How Mary Kom received the support of her husband Karung Onkholer at every step; shows what equal marriage looks like.
Mary Kom’s hard work and determination are definitely the cornerstones of her success. But there are countless sacrifices that her husband made to ensure that she makes India proud.
In a society like ours where being a woman brings its own set of challenges, Mary Kom’s journey of becoming one of the world’s most successful athletes in the boxing ring was anything but easy.
In her difficult yet inspiring journey, Mary Kom’s husband Karung Onkholer fought for Mary Kom’s dreams at every step.
He stood against every social norm that expected her to give up on her dreams to be a good wife and a good mother.
Our society is too demanding when it comes to women’s dreams and aspirations. It expects women to not only change priorities post-marriage but also judges her dividing time between motherhood and career.
But, Karung made sure that Mary Kom doesn’t have to succumb to the pressure of society. He showed the society that when the husband supports a woman and her dreams, what can be achieved.
The Perfect Marriage
Mary Kom and Karung first met in 2000 in New Delhi at the Nehru Stadium. It was just after Mary had one of the worst experiences when she completed a train journey where she lost her suitcase along with her passport and other valuables.
At that time, Karung was the president of the North-East students’ body. And, after hearing about the horrific incident, he comforted her and told her that he was there to assist her with everything “from financial assistance to the comfort of a home-cooked meal”
While recalling his first moment of meeting Mary, Karung shared:
“I first met Mary at the Nehru Stadium in Delhi. I saw this girl; she had short hair and a lot of gumption. I knew she wanted to become a boxer against odds.”
And after dating for 4 years, when Karung tied the knot with Mary, he knew he was willing to go the extra mile for her.
In his own words, Karun shared in an interview:
“We were friends for four years and then I thought we should get married. I knew her dreams and was ready to help her in every way.”
While many husbands shy away from supporting their wives in their dreams and aspiration, Karung has made sure to go extra mile for Mary Kom at every step of her life in a 14 years-long marriage.
How He Made Her Dream His Own Without Worrying ‘Log Kya Kahengey’
Though our society judges and shames the husband when he is perceived to be professionally lesser successful than his wife, it didn’t matter to Karung what people had to say.
Being a former footballer himself, Karung knew how important the dream of becoming one of the best athletes in the world was to Mary. He willingly let his career slide because he wanted Mary to focus on her’s completely, especially after she had become a mother to twins in 2007.
Though many women struggle with work-life balance, Karung made sure that he supports her in the most admirable way possible.
From looking after their 3 kids when she had to undergo training, to not informing her about domestic troubles during her tours, Karung ensured that motherhood never interfered with Mary’s career.
“If there’s any problem in the family, my husband never tells me about it. He says, ‘Don’t think about the children, don’t think about us. You just concentrate on your training’.”
In one of the interviews with India Today, Mary Kom mentioned how she was considering giving up on her selection for a tournament as she felt guilty of leaving her son just before his heart surgery to go for a tournament.
At that moment, her husband not only pushed her to go for the tournament but also comforted her that he would take the complete responsibility of their kids and she mustn’t worry about them.
In India, where women are expected to give up on their aspirations and dreams for becoming a dedicated wife and a loving mother, Mary and Karung Kom show exactly how marriage should look like.
At IFORHER, we are in awe of the support that Karung has provided Mary Kom and we hope more husbands would come forward to seek inspiration. They would become the driving force behind their wives’ passion.
As a society, we need to remember that behind every Mary Kom is a husband like Karung Kom. If we need more Mary Koms, we need more husbands to be like Karung Kom.