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A note on the issue: The women who pull no punches

A number of young women boxers from small towns and villages have made space for themselves in the ring

India's Lovlina Borgohain in action against Li Qian of China in the semi-finals of the Mahindra IBA Women's World Boxing Championships 2023. Photo courtesy Boxing Federation of India

By Shalini Umachandran

LAST PUBLISHED 02.03.2024  |  07:00 AM IST

Many years ago, when the roses and chocolates of fatuous, corporatised women’s day celebrations (which unfortunately continue) were annoying me more than usual and I was trying to (fruitlessly) explain to HR the idea of the day, I read a line on the official International Women’s Day website that went something like “when women are not present, we must ask ‘why not?’." It’s exactly what Nikhat Zareen did as a 12-year-old sprinter in Telangana when she saw girls participating in every sport, except boxing.

And rather than just accept the answer, Zareen, and a number of other young women from smaller towns and villages, including Nitu Ghanghas, Lovlina Borgohain and Saweety Boora, have made space for themselves in the ring. Last year, at the Women’s World Championship in New Delhi, India won four gold medals. 

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Ghanghas, Zareen, Borgohain and Boora are our stars, who are now firmly focused on bringing back medals from the Paris Olympics, as they tell Lounge while also sharing the struggles they’ve faced. Their grit and intensity is admirable and unquestionable, and yet, as our cover story shows, there’s also a streak of fun at loving what they do, and a deep pride in how they are changing minds about achievement and ambition. Sportspersons’ pursuit of excellence is always inspiring, most of them having transcended the gulf between the reality of their daily lives and the dream of prevailing.

This is an issue of contrasts, and therefore, on an entirely different note, Vidur Gupta of Third Eye Distillery, the makers of the popular Stranger & Sons, talks about creating a category for Indian gins, while French fashion designer Christian Louboutin contemplates his love for Bollywood and its influence on his work. We meet the artists showing their work at the ongoing Art Dubai 2024, and the ways in which their art is prompting people to think about ideas of identity, humanity and existence. And as always, we have a host of recommendations for how to spend your weekend, whether it’s sports, art, books, music, film or food that’s your passion.

Write to the editor at shalini.umachandran@htlive.com

@shalinimb

Also read: Delivering a knockout: The story of India’s champion women boxers