NEW DELHI: She was the first amputee to climb Mount Everest. But she has found herself unable to scale stigma and gain entry into a temple. Arunima Sinha says she was even mocked for her disability at the famed Mahakal Temple in Ujjain.
Apparently, the refusal of the temple authorities was over the clothes she was wearing. And what was she wearing that they found ‘inappropriate’? A tracksuit.
Sinha took to Twitter to recount her torrid experience and tagged the handles of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. “I am very sorry to tell you that I felt greater pain in visiting Mahakal temple than scaling the Everest. My disability was mocked at there (at Mahakal),” her tweet read.
मुझे आपको ये बताते हुए बहुत दुःख है की मुझे Everest जाने में इतना दुःख नहीं हुआ जीतना मुझे महाकाल मंदिर उज्जैन में हुआ वहाँ मेरी दिव्यंगता का मज़ाक़ बना ।
— Arunima Sinha (@sinha_arunima) December 25, 2017
She recounted her experience in detail. "The incident took place on December 24, 2017. Authorities at Ujjain's Mahakal Temple refused to let me enter the main shrine, saying I cannot enter in these clothes. I was dressed the way I am dressed right now, in a jacket and lowers," Sinha told news agency ANI.
"I tried to explain, even showed them that one of my legs is artificial. But they said 'aap jaise bahut aate hain yahan' (there are many like you who come here),” she said.
“I saw a man exiting the shrine wearing jeans. If he can do that why can't I? I had tears in my eyes. Women's clothes shouldn't be made into an issue this way," Sinha added.
I tried to explain, ( at Ujjain's Mahakal Temple) even showed them that one of my leg is artificial but they said 'aap jaise bahut aate hain yahan'. I had tears in my eyes. Women's clothes shouldn't be made into an issue this way :Arunima Sinha, amputee who scaled Mount Everest pic.twitter.com/b4r8Q1ktsd
— ANI (@ANI) December 26, 2017
Arunima Sinha is by no means an unknown sportsperson. Her life and unending fight have inspired a biopic, with Bollywood star Kangana Ranaut slated to play her.
And, her treatment at the hands of temple officials has not gone unnoticed. Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Bhupendra Singh responded to her tweet.
"You are the pride of India and you are welcome in Ujjain," he tweeted, adding that he had asked the district administration to inquire into the matter.
@sinha_arunima जी आपके साथ महाकाल मंदिर में हुए व्यवहार के बारे में जानकर अफसोस हुआ।जिला प्रशासन को पूरे घटनाक्रम की जाँच के निर्देश दे दिए गए हैं।मप्र सरकार दिव्यांगों के प्रति पूरी तरह संवेदनशील है।आप देश का गौरव हैं, भगवान महाकाल की नगरी उज्जैन में आपका स्वागत है। https://t.co/DQw2Z8wkgz
— Bhupendra Singh (@bhupendrasingho) December 25, 2017
Arunima Sinha’s story is truly one of guts and life warrior spirit. Six years ago, she had been pushed out of a running train while resisting a robbery. Her leg was amputated in the complications that followed.
At the time of the attack and her amputation, Sinha was a national level volleyball player at that time.
None of this, however, did anything to stop her. Sinha made a reality of her dream on May 21, 2013. She hoisted the Tricolour on top of Mount Everest, after a 52-day climb to the top of the world.
Not just Everest, Sinha has also scaled the Kilimanjaro in Africa, Elbrus in Europe, Kosciuszko in Australia, Aconcagua in Argentina and Puncak Jaya in Indonesia.
(With Agency inputs)