An Ahmedabad-based auto rickshaw driver named Manilal Gohil used the money he had been saving for his daughter Mittal’s marriage to buy her a German-made rifle worth Rs. 5 lakh so she can pursue her passion for shooting.
This news so surprised and delighted the policemen at the local commissioner’s office where father and daughter went to apply for a firearm licence, that they praised the efforts of the rickshaw driver and helped him quickly get the required permission.
Mittal, who lives with her parents and brothers in a chawl in the Gomtipur area of Ahmedabad, is a national level shooter. She became interested in shooting four years ago when, while passing the Rifle Club in the city, she saw some shooters in action.
Surprisingly, her deep desire to learn this expensive sport was not dismissed outright by her father Manilal, a man of very limited means who works hard to sustain his family.
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Instead, he enrolled her for lessons at the Club, where she practised shooting with a rented rifle. It was clear that she had a natural aptitude for the sport when she won a bronze medal at the National Championships soon after her training began.
Next came the challenge of buying her own rifle so she could train further and participate in international level competitions. Although poor, her family was supportive and the loving father and her brother Jainish took on the task of arranging funds to get her a 50-meter range German rifle.
At this point, Manilal decided that letting his daughter pursue her ambitions was more important than saving for her marriage; he decided to use the money set aside for her wedding to help her get the firearm.
Six months of hard work and saving by her family later, Mittal is today the proud owner of a brand new rifle. However, each bullet costs Rs. 31 and she needs to buy at least 1000 rounds every time she wants to participate in a tournament. In addition, money is needed to meet her travel costs. So, the family’s struggle is far from over.
“My father and my family have sacrificed a lot just to fulfil my expensive hobby. After getting this rifle I will work hard to participate in international level and represent our country,” Mittal told Times of India.