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OPINION

Women show light at tunnel-end


Women show light at tunnel-end

By the time the baby girls reached their adolescence in Bangladesh, a large number of them were once seen being eyed if they were eligible enough to be married off. It was a widely practised social custom in many villages even two decades ago. For girls remaining unmarried after 12 years of age, their parents would often be reprimanded by the social 'matobbars' or persecuted by the general people. With school education becoming part of rural life, the practice of marrying off girl children began fading.

The rural scenario has undergone a revolution of sorts. Lots of these girls pass out from school by crossing the hurdle of SSC exams. They head for colleges nearby. Nowadays, many of them earn the capability to remain unmarried till they finish college. In a short time, they find their rural confines widen by the day. These changes in their social position have been gaining speed in the recent times. They are becoming assertive --- and vocal. Young girls participating in outdoor activities, sport in particular, are now common spectacles. Adolescents, even those on the verge of womanhood, are seen playing football, cricket, hockey, volleyball, etc. Many are found showing their excellence in athletic items as well as cycling. These games were once the omains of the males.

Due to the opposition from a segment of male obscurants, a number of these spirited girls are compelled to head for the city-based sports training schools. Amazingly, a handsome number of these young women prove stunningly brilliant in their respective areas of games. According to sociological experts, this phenomenon amply proves the outburst of these young women's long suppressed desire to demonstrate their sports talent. That like men, women also nurture their flair for combativeness in sport, and even in frontal duels, has been universal since ancient times.

Upon being trained and coached at specialised institutions in batches, talented players and sports women continue to come out. This phase is followed by their triumphant tours of overseas countries. Notwithstanding their achievements in the foreign tournaments, they never fail to express their gratitude to their trainers and teachers. The rural but enlightened parents who allowed their daughters to go ahead with their passion also deserve warm plaudits.

In reality the young females winning laurels for Bangladesh are playing the role of the country's envoys. By winning in series of regional and international games and sport events, these adult girls are showing the world that Bangladesh, despite being a highly modest society, doesn't shy away from outdoor games. It's a great achievement on the part of Bangladesh women. It also proves these women can challenge and defeat many social obstacles. All this undoubtedly enhances the country's image as a consummately developing one with an appropriate socio-economic goal. The present state of Bangladesh women may prompt many to recall their social persecution decades ago. In the very city of Dhaka, rickshaws carrying women passengers had to be compulsorily covered with clothes like a sari. The similar custom would apply to 'chhoi'-covered 'dingi' boats as well. Trains had ladies' compartments, with theatres having provisions for separate enclosures for women audiences. In short, there were few venues in cities and villages where ladies and gents could assemble together without invisible, but socially approved, barriers. Scores of off-beat social commentators blame these forced segregations for the widespread violence unleashed on women in the country.

The sports women earning humble laurels for Bangladesh are playing a great role in stopping the rot. It should be regarded as a great national task. In accomplishing it, the otherwise invincible women need support and encouragement of the sensible males. To the fortune of the country, Bangladesh has no dearth of them. It's because in the overall uplift of this independent and sovereign land, women have never dithered about going forward, and working alongside men.

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