World champion Mary Kom has given a clarion call to the women of India to take up boxing or any other form of martial arts to combat crime against women.
“We have to remain prepared and have to learn to defend ourselves” said the boxer.
Kom was addressing the crowd on Thursday evening as part of the ongoing Darjeeling Tea and Tourism Festival (DTTF) in Darjeeling. “I was always a martial arts enthusiast and used to love action movies as a kid. I had once beaten up a auto-rickshaw driver who had teased me” she said.
Talking about the recent spate of crime against women, the Olympian bronze medalist said, “I am utterly shocked by the Delhi gang rape incident. Women need to be respected. In this regard North East is better, women are respected in the North East and there is not much gender related crimes. However, our daughters have to go to far way metros to study and for jobs. We have to teach them martial arts for self defence. It is mandatory” Kom stressed.
She also insisted that laws dealing with crime against women should be made more stringent. “This will act as a deterrent” she added.
Kom was felicitated at the DTTF by Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) members and was presented with a Rs. 2 lakh cheque for the boxing academy which she runs for the economically backward section in Manipur.
“Youth including the women of North East are highly talented. With their hard work and dedication, they can bring laurels to the country. I want you to take up boxing. I want you all to make our country proud,” stated the 30-year-old boxer.
“Boxing specially Women’ boxing will come to the Hills holding the gifted fists of Mary Kom. We are opening a Boxing Academy at Kurseong. We have many great boxers specially from the Gorkha Regiments, many from the national level. However there is hardly any scope. The Academy will provide adequate scope and platform for the boxers. We have approached Kom for help” stated Col (retd.) Ramesh Allay, Deputy Chief, GTA.
Kom reciprocated by stating that she was eager to help. “I started an academy in Manipur in 2007. But it is difficult to sustain. There is hardly any infrastructure, no facilities, no food and no training hall. I want to promote boxing in the North East and I want to produce many more May Koms” she added.
Talking about actress Priyanka Chopra playing her role in Sanjay Leela Bansali’s biopic, Kom said. “I am very happy and lucky that Priyanka is playing my role. She is a celebrity. I hope the movie inspires budding boxers. After watching the movie people will know how difficult the path has been and how steadfast I have remained on the path despite the odds.”