Once again it has happened – an Indian has achieved soaring success and there are reasons to be elated, and yet disappointed, at the same time.
Mamta Sodha, a 27-year-old, poor Dalit girl, has fulfilled her girlhood dream of scaling the world’s highest peak, Mt. Everest. She achieved this laudatory feat on 22nd May, 2010. Born into poverty and hunger, Mamta has always been a fighter, almost epitomizing the saying, “ALWAYS A SURVIVOR, NEVER A VICTIM”. Her mother is a widow, and Mamta teaches at a college in Kurukshetra, and is the sole earning member of her family, which also includes her brother and a sister. But obstacles never dampened her spirits, they only made her more determined. Mamta, who hails from Haryana’s Kaithal district, fell in love with the mountains, at around the age of eighteen, when she had gone to Vaishno Devi. From then on, it was only rigorous practice and training to fulfill her dream – She became a member of the National Adventure Club, and scaled peaks in Himachal Pradesh and Uttaranchal. Gradually, her mission became Mt. Everest, and this is where the sad part comes in………Even after proving her mettle, finding sponsors for the expedition was an arduous task. She only managed to get about Rs. 3 lacs from Haryana Chief Minister, Bhupinder Singh Hooda, and another Rs. 5 lacs from Congress MP, Navin Jindal. This is really a sorry state of affairs, considering the fact that sponsors do not hesitate to shell out crores of rupees for cricketers and filmstars, and yet display such unfortunate apathy to other, equally deserving sportspersons and athletes. And more deplorable is the fact, that even after succeeding in her mission, there is still no recognition for this talented girl- no sponsor has come forward to help her out, in any way, and there has been no proper felicitation ceremony either. Just contras t this, with the media coverage, which a Yuvraj Singh gets, even when he goes to visit a zoo!! Yuvraj is also a great sportsperson, but Mamta is no less either. However, one thing is granted, none of these obstacles or lack of recognition, would be able to dampen Mamta’s will-power, which is aptly expressed in her mantra – “ I take things as they come”. Mount Everest is only the beginning, let us all hope that Mamta, who is also a national handball champion, continues to scale greater heights in all aspects of her life, and inspires more women to take up newer challenges. As she herself says, “…..all fiels are open to women. Women don’t lag behind anywhere”. Certainly they don’t, and let us hope that there are more and more Mamta Sodhas in the near future, who will make this country proud.