‘Not a woman’s job’, ‘society does not accept this’, ‘sports are not meant for girls’, ‘a woman can’t’ – these are just some of the things women across the world hear every time they try and rise above stereotypes and achieve something new. But, thankfully, there are many women who decided not to pay heed to the naysayers and moved on, breaking barriers and reaching new heights in their quest to fulfil personal dreams and ambitions.
From challenging patriarchal mindsets to fighting disability in pursuit of their passions, these five Indian women have broken glass ceilings and come out on top as only true fighters can.
1. Mamatha Poojary: From a Village in Karnataka, to Becoming Kabaddi Queen
Fondly known as Kabaddi Queen, Mamatha Poojary took up the sport in 2003 when she was a 17-year-old. Coming from Hermunde village in Udupi district, Mamatha’s family was not very sure about her passion for Kabaddi in the initial days. But she continued to make her village and the country proud. She was honoured with the Arjuna Award and also the Rajyotsava Prashasti. As captain of the Indian women’s kabaddi team, she led her team to victory in the finals of the 2012 Kabaddi World Championship. She has won 12 gold medals for India.
2. Rajani Pandit: India’s First Woman Private Detective
When people told Rajani being a detective is ‘not a woman’s job’, she decided to ignore them. She was only 25 when she started her agency named Rajani Pandit Detective Services in Mumbai, in 1991. Today, she has a team of about 20 people and together they have solved over 75,000 cases.
3. Neetu Sarkar: From Child Bride to International Wrestler
Neetu, a resident of Bhiwani village in Haryana was 13 when she was married off to a mentally challenged man. She ran away when her father-in-law tried to rape her within a week after the marriage. But her parents married her off again. Neetu decided to take up wrestling because her family was having financial troubles. She started training at a facility in Rohtak and her hard work paid off soon. She won her first bronze medal at a national event and after that there was no looking back. Neetu has gone on to win medals at many national and international events.
4. Nirmala Devi: 60-Year-Old Sarpanch Who Made Her Panchayat Open Defecation Free
Nirmala Devi, the 60-year-old mukhiya of Rampur village in Bihar left no stone unturned to make her panchayat 100% open defecation free in a matter of just four months. She started by identifying the number of households without toilets and bringing them to the attention of the Water and Sanitation Department. Members of the state’s Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) team spoke to the villagers about the importance of having toilets at home. Nirmala Devi went door-to-door to spread awareness about safe sanitation and connected the CLTS team with the villagers.
5. Deepa Malik: Accomplished Paraplegic Biker, Swimmer and Athlete
Deepa Malik was 30 when she was diagnosed with a spinal tumour that confined her to a wheelchair. She became a paraplegic (paralysed from waist down). But the strong woman decided against spending her life in a closed room. She pursued biking, her first love, and also started swimming. Deepa became the first female athlete to represent India at the Paralympics. She won the Arjuna Award in 2012. She has 54 national gold medals and 13 international medals in various sports.
Now, once again, women are coming forward to break yet another stereotype in the field of sports. After three seasons of men’s kabaddi being a hit amongst fans across the country, it is now time for women to make their mark in this sport as well. For the first time, alongside ProKabaddi, Star Sports will showcase the Women’s Kabaddi Challenge too.
Watch this video to know more.
Women’s Kabaddi Challenge begins 28th June onwards!Aasmaan Choone Aur Oonchi Deewarein Todne Aa Rahi Hain Ladkiyan! Watch the women #CrossTheLine in the Women’s Kabaddi Challenge, 28th June onwards, only on Star Sports!
Posted by ProKabaddi on Sunday, June 26, 2016