If you feel that these names do not sound familiar, then you are not alone, not many know about these two enterprising ‘young’ ladies, who at 80+ years of age, are champion shooting icons. Yes, there we go, busting the stereotypes again; age and gender no bar is the motto that these two women have taught many women to live by. Here is their inspirational story that should be talked about and shared with others, so we can truly inspire the females in this country, especially, in the remote villages, to step out of their homes and make it count.
Who are they?
Prakashi Tomar, and Chandro Tomar, both octogenarians, are two of the oldest sharpshooters in the world. They are also called ‘Shooter Dadi’ or ‘Revolver Dadi’. Both of them have eight children and grandchildren. They are sisters-in-law from the Johri village of Uttar Pradesh and have won many medals in shooting at the state and national level. The most interesting part is that they took to the range, at a time when most people retire from an active sport. They were past 60 when they started their shooting career. Well, not really the kind of ‘pastime’ that grandmothers are known to pick, right? But, they started it for the sake of their daughters and granddaughters, accompanying them to the shooting range at the Johri Rifle Club.
Suffice to say that at a time when most girls or women in the village, were not even allowed to step out of their homes freely, these women, not only stepped out but also proved a point. They had to hear a lot of snide comments and even keep their hobby under wraps for fear of the conservative society. But they, as well as the Club coach, slowly realized that they had a great gift. When they were taken seriously by the club and started winning competitions, people started to take notice and things started changing. Today, their names are taken with pride and they are revered in the very same society that scoffed at them for picking up a gun.
The pioneers of changing equations
These two grannies are truly the pioneers of changing equations within their village and society. Today, their club has a whole host of girls who is as young as eleven years old training hard with the grannies, and the village team boasts of around 25 members. In fact, Prakashi’s daughter Seema, who is in the Indian army, is an International gold medallist in the shooting. Seema became the first female shotgun shooter from India, to have clinched a medal at the International Shooting Sport Federation World Cup, held in Dorset in 2010. Without a doubt, she credits her success and inspiration to her mother. Chandro’s granddaughter Shefali is also an international shooter. There is also a report that they defeated a DIG in a shooting competition, which highly miffed him!