Today a daughter of Haryana has become the daughter of India. Sakshi Malik ended India’s medal drought and won the first medal for India in Rio Olympics and made proud 1.3 Billion Indians, who were disappointed with India’s dismal performance in the Olympics. She has become the first Indian woman wrestler to win a medal in the Olympics and the 4th Indian woman to win a medal in the Olympics, joining the list of Mary Kom, Karnam Malleswari and Saina Nehwal.
There is a lot of struggle behind her accomplishment and the feat she has achieved. The irony of our country is that an athlete not only has to compete with other athletes but has to also fight against the societal norms and the system. There is struggle in every step.
Sakshi has more struggles to add to her accomplishments than athletes hailing from other parts of India. She comes from the state which has the lowest sex ratio and where misogyny is rampant, Where female foeticide is more common than the no. of girls dying due to birth complications, where news of honor killing is more common than the news of girls topping CBSE examinations. It has poor female literacy rate. Every now and then, we hear about Khap Panchayats issuing absurd judgments which try to control what girls should eat or wear, or whether or not they should keep a mobile so as to prevent affairs with guys.
She comes from a region where we often hear the sport is ‘not for girls’ and whoever tries to defy that has to face protests or discrimination.
Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar’s statement (sic), “freedom must have limits” and “girls must be dressed decently and not ‘lure’ boys.” highlights the misogyny that is rampant.
Whatever has been said above is not to put down a state but to put things into perspective. There would have been many Sakshi Maliks bringing laurels to our country and Haryana, if they were notkilled in their mother’s womb or denied opportunities just because they were girls. Female foeticide is just not restricted to rural parts of Haryana but even in other parts of the country including the urban areas.
Haryana has given some of the best athletes and sportspersons to our country and they have made every one of us proud again and again.
The Don’t Give Up World Team appeals everyone to stand strong against female foeticide. It is 2016, we cannot miss any potential Sakshi Malik, Geeta Phogat or Vinesh Phogat and we have to end female foeticide and provide every single opportunity to girls.
Let girls live and pursue their dreams for who knows they might become the Next Sakshi Malik.