An octogenarian pulling her ghoonghat to cover her forehead and adjusting her lehenga before hitting the bull’s eye is a strange view for many. But, someone has done it in India. An elderly woman with a heart of gold and mind as strong as steel became the one of the world’s oldest sharpshooters.
Who are we talking about?
It’s none other than, Prakashi Tomar, Revolver Dadi.
Prakashi Tomar is one of the oldest sharpshooters with a firm voice and lots of energy. She is famously known as Revolver Dadi hailing from Johri village of Baghpat district in Uttar Pradesh.
Prakashi Tomar – Marriage and Family
Prakashi Tomar was born on January 1st, 1937 in Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh, India. She is married to Jai Singh.
Prakashi has eight children and twenty grandchildren. Among all children, they have a daughter named Seema Tomar who is also an international shooter. Ruby, her granddaughter serves the country as an inspector in Punjab Police. Rekha, her second daughter took retirement as a shooter.
Prakashi Tomar – How She Started Shooting?
Prakashi Tomar stepped into her career in 1999. Seema Tomar, her daughter was not confident to attend rifle training at Johri Rifle Club. So, Prakashi accompanied her so that she regains her confidence and learn how to shoot. Coach Farooq Pathan was astonished to see Prakashi shot a target perfectly while showing Seema the way to grip a gun.
Seeing Prakashi’s outstanding skill, Pathan asked her to join Johri Rifle Club. She never turned back after that.
The master shooter used to practice shooting secretly. She said, “We belong to a conservative joint family, it was impossible to step out of home. Moreover, we feared of being ridiculed by the elders of our village.” Chandro Tomar, her sister-in-law and shooting partner used to practice with her.
According to Prakashi, she first used to finish her household tasks. During night, she used to hold a jug full of water in a room for strengthening her wrists and improving her grip. There are many anecdotes singing the unmatched bravery of two shooter Dadis. People started praising their gun slinging stunts.
After passing a couple of years in shooting practice, Prakashi Tomar defeated a deputy superintendent of police in a rifle shoot face off. The DIG became so overwhelmed that he refused to click a picture with Tomar Dadi. He thought it as a humiliation and said, “What photograph, I have been humiliated by a woman.” Later, Prakashi said, “But he did agree at the behest of villagers and I still have the picture at home.”
Prakashi Tomar – Success Story
Prakashi’s journey was not a planned one, rather she unexpectedly stepped in the world of shooting. But, little did Prakashi know that her dedication, willpower, devoted practice and intelligence would take her to great heights. She is a woman who doesn’t know how to give up. She is a true fighter who won over the patriarchal chauvinism with her sheer talent at an age when other women used to retire from work and take rest.
Many medals, trophies, awards, and social honours greeted Prakashi.
In collaboration with Facebook, a campaign named #100Women_Achievers in India was launched and Tomar was selected in it. The campaign was about women who were unstoppable in their respective field and hugely contributed to their community as well as the entire nation building.
She made headlines in the year 2000 in all regional and national media.
It was 22 January, 2016 when Pranab Mukherjee felicitated Prakashi Tomar at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Prakashi Tomar – Awards and Achievements
- She bagged more than 25 national and international medals.
- The then honourable President of India, Pranab Mukherjee awarded her Stree Shakti Puraskar.
- She became the first woman who won a UP State Gold Medal in The Veteran Category.
- The Ministry of Women and Child Development greeted her with the prestigious Icon Lady award in 2017.
Prakashi Tomar – Biopic
A biopic was made on two octogenarian shooter Dadis who are none other than Prakashi Tomar herself and Chandro Tomar. The name of the Bollywood movie is ‘Saand Ki Aankh’. It has become a massive hit and a typically inspirational movie for all, especially women who are confined in home amidst household chores and lots of children and grand-children. Tushar Hiranandani directed the film with Taapsee Pannu and Bhumi Pednekar in lead roles.
In the movie trailer, we saw a scene where the coach saw Prakashi and Chandro sling perfect shots and hit the bull’s eye. He asked them in amusement what they eat in breakfast on which Taapsee Pannu aka Prakashi replies, ‘Gaali’ which means insult.
Yes, in reality, that was their life where they were pressed hard by the male domination for 24/7. Once Prakashi revealed that their extremely tough household chores, farming, working in fields, milking cows, etc. have given them the core strength needed to hold heavy weighted rifles at that age.
The 82-year-old sharpshooter remarked, “When you milk five cows every day and work in the fields, you will instantly develop the power to hold and fire a gun, and honestly we have been doing it for years.”
What Makes Prakashi Tomar – The SuperHer?
Prakashi Tomar was uprightly right when she said in front of a large audience in the event of Shift Series, “Women empowerment is really required in rural India. By choosing this unique sport, difficult for our conservative society to accept, I fought for it.”
The dadi-duos’ achievement brought many positive transformations in Johri village. They became the source of confidence, motivation and inspiration for other girls and women in that village. Their daughters gained courage by seeing their success and joined the association.
According to Neetu Sheoran, the only coach of Sports Authority of India since 2007 in Johri range,“Because of the dadis, families felt safe and relented when their daughters asked to join the association. The publicity they get still motivates Johri’s youth.”
Now, 84-year old Prakashi dadi strongly believe that girls are equal to boys and shouldn’t be restricted at home.
Prakashi Tomar , Revolver Dadi, inspired and educated millions of people who are now letting their daughters shine and achieve success. In regards, Chandro Tomar truly hits the bull’s eye when she directly said to ANI, “Daughters are not meant to be caged inside the house.” To end with Prakashi’s verdict, “The movie, Saand Ki Aankh, will encourage every girl who wants to be a shooter, a doctor or anything.”
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