tmt. Revathi Sankaran was the Guest of honour. Mrs. Padma Venkataraman, President WIA donated 200 lamps to all the participants. Nearly 15 NGO’s from different fields participated, exhibited their talents and shared their concerns on the common platform. Holding hands, lighting the lamps, singing inspirational national songs they showed the importance of coming together for a good cause.

NOVEMBER 2017 On 19 November 2017, Sowbhagya Education Trust, a branch of WIA, celebrated their Silver Jubilee event as a part of centenary programme of WIA and provided scholarships for 154 students from economically backward sections. Mrs. Jayalakshmi Rajagopal, Founder Trustee and her team have uplifted several youth from below poverty line. The WIA undertook the renovation and painting work of the buildings at WIA for the centenary celebration. The Chennai Willingdon Corporate Foundation financed through our President, and Mr. Kumar Rajendran of MGR Janaki College provided painting materials, through our Treasurer. Hon. Secretary of WIA and her sister contributed for the painting of the temple and water proofing of the terrace of the buildings at WIA and funds from WIA was used for other necessary repairs at the institution.

FEBRUARY 2018. On 6th February 2018, the Zonal Conference of South Zone A has been conducted at WIA as aa part of the centenary celebration. The Zonal Organizer Mrs. Rama Anantharam organized the programme. The AIWC President, Secretary General and the district branches of AIWC were invited. On 7th February 2018, as a part of centenary celebration of WIA, a stamp and first day cover was released at Theosophical Society, Adyar, Chennai. The programme was started by a prayer by Mrs. Prema and Ms. Marja Artamma, Secretary, Theosophical Society. The president of WIA presided over the event. A commemoration stone was unveiled by Mrs. Rakesh Dhawan, President AIWC. The Post Master General Mr. Anand, released the stamp and the special cover to mark the centenary year of WIA. The first cover was given to Mrs. Kalyani Raj, Secretary General, AIWC. The Zonal Organiser Mrs. Rama Anantharam honoured the senior members of AIWC.

MARCH 2018. Women’s Day celebration was held on 31″ March 2018 at Community hall at Abiramapuram. Dr. Usha Sriram (Endocrinology) Dr. Sreevidya Venkataraman (Diabetologist) and our vice President Dr. Kamali Sripal provided informative talk on maintaining ones health. Branches of WIA displayed their products they produced. Cookery competition was held on preparation of dishes with millets. Arise Charitable Trust provided prizes for the winners of the competition. Mrs. Mariammal from Women’s Organization from Rural Development was honoured. JO DAY PROGRAMME

8th MAY FOUNDER’S DAY PROGRAMME. The Founder’s Day was celebrated on 8th May 2018 at WIA premises at 2.30 p.m. After invocation, President Mrs. Padma Venkataraman has welcomed the gathering and all the members participated in the floral tributes to the Founder members of WIA followed by bajans. Commemoration stone to be implemented at WIA was unveiled by the President, followed by members providing tributes to the stalwarts, after their everlasting humanitarian services introduced for the empowerment of women by WIA. Herbal plants were planted by all the members who were present. The President Mrs. Padma Venkataraman and Patron Dr. Nandhitha Krishna cut the cake for WIA entering to 101 years of service to humanity. After vote of thanks and National anthem tea was served to the members who were present.

JUNE 2018 The concluding programme of WIA was held on 8th June 2018 at Anna University, Chennai. The Hon’ble Governor of Tamil Nadu Thiru Banwarilal Purohit participated and released a Souvenir. The first copy was received by Dr. V. Shantha, Patron, WIA. Dr. (Mrs.) Y.G. Parthasarathy a veteran patron of WIA was honoured.

100 Schools covered

Youth empowerment program


Wealth from waste

Stamp & First day cover

souvenir celebration

Centenary celebration of WIA Valedictory function

Banwarilal Purohit

Honorable Governor of Tamilnadu

Hon’ble Governor Of Tamil Nadu Thiru. Banwarilal Purohit at Centenary celebrations of the Women’s Indian Association

In this occasion Governor quoted that, The Women’s Indian Association was started in 1917 by two women theosophists Margaret cousins and Dorothy Jinaraja Dasa in Madras at Adayar, borrowing the idea of cross cultural association from the Tamil Madar Sangam formed in 1906, under the leadership of Dr. Annie Besant.
From a single branch that fought to make its voice heard, the Women’s Indian Association, today has more than 40 branches and thousands of members from all parts of India.

At the time of commencement the Women’s Indian Associations had many objectives such as I) To secure suffrage for women in the local administration, Central and State Legislatures ii) To prepare women for shouldering their responsibilities as daughters of India iii) To help women realize that the future of India lies in their hands, since being house- wives and mothers, they play an important role in the family in training, guiding and developing their children who will rule India in the future iv) To encourage and arouse among women an effort to form groups for the purpose of self-development with right emphasis on education for the service of society v) To secure for every girl and boy the right to education through schemes of compulsory primary education, including the teaching of religion vi) To secure the abolition of child marriage practice and to raise the age of consent for marriage of girls. vii) To secure women the right to vote in Municipal and Legislative Councils on equal terms as men and viii) To secure for women the right to be elected as members of all Municipal and Legislative Councils.

