Yogeshwar Dutt may have won a Bronze medal at the Olympics, but he has won gold in our hearts by publicly denouncing the practice of dowry. The prolific wrestler has gone on record noting that he won’t be taking any dowry for his wedding.
The 34-year-old freestyle wrestler, who is also a Padma Shri award winner, said that his decision came on the heels of watching his own family struggle when they were putting together funds to adhere to the archaic and illegal practice.
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“I saw my family struggle to collect dowry for the girls of the family. As a result, I decided on two things while growing up — I will excel in wrestling and I will not accept dowry. My first dream has been realised and now it is time to keep my second promise,” Yogeshwar, who also won gold at the Commonwealth Games in 2014, told The Times of India.
As a matter of sentiment and tradition, Yogeshwar will take Re. 1 as “shagun”. The Olympian, who recently got engaged, will be tying the knot on January 16 with Sheetal — the daughter of politician Jai Bhagwan Sharma from Haryana.
While the practice of dowry is abolished in India, it is still prevalent across the country. In 2015, the Women and Child Development Ministry noted in a letter to Lok Sabha that there had been 24,771 dowry-related deaths in a span of just three years
Yogeshwar says that he wishes his father and his coach were alive because his decision would have made them proud. Here’s hoping Indians are as inspired by his gesture as they are by his wrestling prowess.