Sports as a beacon of hope in Bastar

Bastar area of Chattisgarh, India is rife with naxalism (an identity given to the various Communist Insurgency groups, originally the term coined from the village Naksalbari in northern part of the West Bengal State). It is situated on the Red Corridor of India, also called the red zone, because of Naxalite–Maoist insurgency. 

Romita Sori, a Class XII student from here is a star archer. She has won 15 medals in State Level Archery Competition besides 2 silver and 2 bronze in national archery competition so far. She is trained under the aegis of Indo Tibetan Border Police. 

The 41st Battalion of Indo Tibetan Border Police, deployed in the area to conduct anti-Naxal operations, started teaching various sports to youths of Bastar. Apart from the physical and mental benefits of sports, it is proven that sports have an important role in peace building and conflict resolution. The Olympic Truce is the epitome of this notion, of uniting people, crossing boundaries and negotiating peaceful relations. 

We have seen sports introduced to the youth and children of conflict zones. Its positive effects are studied and replicated extensively, from Sierra Leone to Bosnia Herzegovina. In our neighbourhood Island Nation of Sri Lanka, the game of Cricket was used to rehabilitate victims of internal conflicts.

In this video of Bastar, Romita Sori mentions that if the National Mineral Development Corporation, one of the main miners of Chattisgarh area, together with the Indo Tibetan Border Police Sports Coaches engage more youth in sports, the children here would be able to capture the national and international archery scene. 

These bright and adept Archers ignite our faith in humanity. Despite their poor and conflict ridden backgrounds, they overcame all the hardships, and dedicated their life to a discipline that discourages violence and promotes unity. Please share this video, so that these youngsters get recognition and encouragement.

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