Mahavir Singh Phogat, an Indian amateur wrestler and his wife Daya Shobha Kaur when gave birth to four daughters no one would have ever thought that in future all four will bring glory for Indian wrestling. Being born in a Hindu Jat family in Balali village in Bhiwani district of Haryana which has been infamous for high female foeticide rates and low literacy rates, it was really difficult for Mahavir Singh and his daughters to fight out their way to glory. Mahavir Singh has not only trained his four daughters Geeta, Babita, Sangita, and Ritu but also he has trained his two nieces Vinesh and Priyanka to become world class wrestlers. Also, Vinesh and Priyanka are brought up by Mahavir Singh since their father and Mahavir Singh’s brother Rajpal Phogat was killed in a land dispute.
In 2000 Sydney Olympics when Karnam Malleswari won a bronze medal for India in weightlifting, this inspired Mahavir Singh to train his daughters to become wrestlers to bring the medal for India. The dream was big but the resources were less. At that time Geeta was 10 years old and Babita was 8 years old when one morning Mahavir Singh woke them up at five in the morning and told them to run across the village, then it became the regular routine and also the hardness level was increased day by day by their father. In a village where women were thought to be inferior being the villagers could not accept what was being done by the two sisters and Mahavir Singh. Despite the opposition, within a week Mahavir Singh prepared an “AKAHADA” in a field near to his house with a tin roof over it.
The opposition had increased with time but the villagers did not have enough guts to do anything other than passing comments and boycotting the sisters as Mahavir Singh was Sarpanch at that time. But still, the girls had to undergo a lot of harassment. People stopped talking to them, making eye contacts with them and passed several comments to them and their mother Daya that their face will be deformed, they will look like boys, no one would marry them, they will not be able to bear the child, etc.
After few months some boys also joined the Akhada and because of the unavailability of any other girls, both Geeta and Babita had to fight bouts with the boys. Now this was something more against the “society”. After this Geeta and Babita were a boycott by the villagers. People started calling them shameless and immoral. Despite all this both the girls kept enjoying what they were doing, the fights, the hard works, the pain, fighting bouts with boys in T-shirts and shorts.
The social harassment was a different thing and being beaten up by their father was another pain. For every single mistake, the girls were beaten up by their father cum coach Mahavir Singh. Mahavir Singh believed in the idea that hard work is the only way to success and hence left no stone unturned to make his daughters work hard and work hard himself to train them. He also left his job when Geeta and Babita started competing in state level championship. When they did not get a fund to buy a wrestling mat, they used mattresses to make their own wrestling mat to practice professional wrestling. After facing many ups and both sisters brought glory to the country when Geeta won gold in 2010 Commonwealth Games under 55kg category and Babita won silver under 51kg category.
Mahavir Singh adopted Vinesh and Priyanka as his daughters when his brother Rajpal Singh died in a land dispute. He has trained all the four sisters after Geeta and Babita, but they had to face less hardship due to the path created by their elder sisters, hard work has been always there for and with the four sisters and to follow the path led by their elder sisters.
In 2014 Commonwealth Games, Glasgow Babita won gold in the 55kg category and Vinesh won gold in the 48 kg category. Ritu has recently started her career as the senior wrestler after winning medals at every possible international platform at Junior level. Ritu has won gold under 48 kg category in the 2016 Commonwealth Wrestling Championship, Singapore. Priyanka has also recently started has the career in the senior wrestling and has won silver under 55kg category in the 2016 Asian Wrestling Championship, Bangkok. Sangita is currently playing and performing well at the junior level. It is expected that she will also bring international medals for the country once she enters the senior level wrestling.
The story of the six Phogat sisters inspires and teaches everyone that if given chance and support girls can make great achievements and bring glory to their families and the nation. Hope that all the sisters win more medals and bring glory to INDIA and make us feel proud.
YE CHORIYA CHORON SE KAM HAI KE?