Former para-shooter Dilraj Kaur during her shooting career, won 26 gold, 6 silver and 3 bronze models at the national level. But after retirement from sports, she is selling snacks in Dehradun to survive.
The former athlete does not even have a shop of her own. She works at a temporary make shift stall to run the family.
When Kaur set foot in the field of shooting, no girls could be seen anywhere close to the sport. Her medal-laden career started in 2004 when she was the first woman para-shooter in the country. But since 2019, life has not been great on her. She lost her father as well as brother, and was forced to work as a vendor, as her family was on the verge financial crisis.
“We have lost almost everything my father, brother, and my career, almost. But my family will never give up. We don’t mind selling things on the streets. We will do anything because no work is small,” says Dilraj.
Gurdeep Kaur, her mother, was an active participant in the movement for Uttarakhand’s statehood. “I had a job offer which I declined on the condition that the job will be provided to my daughter. There was an enabling provision, but nothing of the sort happened,” says Gurdeep.
The family sold their permanent house for the treatment of her brother and father, but to no avail, as both lost their lives. They shifted to rented accommodation but the mounting debts forced her mother to take up stitching.
She also took the job as a vendor to ease their situation.
Dilraj, who represented India in the International Paralympic Committee World Cup in 2015 and officiated in several selection committees as well as shooting competitions, is now hopeful of finding some peace in her life.