Kolkata, Mar 17 (ANI): The poverty-stricken, unemployed youth of the Bagdi Para slum in Kolkata have found a way out from a life of crime, drudgery and anonymity through boxing.
A decade ago, former national boxing champion Tapan Kumar Basu, set up a boxing ring at the nearby Shibpur Police Lines, where young boys between the age of 10and 25 were given training every evening.
"This area is a disturbed area. The boys here - both Bengalis and non-Bengalis - are taking to the wrong life. Eve teasing, murders, black-marketeering and a host of other anti-social activities took place here. Then I thought through boxing they could find new direction, reach a good place, fight and establish themselves in life. That's why we started boxing here," said Basu.
Over the years, about 70 youths have found employment through boxing, and many have become state-level and national-level pugilists. Every third house in the slum has a boxer in the family now.
"I'm playing here for past three years. Yes, we have benefited from boxing, we have learnt discipline from our trainers. At this age we are lured to crimes, but after getting training, we have found new opportunities. We are getting chance to play at the national-level also," said Joginder, a boxer.
The Bagdi Para slum houses over 300 families and most of the men work as daily tea-sellers, labourers or as cleaners and sweepers at the Municipal Corporation.
Though there have been small sponsors for boxing kits, travel etc, lack of proper infrastructure and diet are the two main concerns for talented young boxers of Bagdi Para now. (ANI)