Deepika’s parents and sister at their Ranchi residence last year while she was participating in the London Olympics
Deepika Kumari may be the toast of the world’s archery circuit, but back home in Ratu Chatti village on Ranchi outskirts, her family lacks piped water and a proper toilet.
A day after India’s recurve trio Deepika, Rimil Biruly and Laishram Bombayala Devi defeated Korean world champs Yun Ok-Hee, Ki Bo Bae and Joo Hyun Jung in Poland, the parents of Jharkhand’s arguably most famous daughter are left wondering why the state can’t honour its promises.
“Pichle saal Arjun Munda ne 10 decimal jameen Harmu mein dene ka ghoshana kiye thhe. Sarkar gai aur sab bhul gaye. Hum log Mundaji se mile bhi baad mein. Unhone bola, jab ek baar adhikarik ghoshana ho gaya toh milega, bhale der se. Bhashan baji hota hai, akhbaaron mein chapta hai aur kuch nahin hota. (Last year, former chief minister Arjun Munda announced a state gift of 10 decimal land in Harmu, but when his government fell, all was forgotten. When we met Mundaji, he said once an official announcement is made, it would happen sooner or later. But everyone forgets after getting media coverage,” Deepika’s father, auto-rickshaw driver Shiv Narayan, said on Monday.
“In 2009, when she first won a medal (11th Youth World archery Championship in Ogden, US), the state promised her Rs 10 lakh but not a penny was given,” her mother Geeta Devi chipped in. “She was only 15 then.”
For this humble family, the unkindest cut came from the public health and engineering department (PHED) last year.
“We were promised permanent water connection and a proper toilet. Last year, PHED officials inspected our home and took our signatures on various documents. Then, they forgot,” said the mother.
She added Deepika was a world champion and an Olympian. “But the state has forgotten this. Tata Steel employed her, what did the state do? What is my daughter’s future here?”
That left unanswered, the mother’s voice changes when she talks about Deepika’s next challenge.
With Sunday’s win, Deepika entered the final tie (individual) World Cup, in September 21-22 in Paris.
“Last year, at her first World Cup final in Tokyo, she won silver,” proud father Shiv Narayan said. “This time, we hope she gets gold.”
“We don’t understand the intricacies of archery, but I can say Deepika is more mature as a girl. She is steady. Last year in Tokyo, she missed gold by a whisker because of nervousness as well as the wind factor. Ab, beti badi ho gayi hai (Our daughter has grown up),” Geeta Devi smiled.
Will the state ever keep its promises made to Deepika?