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In a country that usually tells young women what they ‘cannot’ do, Hima Das and other sportswomen like her are the real superheroes we need – the ones who refuse to accept adversity.
Hima Das recently emerged as a promising young athlete from a tiny place in Assam, a place you perhaps wouldn’t even find on a map. The 18 year old sprinted towards the finish line with the commentator’s voice booming in the background- “She sees the line, she sees history. India’s never won any medal in a track event…“.
Thus, she became the first Indian to ever win a Gold medal in track, achieving her dream at the World Junior Athletics Championships at Tampere in Finland. She created history as the entire country watched her in rapt attention and pride.
Boarding a flight and someday setting foot on a foreign land was a big dream for her small eyes. She wanted to be a sportsperson. She wanted to run and represent her country. However, her underprivileged background was barely adequate to provide the wind beneath her wings. There was no formal coaching. No facilities or infrastructure. No good spikes to wear, and no tracks to practice. Not an environment conducive to preparing a world class athlete.
Yet, she dreamt and dreamt on.
She did not let these limitations get in her way. She says she loves running and she did that – in adversity, in anger, in happiness, in life. With immense grit, self discipline, and determination, she continued surging towards her goal. With the Assamese gamusa wrapped around her neck and the tricolour as her cape, she emerged like a superhero and went on to put her nondescript village on the world map.
In a society where gender equality is still a myth, where we impose rules on girls the moment they are born; where we teach girls that it is always the father, brother, or husband who owns them; that they are fragile and too delicate to find their way in this big bad world all by themselves. Where we police a girl regarding her clothes, conduct, behaviour, so she doesn’t get raped. In a society where a girl is not even allowed to dream, Hima rose as a beacon of hope.
May every girl who saw Hima that day realize that these are our real superheroes; someone, who do not succumb to unfavourable circumstances but works hard to rise against them. Someone who dares to dream and does not compromise on them. Someone who doesn’t conform to societal pressure on how to be a girl and creates their own definition of it. Who shows the world what girls are capable of, if given a chance.
We want our superheroes to inspire us. We want our superheroes to make our hearts beat faster with desire. We need someone to encourage us to dream and fearlessly pursue our dreams. Someone we could look up to, in moments of self-doubt, and think ‘if she can, so can we’. We want our superheroes to emerge as a dazzling example of what we can achieve if we set their hearts and minds to it.
Image credits in the video
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A woman who believes in lifting up other women. Runs on coffee, poetry, long walks,
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