New Delhi, Aug 15 (PTI) Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday urged people to pledge not to do anything that lowers the dignity of women, saying a mentality to insult them in speeches and conduct has crept in.
Addressing the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort on the 76th Independence Day, Modi said respect for women is an important pillar for India's growth and stressed the need to extend support to 'Nari Shakti'.
"A distortion has crept in our conduct and we at times insult women," he said, and asked, "Can we take a pledge to get rid of this from our behaviour and values?"
It is important that in speech and conduct "we do nothing that lowers the dignity of women", he said.
Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani, in a tweet, praised the prime minister's "sensitivity" on the matter.
"Making an emotional appeal to protect the dignity and honor of women from the ramparts of the Red Fort shows the sensitivity of PM @narendramodi ji. Every woman of the country is committed to fulfil every dream to make a developed India on the strength of her strength and potential," Irani tweeted.
Speaking on the significance of a united nation, Modi said India has much to teach the world on the concept of unity which begins with the family structure.
Gender equality is the key to a united India, he said, adding that without equal importance to sons and daughters in family structures, the idea of unity will be lost.
"We should celebrate the diversity of India....At home too, the roots of unity are sowed when both the son and the daughter are equal. If they are not, the mantra of unity cannot reverberate. I hope we can get rid of this attitude of upper-lower or mine-others," Modi said.
"Gender equality is a crucial parameter of unity," the prime minister said.
He further said women power is present in all sectors of society and significant for the growth of the country.
"If we look at 'nari shakti' in law, education, science and police, our daughters and mothers are making major contributions to India," Modi said.
He said citizens are proud of the strength of the women of India like Rani Laxmibai, Jhalkari Bai, Rani Chennamma, and Begum Hazrat Mahal. Indian women symbolise sacrifice and struggle, Modi added.