Do you know Archana Singh who said ‘Kyunki mere paas maan hai…’?

by Ana Lopez

Cover Story – Geeta Manek

Cricket buffs in general have complete biographies of some cricketers and
If many of those who know how many runs or wickets she has taken in any match had been asked a fortnight ago who is Archana Devi? So most of the people would be watching with open mouth because Archana Devi is a woman cricketer.
Today, even in cities, most educated parents do not take a girl’s passion for sports very seriously and do not encourage them. Archana, who lives in Rataipurwa, a small village in Uttar Pradesh’s Unawa district, has become the star of the Indian women’s cricket team, which she credits to her mother. She is a member of the cricket team that recently won the Women’s Under-19 World Cup against England and made India the champion.
It is a truth of the twenty-first century that women have to struggle many times more than men in any field. Archana Devi, who lives in the villages of Uttar Pradesh, has also faced many struggles and has risen to the top among Indian women cricketers.
Her father Shivram died of cancer when Archana was young. The father left behind three small children and a mountain of debt. Archana’s brother Budhiman died nine years after his father’s death. Due to this, the villagers started calling Archana’s mother ‘witch’. Archana’s mother, Savitri Devi Singh, was beaten by the villagers that first she got fed up with the bridegroom and then killed her own son.
The death of Savitri’s son and Archana’s younger brother Budhiman was a tragic accident. When father Shivram was alive, he had constructed a room next to the house, but he died before its construction was completed. The family did not have the money to construct this unfinished room and the room remained unbuilt. One day, Archana was playing cricket with her brother Budhiman, one year younger than her. He hit the ball hard and the ball went into the empty room. Budhiman went to get the ball and the cobra snake sitting there bit him. Budhiman died within a few hours but before dying he took a promise from his mother that, ‘Mother, send Archana to play cricket.’
On her deathbed, Savitri Devi decided to fulfill her promise to her son, but it was not that easy either. He decided to put his daughter Archana, who was crazy about cricket, in a boarding school so that she could fulfill her passion for cricket and make a career in it. When Archana was dropped off at a girls’ boarding school in Moradabad, 345 km from home, the villagers started saying that Savitri had sold her daughter for a few rupees. All these things were said by the villagers not behind Savitri’s back, but on her lips. Not only that, but if Savitri was coming from the opposite direction, the villagers used to change the route.
On the one hand, despite the hardships and crushing poverty of the villagers, Savitri completed the graduation of the eldest son Rohit and continued to support Archana to become a cricketer. The family has agricultural land on the banks of river Ganga but most of the time the water of Ganga enters it due to which no crops can be grown in it. They have a cow and a buffalo whose milk Savitri encourages her daughter by selling milk and doing odd jobs.
The archana for which the villagers used to beat Savitri so much, the same villagers gathered to watch the match on TV in her house on the day of the Under-19 World Cup match. Savitri’s house was so crowded to watch the match that there was no place to sit.
However, apart from her mother, her coach Poonam Gupta also played a major role in Archana’s journey to reach the pinnacle of success. Poonam Gupta, who prepares women cricketers at Archana’s school, was overwhelmed when she saw Archana playing cricket. He recorded a video of Archana playing cricket and sent it to Indian cricket coach Kuldeep Yadav. Seeing that video, Kuldeep Yadav was so impressed that he invited Archana to Kanpur.
He assured that he would bear all the expenses incurred for Archana’s training. After watching Archana’s video and then playing, Kuldeep Yadav realized that this girl has the potential to be a top cricketer and if she plays for India, she will make the country famous.
Kuldeep Yadav was so confident in Archana’s abilities that once he was in a car with her and asked, ‘Kuldeep bhaiya, which car is this?’ Then Kuldeep replied that one day because of your game
When you get a better car as a gift, I need to take you for a spin.
Kuldeep Yadav
The predicted future proved true recently. In the ICC U-19 T20 World Cup, Archana took 2 wickets for just six runs in four overs and became the man (actually woman) of the match.
Archana gives the credit of her success to Poonam Gupta and Kuldeep Yadav, but she gives the first success to her faith. He says, ‘I could do all this because mere paas ma hai’.

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