It was due to the demands of the Association that women were granted the Municipal and Legislative franchise. It also led to the introduction of primary and compulsory education for girls in the city of Madras. The recognition enjoyed by the Women’s Indian Association can be seen from the fact that the Association was invited to send its representatives to the Round Table Conference in London in the 1930s.
Subsequently the Association engaged itself in pressing for a legislation for suppression of immoral traffic in women and children and also for the abolition of the Devadasi system in Hindu temples in the Madras Presidency. These noble initiatives gained them great appreciation. The Devadasi abolition Bill particularly, received spontaneous support from all sections of the people. The Association was also consistently engaged in efforts for the eradication of untouchability through its propaganda meetings and by giving grants and scholarships to institutions and individuals.
Through all these efforts there has been a considerable emancipation in the status of women. However many challenges still remain.

The Government of India and State Governments are therefore implementing many programmes and schemes to help women empower themselves to lead a better life. The important schemes of the Government of India include. I. Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP) a comprehensive programme being implemented to address the Child Sex Ration (CSR) and related issues of empowerment of women over a life-cycle continuum. II. Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY), a scheme for providing cash incentives for improved health and nutrition to pregnant and nursing mothers. III. Schemes for Adolescent Girls in the age group 11-18, aimed at improving their social status through nutrition, life skills, home skills and vocational training. IV. Pradhan mantra Mahila Shakti Kendra Scheme, which aims to promote community participation through involvement of Student Volunteers for the empowerment of rural women. V. National Creche Scheme to provide day care facilities to children of age group of 6 months to 6 years of working women who are employed. VI. Rastriya Mahila Kosh (RMK) to provide micro-credit to poor women for various livelihood support and income generating activities adopting a client-friendly procedure.

The schemes of the State Government to mention a few, include
a. Marriage Assistance Schemes. b. Maternity Assistance Schemes. c. Livelihood Assistance Schemes d. Hostels for Working Women. e. Family Counseling and f. The setting up of All Women Police stations to give special attention to matters of safety and security of women.<br> A country’s progress can be judged by the status of women in that country and opportunities given to them. Indian women have represented India in delegations abroad and have distinguished themselves by excelling in the work entrusted to them.<br>
I have with me on stage today two eminent women achievers Dr. V. Shanta, the Chairperson of the Cancer Institute. The Cancer Institute is a noble initiative of the Women’s Indian Association. It was started, thanks to the efforts of Dr. Muthulakshmi Reddy, the first woman doctor of India. Dr. Shanta is carrying on the noble work of Dr. Muthulakshmi. Under her guidance and leadership the institution has risen to a position of eminence.<br>
The other woman achiever being honoured today is Padma Shri Mrs. Y.G.Parthasarathy, a famous educationist of Chennai. She is the Director of the Padma Seshadri Bala Bhavan group of Schools in the city and Patron of WIA. I am happy to be felicitating these two women achievers today.<br>
I wish to conclude by informing this august assembly that International Women’s Day was observed for the first time in Raj Bhavan on March 8th this year. On that day the Raj Bhavan invited 120 women and felicitated them with shawls and gifts at the Darbar Hall. Lunch was also served for them at the same venue. Apart from me, several Cabinet Ministers and senior officers and dignitaries also participated with these women in the celebrations on that day. This only goes to show that the mood of the society is changing and is aimed at bringing about complete equality between men and women. We in India feel proud about the fact that we worship God in the male and female form. The divine Goddess is personified as Sakthi and worshipped. Our rivers have feminine names and our nation is Bharat Matha.<br>
I am therefore certain that the efforts of the Women’s Indian Association will reap greater benefits in the coming years and that the opportunities for women in India will match those that are available in men in every field of progress.<br>


A Documentary Film tracing history of WIA

A Documentary Film tracing history of WIA


A Documentary Film tracing the history of WIA, was released in a CD Format, by Central Nirmala Sitharaman on 13th August 2017 at C.P. Ramaswamy Aiyer Foundation. The bio-picture produced by M/s Krishnaswamy Associates, and the first copy was received by Dr. V. Shantha, Minister Dr. was Patron of WIA.

Dance program depicting the “History of WIA”
A dance program depicting the “History of WIA from its Inception”


A Dance Program depicting the “History of WIA from its inception “, was choreographed and performed by Dancer Ms. Gayathri Krishnaveni Lakshman, was held at Hotel Crown Plaza, on 16th June 2017. The dance program, SHRADDHA “, was organized by FICCIFLO (Women Wing of Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Chennai), was a tribute to the great women leaders.

Gandhi Jayanthi


Gandhi Jayanthi was celebrated at Gandhi Mandapam on 7th October 2017, by participants from different walks of life by holding hands and lighting of 200 Lamps, highlighting the importance of togetherness for success! Ms. Vyjayanthimala Bali was the chief guest. A true Gandhian worker, showcased Gandhian life by spinning the famous ” Charka”.

Releasing of first day cover and stamp


Releasing of first day cover and stamp

Releasing of First Day Cover and Stamp, by Mr. Anand, Post Master General, was held at Theosophical Society, Adayar, Chennai, amidst a galaxy of Women leaders of Society, AIWC and WIA and members. A commemoration Highlight the Stone (at Theosophical Society) was unveiled by Ms. Rakesh Dhawan, President AIWC, while Ms. Kalyani Raj, Secretary General of AIWC, received the Stamp.


Inauguration (Digitalized) of Referal Library, at WIA premises, in memory of late Ms. Vasumathy Ramaswamy, was held on 22nd April 2017. Launch of WIA WEBSITE- www.wiachennai.org was performed by Ms. Sarala Krishnan.

Founders day

Founder’s Day was celebrated at WIA on 8th May 2018. A commemoration stone to be implemented at WIA was unveiled by President Ms.Padma Venkatraman. Herbal plants were planted by all members who were present. Birthday Cake for 101 years was cut by President and Dr. Nandhita Krishna, Patron.