HT Correspondent, Lucknow, June 24
116 teenagers wield swords, guns & lathis
WHEN ALL’S quiet on the western front, battle cries pierced the sky in a little corner of the city on Saturday. Those bringing the sky down were 116 girls, whom the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) has metamorphosed into ‘warriors’ in just nine days.
These ‘teenage warriors’, now Durga Vahini members, had gathered at the Saraswati Shishu Mandir here from several districts of UP. On Saturday they demonstrated what all they had learnt at the camp.
The girls displayed skills in wielding swords and lathis and shooting down targets.
Unarmed, they fought eve-teasers, molesters and chain-snatchers. They crossed a ‘river’ with the help of a single rope monkey bridge. They jumped through a ring of fire and shattered roof-tiles with their head and hands. They also showed how well they learnt the softer skills of yoga and meditation. As they performed each act, war cries rent the air in battle zone Niralanagar.
Pankhuri, barely 16, was bursting with excitement as the little warriors demonstrated their skills at the ‘Durga Vahini Shaurya Prashikshan Shivir’. “The training has made me physically, mentally and spiritually a better girl,” said Pankhuri, who as Pramukh Shikshika (chief trainer) led a band of 16 other girls to train the 116 participants. Pankhuri was so impressed with her experience at the previous two camps that she chose to become a trainer this time.
The VHP, which has been organising such summer camps for girls for the past six years, was ecstatic to have successfully inculcated the ‘sanskara’ in these tender hearts.
Rashtriya Pramukh of VHP’s Matrashakti Sangeeta Taai watched the entire display and asked: “So, are women ‘abla’? No, they are not. They are ‘sabla’.”
The message was clear. She wanted the girls to be mentally, physically and spiritually strong. Strong enough, she said, to protect self and others.
Taai’s comment reiterated what All India coordinator of the show Usha Rawal had said on June 17, “These camps are organised to awaken girls”.