Once she was the captain of Odisha Women’s Football Team, but now she distributes newspapers every morning. Subharani Das, who led the Odisha women’s football team at the national-level championship tournament in 1992, has to make ends meet by going door-to-door to distribute newspapers.
Subharani Das, was forced to take up the job after her husband Praksh Chandra Mishra underwent surgery in 2004. The defender has also represented the state in Kho Kho from 1986 to 1998.
Das now in her bicycle distribute newspapers around 20 km starting from Saheed Nagar in the state capital Bhubaneswar to earn bread and butter for her two daughters and husband. Apart from selling newspapers, she also sells cow dunks and paper containers to get extra cash.
Das has 28 titles to her name in Khoko tournament. In 1992 when she captained the Odisha Women’s Football Team in Federation Cup, the then Chief Minister Biju Patnaik had to book flight tickets for the team as it was difficult to reach Guwahati (venue) in train. After that tournament, she played more than ten national level football tournaments.
Das, who takes pride in defeating strong teams such as West Bengal, Manipur, and Tamil Nadu, ran from pillar to post to get financial assistance. She approached the Sports and Youth Services Department for allowance but was only met with verbal assurance.
The Logical Indian Take
It is upsetting to see sportspersons like Subharani Das kept on the sidelines and not given promised financial aid and assistance.
Das’s story is a classic example of how Indian athletes barring cricketers, have to struggle financially after retiring and reinforces the idea that sports will not ensure future security and thus should be treated as such- a hobby, unseriously.
The misery of the former sportspersons like Das impedes the growth of talent and culture of sports.