Union minister Smriti Irani on Saturday lauded the contribution of the wives of the Indian Air Force (IAF) officers to the nation, stating that they help protect the countrymen from enemies.
Speaking on the occasion of the 62nd anniversary of the Air Force Wives Welfare Association (AFWWA), Irani said: “It is because of all of you that our ‘suhag’ is still intact.”
‘Suhag’ collectively refers to the vermillion, bangles and ‘mangalsutra’ or the sacred thread that traditional married Hindu women wear as long as their husband is alive.
Notably, Union minister Irani proudly flaunts all the ornaments that are linked to Hindu marriage status.
“I heartily congratulate our ‘Vayu Sangini’ (as the wives of IAF officers are respectfully called) for their contribution to the nation to secure the nation with their sacrifices. You knit the sky and bring it down on earth for all of us,” she told the gathering amid rounds of applause.
Irani also lauded AFWWA’s efforts to positively contribute to society.
She stressed that women play important roles in all crucial national events, including war. Recalling an instance during the 1971 war, she said: “An airstrip had to be repaired in Madhapur village in Gujarat. As many as 300 women volunteered to repair it in 72 hours.”
“So a house wife can make a cap as well as an airstrip,” she emphasised.
On its anniversary, the association showcased more than 42,000 woollen camps knitted by its members during a three-month-long special drive.
“Knittathon’, the camp knitting drive, has made it to the prestigious Guinness World Record for the feat.
“These woollen caps will be donated to the homeless and poor to protect them from the cold in the upcoming winter months,” said AFWWA chief Neeta Chaudhari, wife of IAF chief Air Chief Marshal Vivek Ram Chaudhari.
As per tradition, the post of AFWWA chief is held by the serving chief of the IAF.
Reacting to the Guinness record achievement, the minister said: “This is a precision-based participation and these woollen caps are for the needy and the underprivileged.”