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Mary Kometh



From a helpless young girl being pawed by a pack of hounds in Guwahati, the media focus has shifted now to a sinewy Manipuri woman punching her way to international attention. Some shift.  I wonder how the powerful women competing in the Olympics come across to the moral sainiks. Women swimmers, gymnasts, weight lifters, sprinters, marathon runners in their swimsuits,  trunks and briefs, their body suits, unconscious of their bare, rippling thighs and their warrior bodies smashing records, sweeping the medal tally. And two medals out of our lean pickings  have been won for us by women in clothes that are by the definition of our culture keepers, not decent enough and against our tradition.

We are part of a milieu where ministers encourage brothers to assault their sisters for their “loose” morals. And in Ranchi, posters go up threatening acid attacks against women in jeans. Where rape is blamed on the hemline of your dress and what hour of the night you were out.Where a porn star as a mainstream Hindi film heroine is acceptable to voyeurs but not ordinary women in night clubs. Where someone like Anuradha Bali, a self-dependent, sassy woman makes the mistake of falling for a politically connected man and falls out of grace, ends up in a reality show as a has-been and then is found dead. Where women victims feature far more frequently than women achievers in the news.

That despite this, we have a Mary Kom  is a miracle. Forget her knock out fists for a second. Have you seen Mary Kom’s shoulder blades? They look like they have been cut out of steel. Am sure if we were to X-Ray her backbone, there would be steel in there too. What are the odds really for a success story like hers to unfold unchecked? She is a woman. A mother and a wife.  From the North-East.  In India.  Just one of these reasons is enough to stop anyone in their tracks.  How many times have you and I heard generalisations about the North-East, especially about the women from there? How often are they targetted for the way they look and talk and dress by the so called mainstream India? How many women who come from there end up representing India at any national or international forum? How many mothers and wives in India get the mindspace, the encouragement and the freedom to chase their dreams and are not judged for it? How many women get to box? Or play any sport professionally if they are from a small, forgotten village that we don’t even know exists in a State that seems to have fallen off the map?

She is a statement. And a slap in the face of people who do not think women deserve freedom and must be told how to conduct their lives. Who feel the North-East is not the mainstream. She is the possibility that we neglect, overlook and disparage in our women. And a jolt of realisation that there could be millions of Mary Koms  not just in the North East but in Khap infested villages, in cities and towns where parents craving for baby boys get rid of  baby girls even before they are born. Like a woman panelist said on a news show tonight, “She is a wake up call for all those who think women are weak. Women can punch you right back. So be warned.” A good line to end a landmark day with.

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1 Comment

  1. Pallavi Pallavi
    August 8, 2012    

    Word !!!!
    Each and every line in your post makes me believe how hypocrites we are…when they say India is a great country and its culture is above all..i feel like slapping them all who doesn’t even bother to give a nanosecond of freedom to their sister, wife , daughter or in some case mother too.and then we keep abusing west..when will they learn that we are human too..and we too have dreams, ambitions and we all want love and respect in this world…

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