At the ongoing Rio Olympics, Indian women have given a tough challenge not just to their sport competitors, but to the patriarchal mindsets of the countrymen.
The sight of India cheering a game other than cricket and rooting for a woman playing her game is not a common one — and has proved that Indian sportwomen can perform well on a global platform. Gymnast Dipa Karmakar, wrestler Sakshi Malik, golfer Aditi Ashok, and badminton player P.V. Sindhu have not only rocked the nation, but also have secured their places in the history of Indian sports. They have toiled years away filled with sweat, facing immense challenges from the society as well as their sports, and have emerged as medal winners for the country.
It must be noted that out of the 117 athletes who have been sent from India to the Rio Olympics, so far, only these women have made a significant mark on the global platform. While Sakshi bagged the wrestling bronze medal, Sindhu won the silver in badminton, Aditi rode her luck in golf, and gymnast Dipa Karmakar attained the 4th position in Women’s Vault Gymnastics. Here’s what other successful women think of them.
Mithali Raj, cricketer
It’s really great that women have achieved such a feat living in a country where there is no sporting culture. No one talks about any other sports other than men’s cricket. Even when I had entered cricket, I received a big no from my family. Nowadays, the scenario has improved a little but still there is a long way to go.
Still, a parent would want their children to study hard and play less. It is far from reality that a parent would happily accept their kids making a career out of sports. And for women in the sporting arena, the problems they face are much more than their male counterparts.
Rakul Preet, actress
I always say that Indian women are mentally stronger than men. We have stronger emotional quotient. It’s mainly because, right from our childhood, we face a lot more challenges than men generally do. Sakshi Malik’s victory is a great example and inspiration for us — she has fought against all odds to win the medal in Rio. At least now, people should accept the fact that women are equal to men in every aspect and every field.
Swati Lakhra, additional commissioner of police
I believe girls are no less than men. These girls have faced so much and have made India proud. It’s time that people should think broadly. Girls can do anything. I am fortunate, that my family is not narrow minded. They never discriminated against me with my brother and believed in equal opportunity.
The profession I am in allows me to come across many such cases where the girls are still fighting it out. Women comprise 50 per cent of the society and if the society needs to improve they have to focus on that 50 per cent and not only on the other half.
Anushka Sharma, actress
Women are doing well for themselves in various fields — be it in costumes, direction, editing, production — they are working successfully in different fields now. I am grateful for the fame and the life I have. I am a self-made woman from a normal background. When I was training with women wrestlers for Sultan, I got to know so much about their lives. Earlier they didn’t get support from their families but today these girls are doing well. It’s happening now in sports, defense and in the film industry too.