By Prashansa Gurung
In January 2016, I visited Sikkim for the very first time. Strange, I know, considering the fact that it’s literally ‘next door’. I have relatives there who welcomed me to their houses and showed me around. My cousin, who is the Gram Pradhan of the western province of Dentam, was responsible for taking a team of young football players to a match in Geyzing. The tournament was organised by the Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) Youth Wing. To me, the game was representative of the general culture of gender equality I had observed in Sikkim, even in a remote hamlet like Geyzing. As the 13th most educated state of India, girls and women here not just have access to education but also enjoy greater mobility – they are shopkeepers, footballers, teachers, coaches, civil officers.
Here are some stunning pictures from the match between Dentam and Soreng.
The team representing Dentam.
The co-ordinators of Dentam Team overlook the field. Stadiums still under construction.
The chief guests and key figures sit under freshly propped observation deck.
A quick warm-up.
And they’re off!
The referees and players wait for the opening ceremony.
Let’s have a good game.
The scoreboard as it stands.
A quick header gives the match a riveting start.
Fighting for ball control.
Striker takes possession.
When you’re on the field and have ‘fans’ giving you advice from the sidelines: “Man on! Man on! Or in this case, woman the post!”
Another successful save.
Another great save.
Prashansa Gurung is a graduate of St. Stephens College, New Delhi, and holds an advanced post-graduate diploma in Journalism and Mass Communication from St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai. In 2011, she co-founded Pictures Against Prejudice – an art exhibition that gives queer artists a platform to present their views and aspirations, and is the director of the viral short film Ek Ladki Anek Ladkiyan. See more of her work here.