New Delhi: Manipur Governor Najma Heptulla on Friday said she found it strange when she was assigned independent charge of the Ministry of Minority Affairs, saying she never thought she was minority.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi must have thought somebody from the Northeast should be given the portfolio of Minority Affairs Ministry. I asked Modi-ji why he was assigning me that ministry. I told him that I am not minority,” she said.
She was speaking at the inauguration of the Institute of Bioresources and Sustainable Development (IBSD) Kalindi Centre for Women Entrepreneurship in Northeast at Kalindi College here.
She said: “Before that day, I was never made to feel that I was minority. I always thought I am an Indian. I am proud of it. I was born in this country. We are so similar despite diversity and that is our strength.”
Heptulla also spoke about women empowerment and stressed on the importance of co-educational institutions for the overall development of girls.
“After completing my class 10, my grandfather told me to go to an all girls’ college in the capital. My aunt said that she would rather have me close to her in a co-ed than send me so far to Delhi,” she said.
She said girls should be confident and should learn to be around the opposite sex. “They should be educated with men to know how to behave in the society that comprises of both men and women,” Heptulla said.
She gave her own example to explain how the advanced values of a family can empower its women.
“Even 100 years ago, my family used to emphasise on the education of girls. Having being brought up in such an environment, it was never difficult for me to think that women have the power to run the world. I could always understand that there is no difference between men and women,” she explained.
She further added: “When I became Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha in 1998, there were only 8-10 women in the house. So, I could handle it because I was confident.”
“Old times were different when men would go to war because of their physical strength and women would stay back at homes. Now in wars also, you require to press a single button to attack the enemy. The world runs through brains not physical power,” she said.