“After the world cup, I had hoped to get a job. But I couldn’t get in anywhere even through the quotas for sports or the handicapped,” says Bhalaji Damor, who was man of the series in the first cricket world cup for the blind.
We hear stories of our sports heroes for motivation and inspiration. At least in India, we know the sports players in cricket are celebrated; some are even worshipped. However, some don’t even meet the fate to live the life of a common man in India. A similar case is of the star of India’s 1998 World Cup.
The 38-year-old sports hero has an impressive career record. He played 125 matches, 3,125 runs and 150 wickets. Despite being completely blind, he remains one of India’s top Wicket Taker in the format and has played eight international matches. His zeal to succeed helped India reach the semi-finals of the 1998 Blind Cricket World Cup. In spite it all, he did not end up where he hoped to be. He now earns around 3000 per month via farming, odd jobs and part-time coaching in his school village.
(Bhalaji Damor being felicitated by President K R Narayanan after India reached the world cup semis in 1998.)
“It is a sad truth that sportsmen in the special category are not recognized or rewarded at all,” says Bhushan Punani, president of Blind People’s Association of India. Damor was known as Sachin Tendulkar of Blind cricket, with his outstanding ability of hitting the stumps using his highly sensitized hearing sense.
Is this how the heroes of our nation should end up living? Was the hard work not enough? Or perhaps, just perhaps, it was us as a society who couldn’t accept him? Just maybe, it’s time we understand the whole point of quota system coming into play and the recognition of our sports stars in India.
The Logical Indian Team would always remember the name ‘Bhalaji Damor’ as the hero who went against all odds and achieved success. Maybe, it was us as a society who couldn’t give back what you, Mr. Damor, deserved.
Story & Image Source: Times of India