Dhing, Nagaon, Assam: While the ‘Golden Girl’ of Assam is racing against time to bring glory to her nation, Hima Das’ father, Ronjit Das, has to appear for a court hearing on August 28. The reason – Das is fighting a legal battle on behalf of his 18-year-old daughter, whose only fault was that she dared to stand up against some anti-social elements of the area.
Born to a farmer’s family, Hima – who won a silver medal in the women’s 400m final at the ongoing Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Sunday – has her sporting skills deeply rooted, but there is a side of hers which is not known to too many people outside her native place in Dhing, a town located about 150 km from Guwahati.
Apart from lending a helping hand around the house, Hima is often said to be among the first few people to turn up during difficult times. Hima’s father recalls one such incident, which took place in 2016, when Hima, along with some women of the village, took a stand against the illegal sale of country liquor in Kandhulimari.
“There was one family that used to sell liquor illegally at their place. Some women from the village, led by Hima, chose to stand up against the establishment, which eventually led to its closure. However, that didn’t go down well with the owners and, the next day, one of the brothers from the family took to the streets with a red piece of cloth tied around his head. He was daring people to shut his place down,” says Hima’s father.
The incident soon caught Hima’s attention. She went out of her house and confronted him. What started as an argument turned in a brawl. Hima then tied the person to his bike; in the meantime, several other villagers also got involved. On learning about the incident, Hima’s father had no choice but to intervene.
“I rushed to the spot. Hima told me to bash the person up, as he was the one who was selling liquor illegally. However, I asked him to let him go, after which he fled on his bike. He later filed a case against me and a few others, which is still going on. On August 28, while Hima will be gearing up for her next run in Jakarta, I will be in court,” adds Das.
Apart from being a social crusader, very few people will be aware of the fact that Hima also enjoys the little things of life – like helping her father in the fields, for instance.
“Often, she used to bring lunch to the fields. She would love to stand on the chisel plough while drawing the cows across the field. It made her feel like she was piloting a ship. She wouldn’t even let me lift the bags filled with pointed gourds, some of which would weigh a quintal each,” explains Das.
Incidentally, this love for the outdoors gave her mother, Jonali Das, a tough time, especially during Hima’s childhood. “She wouldn’t even rest after coming back from school. There were times when I had to beat her up and lock her inside. However, she would soon find a way out and escape,” says her mother.
Hima’s parents also pointed out to another of Hima’s aspects – love for animals. At home, she has seven dogs, among several other animals, as pets.