In a country, where women are expected to treat Marriage as an ultimate life goal, the parents of Khel Ratna Awardee Rani Rampal are the role models our society needs.
As per a report in Hindustan Times, Khel Ratna Awardee and India’s hockey team captain Rani Rampal recently revealed how her parents supported her hockey dreams over marriage. She shared how the question of marriage up 2 years ago when the Tokyo Olympics qualifiers were not very far. She recalled explaining patiently to her parents that she was not ready for marriage. And her priority was to see the Indian team qualify for the games.
“I made my parents understand that my ultimate target is not marriage. What I can achieve now as a player, I can’t achieve it later. They understood.”
Though Rani may have managed to keep her hockey dreams alive, many of her fellow teammates move away from the sport at the peak of their careers, to get married. Recalling the societal pressure of getting married, she mentioned,
“Once you represent India or get a job, it’s believed that it’s time for the athlete to tie the knot. Relatives continuously tell your parents and pressure builds up. Parents start believing in these things. But things have changed a lot over the years and parents have now started to understand.”
It is worth an applaud how her parents prioritized her hockey dreams over the societal pressure. But, what makes it even more special is the fact that her parents, who are hardly educated, understood the importance of respecting their daughter’s life choices.
Her father was a cart puller in Shahabad Markanda in Haryana and the family often struggled to make ends meet. But despite her family’s struggles, she feels fortunate that her parents nevertheless respected her life choices and hockey dreams. She says,
“I have gone through all kinds of struggles be it related to the game, financial condition, family, injuries. It is my privilege that I represent the country in hockey.”
And, all her hard work and her parent’s struggle was rewarded when Rani Rampal became the first female hockey player to be awarded India’s highest sporting honor—Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna. While sharing her experience, she mentioned:
“It is a big honor for me but this is also a big recognition for women’s hockey. The Indian team has performed consistently well in the last few years but somewhere I also had the feeling that it’s very difficult to get the country’s highest sporting honor for a woman hockey player. This will encourage girls to play hockey and realize their dream of playing for the country.”
At IFORHER, we are in awe of Rani and her parents. It is inspiring how Rani, with the support of her parents, emerged victorious despite all the ups & downs she faced in life.
We hope more parents would seek inspiration from Rani Rampal’s parents to believe in their daughters’ dreams and not treat marriage as an ultimate life goal.