It was a warm wet afternoon as the wonderful Monsoon in Mumbai took a shape from mild drizzles to an incessant pour, I somehow slithered my car to a parking premises just outside a Sprawling up riser in the heart of Andheri (West) , 4 Bungalows area where ‘Mukkti Foundation Tower’ stood like a sensational hue of Blue and grey glass wrapped building where I were to meet the lady who encompassed her life with total dedication and composure and fought the adversity of the social norms with grit and consistency a woman engulfed in sheer grit of spirit.
She is Smita Thackeray who takes pride on her dramatic rise from a humble housewife in ‘Matoshree’ in Mumbai as the daughter in law of the Power Icon of Shiv Sena Supremo , Late Balasaheb Thackeray to a powerful and deservedly earned corporate acumen ship on her own merits. My main focus was to capture her present and future projects under her baton ‘Mukkti Foundation’ on empowering women and girl children with basic safeties and skills to enhance their life as an independent entity. I was ushered in a mahogany and leather furnished sitting parlor which reflected the sheer energy of Ganesha and Lord Tirupati adorning her informal room and I instantly felt a surge of mental peace and purity.
Ms Afsana Ahmed, a well known Journalist and pride of Indian Film Journalism who at present is associated with Mukkti Foundation gave me company till the Lady in a sublime long printed dress walked in and we broke into a flawless interaction on music, children and womanhood which led me to ask her opinion on the crux of girl empowerment and feminism and she voiced, “Feminism isn’t about making women strong., women are already strong. It’s about changing the way the India perceives that strength. To all the girls who are under the tutelage in Mukkti foundation on self defense courses, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams.”
Her Mukkti Foundation promotes awareness in AIDS which after a decade of dedication towards AIDS victims is under control which gave her much time to raise funds for the present group of Girl Children and women in Mumbai for their basic needs on self sufficiency by which they can combat domestic violence and physical or verbal abuses to the minimal. According to her, “Self Independence even on minimum accord can elevate one’s self confidence and will power so as to face the immediate disturbances with inner strength and we in Mukkti foundation are serving them with all the support they need for self perseverance”.
Further she added that, ‘By Incorporating the women and children with skill development for small scale industries, we instil self confidence in them and thereby improve their mental health, dignity, self decisions and help them to realize the importance of their fundamental rights. These are now at present are the main perspectives of Mukkti Foundation.
‘Tolpar’(topsy turvy) is a ‘Me Mukkti’ wing spearheaded by Mukkti Foundation with the Mumbai Police and AIMMAA to bring a unique workshop for the women officers of the police force reflecting women as warriors . A team of experts from Russia who specialized in the Tolpar System of Knife Fighting conducted this event in the presence of Ms. Smita Thackeray,ATS Chief Mr.Himanshu Roy, Russian Consul General Mr. Alexei Novakov and Bollywood Action Star, Mr. Akshay Kumar.
Mukkti foundation has also been a major force in raising funds for the bereaved family for the Indian soldiers who sacrificed their life in defending India’s glory in the Kargil War for the Army Welfare fund .In addition the foundation also raised donations worth INR 41, 00 , 000 for the drought victims of Rajasthan and Gujrat for the Prime Minister’s relief Fund and multiple events on sports and Indian cinema to raise funds for the charity along with the participation’s of leading Indian sports and Cinema Celebrities.
As a painter uses a brush to brief imaginations, a sculptor uses a hammer to give shape, an architect builds his dreams on his projects, and we at Opinion Express make way for the readers to read the truth and reality of an individual’s persona, that is Ms Smita Thackray’s endeavors on the the ‘Gate way to further social development for a healthier tomorrow’ !
– carlyta Mohini (Maria)