A punch in the face of Indian women
Lost in the clamour over our cricketers defying WADA over the “whereabouts” rule in drug testing, was a tiny news item in the Hindustan Times daily last week about women boxers washing dishes and serving tea to visitors at the National Institute of Sports.
Sports Minister MS Gill, when questioned about it in India’s upper house, said the practice was “a normal courtesy extended to distinguished guests”.
There was no clarity on what made a guest distinguished or whether this was a courtesy that only women were called on to extend.
The boxing federation, which has enough on its plate already, then sent out a press release, papers said, saying: “Haven’t we all grown up seeing our mothers, sisters and ladies of the house looking after the guests, right from our childhood. Are they doing demeaning jobs?”
Clearly not in Gill’s mind.
Isn’t it bad enough that every sport besides cricket gets the short end of the stick in India? Do we need to further humiliate our sportspersons — our sportswomen — in this fashion?
Would you imagine the uproar if budding bowlers at the Chennai academy were made to wash the cars of distinguished guests as a normal courtesy?
Harbhajan Singh and Murali Kartik were apparently disciplined some time back because they complained about the quality of the food at the cricket academy.
The contrast could not be more stark: while our superstar cricketers throw tantrums over food and their considerable weight over rules, our other sportspersons have no voice, and our sportswomen, in particular, who fight against conventional notions of what a woman must be, are reminded they haven’t come very far at all.
Most unsporting, isn’t it?