Year One India
When life is limited to coping with the hardships of poverty, unbreakable strength is required to push people to defy the odds.
M.C. Mary Kom is the Indian queen of boxing. She has won five world championships and a bronze medal at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London; the first time that women’s boxing was recognized as an Olympic sport.
She is a woman who faced impossible odds in a man’s world and won.
India is a culturally sensitive region where tradition and family values are significant factors in determining one’s future. M.C. Mary Kom was born to parents who were landless agricultural labourers from a village in Manipur, one of India’s northeastern states. Torn with insurgency, the region is home to over thirty militant groups.
The impoverished life of labourers can leave youth in the villages to drop out of schools at young ages. Most girls marry early and end up with a big family, which continues the cycle of poverty.
While younger generation may find old family traditions burdensome to the growth of their independence and career, Mary found power in her family and community to become a force to be reckoned with.
My life has been a tough one, and my beginnings were extremely humble. But I don’t wish for it to have been any different. I realize that the hardships I faced in my formative years are the foundation of my strength. – Mary Kom, Unbreakable
One of her greatest motivating forces has been her desire to highlight the identity of her village tribe ‘Kom’ within India and the world. People from the Northeast states of India are not always recognized as Indian in their own country because of their South East Asian looks and have been a marginalized group within India itself.
Her accomplishments have been a uniting force in showcasing the identity of the northeastern states of India to the world.
Mary Kom’s own story taught her how difficult it is to follow one’s own dream without any support or resources. This experience has made her vocal in advocating for both women’s boxing & children’s rights. As she currently prepares to represent India in the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio De Janeiro, she also runs the M.C. Mary Kom Boxing Academy free of charge for underprivileged children in the state of Manipur.
“I have always felt that the reason I have done so well is because every time I enter the ring, I tell myself, I must win. I will fight to win.” – Mary Kom
Mary Kom is proof that countries like India have a lot of potential, regardless of any hardships that exist. She is a living example that nothing is impossible. To have an unbreakable spirit requires you to always have faith by finding strength no matter how difficult the times may be.
I do not only rely on my technique or strength but also on my mind. – Mary Kom
Fighting for India, and Against Prejudice
Unbreakable: An Autobiography on M.C. Mary Kom
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