By Nupur Dogra:
India’s national symbols signify the heritage and identity of India as a nation. India’s national animal tigers are becoming extinct, Indian currency “rupee” is falling, the quote on national emblem “Satyamev Jayate” has become meaningless with the ever-increasing corruption, and so is the case with our national sport. Indian hockey team is facing their worst phase ever.
Recently Indian women’s hockey team was in news (yes, this also happens) for not qualifying for the London Olympics. The women’s hockey team has gone for the Olympics only once in Moscow. Since then it has never qualified for the Olympics. On what bases do we describe hockey as our national sport if we can’t respect and promote it. Are we proud of our national game? No, we are just ignorant towards it. The plight of Indian hockey players is such that from hunger strikes to protests, the players have done it all to get recognition. In a male chauvinist country like India, if the male players are suffering endlessly you can well imagine the plight of Indian hockey women’s team.
Even in the movie “Chak De India” it is quite eminent how the female players fight with society, parents, boyfriends or in-laws to play for the team. A 14 year old Komal argues with her father or modern Chandigarh girl Preeti Sabrwaal proves her potential to her self-obsessed cricketer boyfriend or how the team captain faces a role conflict as a daughter-in-law and as an Indian national team captain, the movie clearly depicts how difficult it is for women to play hockey in India.
Even after all such barriers these players come up and face the challenges head on. But still they are deprived of a much deserved results. Why?
Answer to it is that it is not only a player’s determination that can bring trophies home, it is a team effort, proper authorities, unbiased selection committee, and an up to date administration and a coach is a must. Our team lacks all of them still they give decent fight to other teams. Also the amount of attention our government and public gives to them is negligible. Price money for them is even less than one fourth of that of a cricketer. Playing for a country which is so indifferent of your contribution and empty stadiums are the worst nightmares for a player. Salaries of the players are majorly dependent on sponsors. The players still don’t get any match fees from the federation as promised earlier.
India has had some of the best players like Rani Rampal (voted as best young player in women’s hockey world championship), Helen Mary, Suraj Lata Devi, Mamta Kharab (all of them Arjun award winners) and many more.
Only when we start looking at all sports equally, irrespective of gender and the government takes some firm steps to correct the past wrongs, some real positive changes can happen.
Image courtesy:Â http://www.yehhailife.com/tag/indian-womens-hockey-team/