23 June, 2021

They Lit The Torch, Caste Aside Darkness

Meet the Fab Fifty—the trailblazers who have given voice and identity to millions of Dalits in a country rife with caste prejudice and discrimination

They Lit The Torch, Caste Aside Darkness

Photograph by PTI

Hima Das Athlete

As a young girl in a small village in Assam, Hima Das once scribbled A-D-I-D-A-S on her low-cost running shoes that her father could only afford. Now she wears custom-made shoes with her name inscribed on them, made by the same German sports equipment company. The lanky sprinter—nicknamed the ‘Dhing Express’ after the small town near her village—is now among India’s top ­athletes, a rare sporting talent in a discipline few in India dare to pursue. Her gold medal winning run in the women’s 400-metre final at the World U-20 Championships 2018 in Finland put her on the path to instant stardom and is now part of India’s sporting folklore. At 21, she may not have many more years in the...

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