Extreme Poverty to ‘Prosperity’: Unique Case of Indian weight-lifter Achinta Shewli

 Because of poverty many families and many youths in our country could not reach the zenith albeit they have potential. . Regarding poverty, I wish to mention that John Boyd Orr, the first Director-General of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)   used the calorie concept to explain poverty which was the minimum value of foods a human being required to sustain a good life. In India, poverty has been defined based on a minimum daily requirement of 2,400 and 2,100 calories for an adult in rural and urban areas, respectively which subsequently has been converted to income earning.

Here, I am presenting a case of a youth who in spite of living in extreme poverty has reached the zenith because of strong dedication, devotion, and sincerity.

Achinta Shewli of West Bengal (resident of Howrah) brought gold to the country in the Commonwealth Games but in his childhood in weight-lifting but he passed awful days because of extreme poverty. Arranging good food, particularly protein food was a dream for the families. It is fact that in general Bengali people irrespective of caste or religion eat non-vegetarian items like fish, chicken, mutton, and egg. In childhood eating, the non-veg item was a dream​ for Achinta. His father was a rickshaw van driver earning a paltry amount and unfortunately, his father passed away in April 2013 (38 years age) when Achinta was just 11 years old. After the death of the father, the two brothers Alok and Achinta helped the mother with the lace work. Both the brothers dreamed of becoming weightlifters. But it was not easy to dream where they had to fight to get two meals.  After his father’s death, his grandfather did everything for them. 

​According to him, the goal is to get a medal at the 2024 Paris Olympics and the Commonwealth Games medal will give Achinta confidence to get the same. It may be mentioned that Achinta’s brother Alok told Anandabazar Online, “One day when I was a child, my brother was crying because he wanted to eat chicken -​meat. But later on at that age, he understood the financial condition of the house. After that, he did not cry.”

Achinta’s coach Ashtam Das said, “I had many players who were physically better than Achinta, but they did not have the hunger for sports, which I saw in Achinta.” Achinta’s coach Ashtam Das left his BSF job to train potential weight-lifters. In view of his financial condition, he trained him free of cost. 

Achinta Shewli started weightlifting in the year 2011, admiring his brother who was also a former Weightlifter. Ashtam Das admitted him to the Army Sports Institution in Pune. Since then Achinta’s studies and sports have been going on there. He got a job in the army last year 2021). It seems Ashtam Das spent his personal money on the development of weight lifters but the State Government did not extend any support for the infrastructure development of the ‘practicing center’ although everyone knows the State Government has been spending huge money on much unproductive expenditure. So, I suggest to the State Government please look into such issues as such expenditure is known as ‘Development Expenditure’ i.e. development for human resource.

(Basic inputs collected mainly from two editions of Anandabazar Patrika (Bengali editions), Kolkata, 1/8/22 and 2/8/22)

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