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Mainstream, VOL 62 No 3 January 20, 2024

Protesting women wrestlers command much respect in the country; their coming out on the streets for justice has already made a difference | Bharat Dogra

Friday 19 January 2024, by Bharat Dogra


Several protesting women wrestlers like Vinesh Phogat and Sakshi Malik have been extremely sad these days [1]. It has been a distressing experience for people all over the country to see these women in tears, as they admire and respect them these wrestlers who have won prestigious medals for their country in international sports events but have been even more brave in their struggles against gender injustice and for providing safe conditions in which women wrestlers can bring more honors for their country. [2]

One can understand the reasons for their distress and of course their concerns are widely shared, as some of the perpetrators of the injustice and serious misconduct against whom they fought appear at first glance to have retained their strength [3]. Nevertheless, there are strong reasons why they should not be so sad and disheartened. These reasons deserve a wider attention, as these are relevant not only to their present struggles but also to several other brave struggles as well.

One main reason why these brave women should not be so deeply distressed and disheartened is that honest, courageous, and sincere efforts never go waste. They always have some good impact even though it may not be so visible immediately and may be revealed more clearly much later.

In the present context while the brave women wrestlers may not have succeeded in their immediate aim as perceived by them, but they have succeeded in an important way in drawing attention to problems of wrestling organizations and of women sports-persons interacting with them. In fact even though belatedly, the government has taken some important action by suspending the Wrestling Federation of India recently. Thanks to the problems highlighted time and again by these protesting wrestlers despite all the difficulties they faced, the conditions for other women wrestlers and sportswomen has already improved to some extent at least as there is greater awareness of the problems and this is always the first step towards effective remedial action. They have broken the silence and as a result of this there is higher likelihood now that it will not be possible for the perpetrators of injustice and misconduct to continue such highly unjust and wrong conduct in future.

As pointed out, belatedly some action has been taken by the government, but even if this had not been taken, it is important to remember the wider truth that honest and sincere struggles always have some good impact sooner or later.

It is important to understand a significant reality of present day world—that the forces of injustice are often found to be much stronger than the forces of justice. Hence despite having moral and ethical strength, a struggle for justice may frequently face very big setbacks. This should be understood as a part of the existing reality of society and instead of getting entirely disheartened, we should be able to continue walking on the path of justice, trying to further strengthen our efforts with greater unity, now more aware of the realities on the basis of experience and yet retaining hope for the future. I have known several great human beings who have devoted their life to helping the victims of injustice and to struggles for the rights of the poorest workers, but they got little recognition and instead suffered much. In such circumstances it is very important to somehow retain hope and above all maintain a firm faith in working for justice, while keeping it open to making any improvements on the basis of past experiences.

In the more specific context of the protesting women wrestlers and their colleagues, they have made a very important contribution to bringing to public attention some important problems and injustices. They should continue their noble work of taking up justice-based issues while also emerging fully from their present-day distress and disappointment, while also learning from their experiences. Only then they will be able to come to grips with the big challenges ahead, on and off the wrestling mat.

(Author: Bharat Dogra, is Honorary Convener, Campaign to Save Earth Now. His recent books include Protecting Earth for Children, Man over Machine and Navjeevan)

[1An Emotional Sakshi Malik Tears Up As She Announces Her Retirement After Brij Bhushan Associate Wins WFI Polls - In Pics

[2Timeline and drama starting from wrestlers’ protest to suspension of WFI

[3Brijbhushan was powerful and the ruling party protected him -Sakshi Malik

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