Women’s Day: Former India woman footballer Shanta Dhara sells fish for a living

By: Sujata Sarkar

Kolkata, March 8: Shanta Dhara was the first striker to have scored an all-important goal in the first ever women's football derby between East Bengal and Mohun Bagan in 2001.

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After guiding East Bengal to a lone goal victory 16 years ago, Shanta also struck for Mohun Bagan, scoring against East Bengal in the same derby next year.

Women’s Day: Former India woman footballer Shanta Dhara sells fish for a living

That was her golden period. Shanta continued to represent the senior national team and even Bengal's state team. She shined at both national and international levels for the next ten years. But, never got her share of due.

Both media as well as the football fraternity would have adorned Shanta, if she had been a male footballer.

Today, on the women's day (March 8) this former prolific striker is struggling to make both her ends meet. To survive, for last five years, she is selling fish in the local Howrah market, located near Howrah Railway Station.

Despite having glorified Bengal, as well as India, with several victories, Shanta has not received any job that could help her live properly.

She said, “My parents died when I was only six years old. We were so poor, that I could not go to school. So, I didn't expect that I will land a formidable job. But after having represented the state and the country for so many years, I felt I would be offered a fourth grade job at least."

She said,"The business of selling fish is not mine. The husband of my elder sister is the owner of this business. As I live in their home I do this to help him. Along with the opportunity to live in their home, I receive paltry amount of pocket money by selling fish in the morning."

Even at the age of 36, a depleted Shanta sometimes goes to play masala matches around her district.

She added,"I have lost my birth certificate. So I am not being able to register myself as a footballer in the Indian Football Association (IFA). That is why, I take part in the masala matches to earn some money and contribute to my sister's family."

Amidst the misery Shanta seems optimistic when she said, “I hope the chief minister of our state will do something for me one day. She looks encouraging and tries to help the distressed people."

OneIndia News

Story first published: Wednesday, March 8, 2017, 12:49 [IST]
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