While we were all busy applauding the “Daughters of India” in Rio, one such “daughter” killed herself because she couldn’t afford the daily commute to and from college.
A huge fan of PV Sindhu, and a national-level handball player, 20 year-old Pooja Kumari, a second year student in Khalsa College, Patiala was promised free accommodation and food by the College at the time of admission — a promise they reneged on. Too poor to afford the 120 rupees her daily commute cost her, she gave up, wrote a suicide note, addressed it to the PM (in blood), and killed herself.
This is the note she left, in which she states, in no uncertain terms, the role her College authorities played in making her circumstances impossible for her to handle. She also asks the powers-that-be to make education free for poor students.
This is what I don’t get about India. We have the most callous attitude towards our sportspeople. All these Olympic/Commonwealth/whatever medals we keep raving about, we can stake no claim to them whatsoever. India had nothing to do with Karmakar making it to Rio. India didn’t help with her training, or even supply the equipment, for that matter! Most of the sportspeople who’ve given India reason to celebrate, made it happen without one iota of help from any ministry or some such.
Look at Pooja! She died because the College authorities didn’t have the decency to honor their word. She is dead because no one found it in their hearts to help her.
We shouldn’t be staking a claim to the “daughters” who made it places all on their own steam. The credit lies with them, not with “India”! We should be ashamed that for every sportsperson who makes it, far too many Poojas don’t. And only because we don’t care! Only because the one reality of being a sportsperson in India seems to be that if you aren’t a cricketer, you ain’t worth shit!