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Wrestlers Finally End Protest, What Were They Even Thinking Anyway?

Did the protesting wrestlers really think they could make a change, that they could use their voice to take a stand?

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Wrestling
3 min read
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Congratulations! Our wrestlers have finally ended their months of protest and gone back to ‘what they know best’ - wrestling. What really were they even doing out on the streets protesting in the cold winters, the Delhi heat and the rain, thinking they could actually be part of change? 

It's not like for decades – yep, pretty sure it's been decades – this country has been asking where its sportspersons’ voices go when it comes to taking a stand. Muhammad Ali took one, we always remind ourselves, Serena Williams ended her career known as the fearless rebel and Colin Kaepernick lost his career for what he believed in. But our sports stars have always been of the silent variety.

So then when this group of special women and men took on their Goliath, of course they were mistaken in thinking they could make a change.

Because why would a committee headed by MC Mary Kom, one of India’s greatest female sports stars, believe the many women who shared stories of how they were harassed? Why would the committee members shed tears in the meetings and then not lay blame where they needed to - in their findings report?

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Why would the wrestlers think they could bring in beds to sleep on during their protests at Jantar Mantar when their sleeping arrangements had been ruined by the rains?

Why would the wrestlers think they could hold a women's' mahapanchayat near the swanky new Parliament building and not be manhandled and detained by the police, even as the Prime Minister, at that very moment, was speaking about the values of our great democracy?

Why would they think that a man who has had 6 women file official police complaints of sexual harassment against him, would simply just step away?

How could the wrestlers think speaking up for the silent struggles of their sisters, would not make them a pariah in their own communities?

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What were Vinesh Phogat, Sakshi Malik and Bajrang Punia thinking protesting for the last 6 months. Putting their careers on hold, with just a year to go for the Paris Olympics?

They were thinking this India could change.

They were thinking the collective fight of India’s greatest wrestlers would be enough for the country to walk a new path.

They were thinking the might of an MP may not be able to weather the collective strength of their conviction.

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Did the protesting wrestlers really think they could make a change, that they could use their voice to take a stand?

Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh was the WFI President for the last 12 years.

(Photo: PTI)

And on Sunday even as they announced the end of their protest, hoping for the election of a new Brij Bhushan-free WFI soon and justice in the courts for the survivors, the WFI elections itself hit a major roadblock. Or rather, was pushed into a roadblock.

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Last week, the Assam Wrestling Association decided to wake up from their decades-long slumber and approach the Gauhati High Court to obtain a stay on the WFI elections till they were not recognised and given an affiliation to the national body- a move they claim was promised to them in 2014. 10 years have past since then, during which two WFI elections have been held, where Brij Bhushan was elected President, and the ASA only now wants a voting right?

Now, when finally some form of justice may be served in a quick manner with a timely election, why the sudden need to be affiliated and recognised?

I’ll leave you to connect the dots.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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