21-year-old Vinesh Phogat who hails from the ‘conservative’ state of Haryana is all set to change stereotypes that women are not physically strong and that they belong in their homes. She, her cousin Babita Kumari and their teammate Sakshi Malik, all hailing from Haryana, will be competing in wrestling in the upcoming games.
Daughter of wrestler Mahavir Singh, Vinesh recalls how the people of her village used to shame her for wearing shorts and wrestle, firmly believing that wrestling is not a women’s sport. Her father and family had to deal with a social pressure of not letting their daughters get into sports. They were being judged for not following the norms of the society and disrespecting the morals of the community. However, fighting all odds Singh didn’t interfere in his daughter’s dream and today he is a proud father of a girl who is no less than any man.
It is sad that in a ‘so called’ secular country, gender inequality is highly prevalent. Haryana is known for honour killing, especially for girls who dare to marry outside their caste and religion. The state is also a land of female foeticide, with a very low sex ratio. We just hope that women like Vinesh Phogat brings in a change in the minds of the orthodox and ‘social criminals’, and such atrocities are put to rest.