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Sun, 24 Sep 2017

Northeast Today

Oh Women! Thou Make Us Proud

Oh Women! Thou Make Us Proud
September 09
13:12 2017

August Edition, Statewide Sikkim, NET Bureau, Sayantani Deb

Inspired from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision to focus more on the North-eastern region, Union Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry has decided to include success stories of women from the region in NCERT books from the next academic calendar. Subsequently, the council has recently sought the details of two inspirational women of Sikkim—singer Remanti Rai and kick-boxer Susmita Rai. Northeast Today caught up with the duo to know more about them and their work.

Remanti’s Fact Sheet

• On May 16, 2013 Remanti has been conferred with ‘Sikkim Sewa Samman’- highest civilian award of Sikkim

• Won ‘North East Superstar’ in 2011 and judged ‘North East Got Talent- Season 2’

• Presently she owns a music school ‘Remanti Sangeet Academy’ at Gangtok

When Hobby Becomes Career

Born and brought up in Gangtok, Remanti began singing bhajan from the age of 6 while attending Sunday Bal Bikash classes. Gradually she started participating at various competitions and honed her skills as a singer.

“I always carried the aspiration to be a singer and my ambition always remained to be a singer in my friend’s Slam-books,” recalls Remanti.

For Remanti, music was just her hobby till her high school days. However, during her college days she began taking more interest in it and eventually learnt more about music.

“During that time learning music and opting music as a career was quite difficult in Sikkim. But without any formal training and with just a passion for it, I kept my belief alive,” she adds.

Getting candid, she says, “My parents have always been half hearted when it was about music. I believe they were simply becoming like one of those protective and concerned parents who wanted their children to get good education and settle down with government jobs. But the bitter part was that, I was opposite to their expectations as I always wanted to take the roads not taken. It was obviously a big dream for a middle class family girl like me to fulfill the dream and survive being a musician where there was no market.”

Remanti never wanted to give excuse later saying she could not follow her dream just because she had no platform or no formal training, so she began practicing by listening to audio cassettes.

After completing her first year in college, Remanti received an offer from the Nepal Film Industry. She also won the ‘Sikkim Topper’ title at one of the singing competitions of Sikkim and this helped her with references.

“I landed in Kathmandu with huge hopes of setting a step towards my dream. But the journey was not a cake walk. I struggled, recorded many playback songs, but somehow did not find happiness from within. So, I decided to return to India and continue my graduation,” recollects Remanti.

Speaking at length about the music industry of Sikkim, she says, “Sikkim is a simple and peace-loving state. Everyone here is musically concious.”

Sikkim has some sophisticated music studios, yet the singers face difficulties in distribution, marketing and hence most productions are through Youtube.

Speaking about NCERT selection, she says, “I feel honoured at least with this if I can inspire one girl amongst so many readers, I will be the happiest person.”

Knock-Out Punch

Born and brought up in small Bhasmey village under West Pendam constituency of East Sikkim, young Sushmita Rai came to the limelight after winning silver medal in the WAKO Asian Kickboxing Championship, 2015, and bronze medal at the World Martial Arts Masterships in 2016. She is the first kick-boxer from Sikkim to have qualified for international events.

Sushmita’s tryst with martial arts- especially karate- began since her childhood.

“As my financial condition and family background was not good, so I started to give tuitions from an early age to earn some pocket money.”

Speaking about her kickboxing career, she shares, “As everybody knows that martial art is a combat sports so with other sports I started focusing on kickboxing as well.”

Her journey as a kickboxer began in 2005 and simultaneously in 2008 she won her first gold medal at the Northeast Kickboxing Championship held in Gangtok, where she defeated her Manipuri counterpart. And rest, as they say, is history!

In 2016 Sushmita won a bronze medal at the World Martial Arts Masterships held at North Chungcheong Province of South Korea, where over 1,900 athletes and officials from 81 countries participated.

Besides, she is two times silver medalist and one time bronze medalist at Asian championship.

Currently ranked 2nd in her position category at Asian Women’s Kickboxing, Sushmita has also won two silver medals and one bronze medal, apart from winning the state championships for four times.

Speaking about the NCERT selection, she says, “It is a great honour for me to be inducted in the NCERT syllabus.”

For her achievements in the sport, Sushmita has also been awarded with the ‘Hamro Gaurav Award’.

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