Not just playing. After the game, there will be a two-hour spoken English class. But vacation. This is the rule now at SS Girls Hockey Training Center in Simdegar. In this hockey training center of Jharkhand government, 50 players are now taking spoken English classes from 6 to 8 after hockey training.
Simdega in Jharkhand is famous for hockey. Many girls from here have played for the Indian women’s national hockey team. Many have also played in the Olympic Games. Simdega’s daughter Assunta Lakra, Sumrai Teta was the captain of the Indian hockey team. Hailing from the remote village of Simdega, these girls can perform magic with a hockey stick. But when they go to foreign countries to play, they fall behind in talking to other players, coaches from foreign countries. They don’t speak Hindi well. Can’t speak English. According to Manoj Konbargi, General Secretary of SS Girls Hockey Training Center in Simdegar, “These talented girls are often held back due to language problems. Unable to ‘communicate’ with foreign coaches. As a result, it is hindering their personality development. They are suffering from lack of confidence because they can’t speak English. Got a response. About 50 girls enthusiastically attend spoken English classes after hockey training.
Most of the girls from very poor families from the surrounding villages of Simdega are listed as BPL. English is nominally taught in the schools they attend. Apart from that, they often go to other states to play various tournaments. Then the school is over. Manoj Konbargi said that most of these girls speak local tribal languages. Hindi says broken broken. As a result, the language problem is becoming a big problem while playing at the international level.
Deepika Soren, Deepti Kullu, Sangeeta Kumari from Simdegar recently played in National Hockey Games. All of them are now taking spoken English classes. In Deepika’s words, “I could not understand the instructions of coaches from foreign states because I do not know English. They were very upset. Girls who can speak and understand English well would be much better coached than us.” Deepti Kullu says, “When we go to international competitions, our fellow players often make fun of us because of the language problem. We suffer from inferiority. If we can speak English, we will go further.”
The language problem of Jharkhand’s talented hockey players came to the fore in Shahrukh Khan starrer ‘Chawk De India’. The film shows a tribal player from Jharkhand coming to Delhi to be coached by Sui Muay hockey coach Kabir Khan. Sui Mui neither speaks nor understands Hindi. English is not. When asked anything, Sui Mui would just say, “Ho ho.”
Deepika Soren is determined to change that scenario of Chak De India. So English education classes are going on parallel with hockey.