Mary Kom Got Yet Another Medal : WILL WE EVER GIVE HER A BHARAT RATNA?

will-we-ever-give-herWhy haven’t we heard anybody recommend a Bharat Ratna for MC Mary Kom?

Is it because she doesn’t deserve it?
If ‘Magnificent Mary’ decides to sell all the golds and silver she has won at global events, the Indian bullion market would crash because of oversupply.
If she were to list her achievements—five world championships, an Olympic bronze, today’s gold at the Asian Games and numerous other victories across the world—several markets would run out of ink and paper.
And if a hagiographer were to list her virtues—persistence, courage, fortitude, perseverance, devotion, dedication—many lexicons would run out of adjectives.
Let us come straight to the point: there has been no athlete like Mary Kom in India; PT Usha comes the closest and Saina Nehwal a distant third and Sania Mirza as an honourable mention.
But she should not be compared just with women athletes. It is time to ask ourselves this: Isn’t she right up there with legends like Dhyan Chand and achievers like Sachin Tendulkar?
In many ways, Mary’s triumphs are bigger; her achievements are greater than both of them. She competes in an individual sport and unlike cricket or hockey, which are played in just a few countries, boxing is a global game.
ary Kom is a real five-time world champion. Her Asian Games gold is a genuine token of her dominance in the continent. She has been winning continuously since 2000, a feat that appears bigger when you consider her equally successful family life and parenting.
Yet, we have not heard anybody talk of her as a Bharat Ratna.
Let us not bring politicians into this debate. We all know how political parties try to glorify the achievements of their past leaders by turning India’s highest honour by treating it like a petty political tool. But even when it comes to sports, a clear bias exists.
A few months ago, when everybody was talking about potential Bharat Ratnas, it was surprising that nobody even mentioned Payyoli Express, the original queen of Indian track and field.
Usha, like Milkha Singh, had narrowly missed a medal at the Olympic Games. But her unique achievement at 1986 Seoul Asian Games —four golds and a silver—made her a bigger, brighter star. But nobody even whispered her name.
Obviously, we are biased against women athletes. Our minds are programmed only to applaud the Tendulkars and the Singhs, not many would say Hail Mary with equal passion and fervor.
We treat games as extensions of battles, where athletes are expected to humiliate and annihilate the opposition, especially if it happens to be Pakistan. The image of a woman, so far removed from the imagery of war, doesn’t conform to this stereotype.
So, we do not give our female athletes the due attention and their achievements the deserved recognition. But the time to make amends has come. Mary’s gold medal at Incheon today has catapulted her into the league of greatest Indians. It is time to recognise this rare Ratna of Bharat.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *