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What lesson should India learn from the performances of the female Indian Athletes at Rio Olympics 2016

India finally broke the no-medal tag at Rio Olympics 2016 and now it is time to cheer and celebrate the victory. It is time to celebrate harder because ‘a girl did it’. The performance of Indian athletes, Sakshi Malik and PV Sindhu, at Rio Olympics 2016 was a treat for the eyes as we witnessed the power-packed girls infuse their soul and might with the energy of the stadium to defeat their competitors and create history as they stood, with head held high, on the podium, to accept the medals in the name of their country. Yes, ladies, you have all made us, especially the women of India, very proud.

As PV Sindhu won a silver medal, Sakshi Malik won a bronze, and Dipa Karmakar stood fourth, the women back in India, couldn’t thank you enough for bringing India’s name on the podium. You all carried a part of every Indian woman on the podium when you climbed to accept the medals.

Being born in India is being born into a patriarchal society where females are always considered to be the weaker sex. Although the perception is changing, yet in some parts of the country, the girl-child has to fight for her existence from the day she is born. There are different rules for a girl and a boy belonging from the same house. There are restrictions in education, career, way of speech, behavior etc. When the women reach a subtle age, they are married to a man who supposed to take care of them. Instead, there are registered cases of domestic violence and marital rape. Not only within the household, women are picked up randomly from street, schools, colleges, shops, and every other location that is considered to be safe, to be a victim of man’s (can be more than one also) sexual hunger born out of lust or revenge. There are some people who still perceive women as some child-producing machine so they can bestow the same mind-set on their progeny. Girls, as young as ten to thirteen years, are trafficked to satisfy men and their desires. While some female infants survive the wrath of abortion only to be sold by their parents in exchange of money, others fail to see the sunlight as they are killed inside the mother’s womb. Girls are told, from a very young age, that someday they will have to get married and perform all duties and customs that their husband’s family follows and hence are trained that way, leave alone the topic of getting into sports and performing on an international platform, away from home, for so many days.

With so many things existing, just because she is a girl, it is highly commendable that the athletes hailing from India have overcome all dogmas and reached so far with so much power that they could unite the nation for sports other than cricket. Sakshi Malik, the first Indian female wrestler to win a medal, hails from a state with a sex ratio of 879 females per thousand males, PV Sindhu, the first Indian woman to win a silver at Olympics, belongs to a state where the literacy rate is 67.4 (the data is as per the 15th Census of India held in the year 2011). The victory of these girls should serve as an eye-opener for many people in India that girls are not a weaker sex, they never were. They are generous enough to give everybody a fair chance, but when situations call, it is the girls who have stood up, against all odds, to save the pride of the family and the nation. It is time that we stop stereotyping females and let them unleash the power within them. It is time to learn from their families how to train a daughter so that they become capable of smashing records on an international platform. The nation should learn a lesson that if we raise and support our girls with proper education and training, they can achieve their dreams with great valor and flying colors. So, instead of restricting our daughters in thoughts, speech and action, let us tell them that they have the freedom to accept and follow their dreams to make it a success and we will all stand together to cheer for their victory. Time has come to realize that a girl waiting alone for a bus or walking back home is not a prey, rather you should assist her to reach her destination safely; you never know what she is preparing for, may be a medal at the Olympics or to be the next leader of the country.

Being a girl myself, I feel obliged to the star women of India that they have bestowed me with an opportunity to write about a topic like this. On behalf of all the women of India, I thank you, not only for sharing the same gender, but also for making the existence of all the other females powerful and meaningful. With the progress of Indian women as notable as the performances of the Indian athletes at the Rio Olympics 2016, the day is not far when every individual would proudly acknowledge their girl-child as ‘Meri Beti’ (My Beloved Daughter) and that day would mark the actual commencement of the development of the country.

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