These girls made us proud, PV Sindhu and Sakshi Malik! When it was imminent that India would be drawing a big zero in the Rio Olympics medal tally, these two broke the proverbial glass ceilings and brought their country glory.
PV Sindhu and Sakshi Malik’s wins are important because they rose and shone in a nation of 1.3 billion people, where sports, except cricket, have no scope. India had sent its largest ever contingent to Rio, with 117 sports persons. The girls’ win illustrated that given a chance, every Indian can make or breaks records in the international arena. They worked the hardest, and deserved this glory. That they are girls, is secondary. Their gender shouldn’t matter.
Sakshi Malik, who clinched a bronze medal in women’s wrestling, hails from Haryana, a state ill-reputed for having the highest female infanticide. She will definitely be a poster girl for a lot of women in her state, who want to break the traditional barriers, and earn a name. She will also instil hopes in a lot of boys’ from all over India who wish to be a wrestler.
But Sakshi should never be made the argument why female foeticides should be stopped. While, all the comparisons and adulations are well-intentioned, it takes away a certain human element off Sakhi’s win. What if Sakshi had failed to win a medal by mere points? Who could then have been India’s unofficial face to campaign for the girl child?
PV Sindhu from Hyderabad, who won a silver in badminton, missed the top honour after putting up a tough fight. The unassumingly flexible gymnast Dipa Karmakar from Tripura did everyone proud when she did that deadly feat. It didn’t matter that she fell just a few points short of winning the bronze. Aditi Ashok, the golfer, showed exemplary brilliance in golf. The Bengaluru golfer was applauded for her determination.
These women are achievers in their own right. They should be praised for what they are: tough and gritty athletes. We shouldn’t tell people unwilling to let a girl be born into their families that they their girls could be a Deepa, PV Sindhu or Sakshi. Because if tomorrow their girls choose domesticity over anything, these families might strangulate their daughters.
Every girl deserves to live, achiever or not! She might grow up to be a space walker like Kalpana Chawla, or a Mallika Sherwat (both from Haryana), or just a reflection of her home-maker mother. Her existence shouldn’t contain any pre-conditions in the footnote. When boys have every right to be borne by virtue of being boys, why can’t girls have the same right to exist?