“What photograph, I have been humiliated by a woman”
Lucknow: Hailing from the village of Johri in the Bagpat district of Uttar Pradesh, Chandro Tomar amazingly broke stereotypes of women remaining indoors.
Tomar,85, a ‘Sharp shooter’ also known as “Shooter Dadi” and “Revolver Dadi” started learning to shoot in 1999. “I was 65 when I fired my first bullet. I took the gun, aimed, fired and it hit the 10,” she said.
Daadi is the oldest (woman) sharpshooter in the world with lots of achievements. “I have won lots of medals, about 100-150,” says Daadi proudly.
Tomar has eight children and 15 grandchildren.
“People used to make fun of me and ask ‘You’re going to play?’. I never took it to heart.I was too busy practicing. ”
She began learning to shoot by chance, when her granddaughter wanted to learn how to shoot at Johri Rifle Club. Her granddaughter was scared to go alone and wanted her grandmother to accompany her. At the range, Tomar took a pistol and start shooting at a target. The club coach, Farooq Pathan, was surprised to see her shoot so skillfully. He suggested her to join the club and get trained to become a shooter, which Tomar did. Her trainer commented: “She has the ultimate skill, a steady hand and a sharp eye.”
She attends the club once a week for shooting practice and otherwise attends to her household chores of cooking, cleaning, tending to cattle and feeding her large family. After dinner is served, she takes up shooting practice at her private range.
Tomar’s niece Seema, also a sharp shooter, was the first Indian woman to win a medal at the Rifle and Pistol World Cup in 2010. Her Granddaughter Shefali Tomar had achieved an international shooter status and taken part in international competitions in Hungary and Germany; both of them credit Tomar for the positive encouragement provided and praised her for advising them.
After two years of training she entered a competition in which she had to compete against the Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Delhi Police. She won the contest but the DIG refused to be photographed with Tomar, and reportedly commented: “What photograph, I have been humiliated by a woman”.
Since 1999, Chandro won 25 national championships throughout India. She won a gold medal at the Veteran Shooting Championship conducted in Chennai. Her success has encouraged the local people to take up shooting as a useful sporting profession, including her granddaughters.