Tribune News Service
Jalandhar, September 20
On August 31 last month, Kusum Kumari, a 15-year-old girl made headlines all across the nation with her act of bravery. She not only gave a befitting reply to two miscreants who tried to steal her phone, but also got her phone back, eventually leading to their arrest. While people from all over the country were praising her courage to fight back snatchers, despite being attacked several times, she said, the spunk to defend herself was instilled in her through the martial arts techniques that she learnt from her coach at school.
As a consequence of Kusum’s fearlessness, her coach, Vishal Kumar is now providing free self-defence training to meritorious and under-privileged girls. He says after he learnt about Kusum taking down two snatchers, just because she thought that she could fight back and save herself, he couldn’t imagine the entire episode.
“After I watched the video of the entire incident, I was surprised. I couldn’t believe Kusum would do it, as she never attended martial arts classes at the school. As she was afraid of me, she used to watch self-defence sessions through windows of the practice hall. Hiding herself from everyone, she apparently learnt the most precious lesson. Before making students learn self-defence techniques, I focus primarily on getting the fear out of them. Coping with our fears is the first and the basic step prior to mastering self-defense. Kusum did the same. When she was at the hospital, healing from her injuries, she told me that she wasn’t scared at all while fighting snatchers. It pushed me to train more and more people, especially girls, who were exposed to several crimes,” said Vishal.
A physical education teacher at Lala Jagat Narain School, Vishal started his self-defense classes at Sewa Sadan in Mahiran gate.
“After taking the permission from my school authorities, I started training children recently. My aim is to train a large number of people in self-defence and martial arts. I wanted to empower them to defend themselves, their friends and family from any kind of abuse or attack,” said Vishal.
People of all age groups are welcome to take classes and women are also offered free yoga sessions at the Sewa Sadan. The classes are conducted in morning and evening sessions. Due to the spread of Covid-19, proper care is also being taken in classes. “Though we are charging nominal fee from those who can pay, to bear the infrastructure expenses, meritorious girls are being offered free classes. As we are aware of the background of the children, we don’t insist that they practice their lessons wearing traditional karate robes. They are only asked to wear comfortable clothes. My previous students, who took training from me also instruct and motivate children for self-defence,” Vishal said.
Kusum nominated for National Bravery Award
Jalandhar: To ensure national honour to the 15-year old braveheart Kusum, Jalandhar Deputy Commissioner Ghanshyam Thori has sent her name for the national bravery award that is given by the Indian Council for Child Welfare every year to honour exemplary acts of bravery. The council recognises a few acts of bravery every year based on recommendations made by district magistrates after due analysis. This year, Kusum’s name was sent by the administration for the award, as she foiled a snatching attempt despite sustaining injuries and took down one of the snatchers. Thori said Kusum has become an idol for girls and deserves a special recognition for her act of bravery. He said the district administration had already honoured her with financial assistance for study and an appreciation letter. Notably, Kusum, a student of Class VIII from Lala Jagat Narayan DAV Model School, on August 30, 2020, faced two bike-borne snatchers, who tried to snatch her mobile phone, which was given to her by her brother to attend online classes. The snatchers attacked her with a sharp weapon injuring Kusum’s wrist.