Vandana Katariya plays for Indian hockey team

Caste, ethnicity, religion – United colours of Indian hockey prove the game thrives in inclusivity: Shekhar Gupta

(Shekhar Gupta is the editor-in-chief of The Print. The column first appeared in The Print on August 7, 2021)


  • On the day the Indian women’s hockey team lost the Tokyo Olympics semi-final to Argentina, two men hit the headlines for creating a shameful nuisance of a ‘celebration’ around the home of Vandana Katariya, among the deadliest strikers on display at the Olympics. She also scored the first ever Olympic hat-trick for Indian women’s hockey, in the crucial league match against South Africa that took India to semi-finals. Why the ugly ‘celebration’ then? Because the men were supposedly upper caste and Vandana comes from a Dalit family. There was also buzz coming out of local media reports that this ugliness was owing to the fact that the women’s hockey team had too many Dalits etc. It is easy and safe to call this a national embarrassment, ask for strict action against the vandals — although Vandana’s brother has been quoted as saying that officers at the police station were not paying attention to his complaints…

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