Across The Wall
This is a story about a team of basketball players. All of them are girls. These girls come from very poor families. They also face gender bias. They have crossed all the obstacles to become good players of basketball. The team has already played district level and state level matches. The girls dream of playing for the country.
There are some tasks meant for girls only. There are some other tasks meant for boys only. Girls generally play certain games which boys do not play. Similarly, boys play certain games which the girls do not play. For example: girls usually play with dolls and kitchen sets. Boys usually play with toy cars and toy guns. In many families, girls are not allowed to study.
Girls are supposed to do household chores, like cleaning and cooking. Boys are supposed to run errands, like going to markets. Boys generally have more freedom than girls.
But things are changing. Many families allow their daughters to study and even to play a game of their choice.
Question 1: Is there any place to play near your house?
Answer: Yes, there is a small playground.
Question 2: What do people play there? Who plays there?
Answer: People play many games in the park. Some children play cricket, some others football. Older children play cricket. Children of my age play kabaddi or kho kho.
Question 3: Do the children of your age also get a chance to play there?
Answer: Yes, there are different corners for different groups of children. There is no written rule, but most of the children stick to their part of the playground.
Question 4: What other things happen at this place?
Answer: Many other activities happen at this place. Sometimes, there can be a bhandara (free meal) on a festival. Sometimes, there can be puja. Mushairas and Kavi Sammelans (Poetry Recitals) are also organized from time to time.
Question 1: Has anyone ever stopped you from playing some games? Which games?
Answer: Sometimes, my parents stop me from playing. It happens when I have to appear for examination or term tests. Outdoor games are strictly forbidden in that case.
Question 2: Who stopped you and why? What did you do then?
Answer: My mother stops me, because she wants me to do good in exams. Sometimes, I feel bad. Then I also think that study is more important for me.
Question 3: Did anyone help you and encourage you to play?
Answer: One of my maternal uncles (Mama) always encourages me to play cricket.
Question 1: Do girls and boys play different types of games in your school or neighbourhood? If yes, then which games do the boys play and which do the girls play?
Answer: In my school and neighbourhood, girls usually play stapoo and skipping ropes. Boys usually play cricket and kabaddi.
Question 2: Do you think that there is any difference between the games and the way they are played by boys and girls?
Answer: I find many differences between the games played by boys and girls. Girl’s games do not need too much physical effort. Boy’s games need more physical effort.
Question 3: Should the games for boys and the girls be different? What do you think?
Answer: I think all the games should be played by both boys and girls. Both boys and girls should get equal chance to show their talent. They should get proper chance to play a game of their choice.
Question 1: Have you ever played as part of a team of your class, school of neighbourhood? Whom did you play with? What games did you play?
Answer: I am a member of the cricket team of my school. I have played many matches against teams of other schools in my city.
Question 2: What is the difference between playing for yourself and for the team?
Answer: There is a big difference between playing for myself and for the team. When someone plays for oneself, he/she becomes selfish. When someone plays for the team, he/she thinks about each team member. The win for the team becomes the main goal for a team player.
Question 3: While playing in a team would you like to play for yourself or for the team?
Answer: I will always like to play for the team.
Question 4: Is your team like the team Afsana played with at Sholapur or like the Nagpada team? How?
Answer: I am lucky that my team is like the Nagpada team. Every player in my team cooperates with other players. All of us work like a unit. We support each other even when someone falters a bit.
Question 1: Have you ever taken part in some game or competition from your school or area? How did you feel?
Answer: I have participated in many competitions and games from my school. I feel proud when I represent my school.
Question 2: Did you go to some other place to play? What was that place like? How did you like going to that place?
Answer: Once, I had been to a nearby town to play a match of cricket. The town is bigger than my town. I loved travelling by bus. After the match, our coach took us to a shopping mall. All of us enjoyed having burgers and ice cream at the shopping mall.
Question 3: Have you seen matches being played between India and other countries? Which ones?
Answer: I never miss a cricket match between India and other countries. I find T-20 very interesting. But One Day Matches and Test Matches are quite boring.
Question 4: What would happen if girls are not allowed to play games, to study or do some other work of their choice?
Answer: If girls are not allowed to play games or study or do other works of their choice, they will feel bad. They will not be able to fulfill their dreams.
Question 5: How would you feel if you were not allowed to take part in some game or drama?
Answer: If I will not be allowed to take part in some game or drama, I will feel bad.
Question 6: Have you heard of any women players? Name them and the games they play.
Answer: There are many women players. Names of some of them are as follows:
|P V Sindhu||Badminton|
Question 7: In which areas other than sports have you heard of women getting recognition?
Answer: Following is a list
|Indira Gandhi||Prime Minister|
|Kiran Mazumdar Shaw||Businessperson|
Question 8: Are these women less known than men? Why?
Answer: All these women are well known.
Question 9: How would you find the world to be, if girls never got a chance to take part in games, drama or dance? How would you feel if such a thing happened to boys?
Answer: If girls are never allowed to take part in games, drama or dance, it will be a blank charmless world. If even boys will not be allowed to take part in games, drama or dance, it will be disaster. The whole world will be a boring place.
Question 10: Do you know of any woman or girl who would want to be like when you grow up?
Answer: I want to become an excellent singer like Lata Mangeshkar.
Think and Write
Question: The newspaper report said, "Afsana has jumped over the wall. The gender wall that her mother had put up for her."
Think and write in your own words, what was this wall? What do you understand by gender bias?
Answer: The unwritten list of do’s and don’ts which prohibit girls to opt for certain fields of life are like a wall. Such a wall stop a girl from realizing her dreams.
Gender bias is all around us. Many people still prefer a boy over a girl child. Boys are given better food and are sent to better schools. Girls are not allowed to go out after sunset. Girls are trained to be a future housewife.