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Suraj Lata Devi, The Inspiration Behind Chak De! India, Has Filed A Domestic Abuse Case. ‘What Use Are Your Medals?’ Her Husband Asked

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Suraj Lata Devi is a former Indian women hockey captain who led the team to win three gold medals consecutively at the 2002 Commonwealth Games, the 2003 Afro-Asian Games, and the 2004 Hockey Asia Cup under her captaincy. It’s her story that is the inspiration behind Chak De! India so you can imagine the long list of accomplishments Suraj Lata Devi has.

And no matter how much I wish I was writing about all her great achievements; this story is not about that. Today, I am talking about all the suffering she has been through at the hands of her husband. Suraj Lata Devi has just filed an FIR for domestic violence and mental torture against her husband Shanta Singh.

Speaking to the press on Wednesday the former hockey player addressed this by saying her husband harassed her ever since they got married in 2005. She cited dowry as the main reason for the torture she was subjected to.

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She said, “My husband Shanta Singh ridiculed me when I brought all the medals and photos that I had won on the day of my marriage and had remarked what use would it serve?” She also said that he claimed that she won the Arjuna Award, one of the most prestigious awards in our country, because of her “immoral behaviour”.

Men like Shanta Singh really disgust me. Instead of supporting his wife’s amazing career as a sportswoman and helping her battle the already existing issues off the field, he goes around assaulting her for dowry. Some “man” he is.

A mother of two, Suraj Lata Devi said that she had been going through this horrific ordeal for a while but she believed that he would change his behaviour. She said, “I never wanted the matter to become public. However, there is always a limit to someone’s patience and tolerance.”

Everyone reaches a breaking point, Suraj Lata Devi reached hers in November 2019 when her husband allegedly tied her up and beat her mercilessly for three hours in an inebriated condition while she was officiating a tournament in Punjab. The Sulatnpur police have filed an FIR against Shanta Singh and that complaint has been forwarded to the Manipur police since that is where the violence occurred.

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Hundreds of women in our country face similar if not worse treatments just because they fail to provide dowry. It is one of the worst phenomena that prevails here but unfortunately it still either drives a woman’s family into crushing debt or ends with the husband’s family torturing a woman to a point she is forced to take her own life. Is bring wealth into the husband’s house when you get married to him more important than someone’s life? It’s truly horrifying that even after all these years we have not moved an inch when it comes to age-old ridiculous concepts like dowry.

Suraj Lata Devi is a brave woman. She led a woman’s team to win gold medals at a time when women playing sports was something of a joke to people. We can hope she gets justice for all the harassment she has been subjected to over the years.

More power to you, Suraj Lata Devi!

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