To help people realize their dreams, sacrifices have to be made. To make people achieve their dreams even more sacrifices have to be made. One such man is Manilal Gohil, an auto-rickshaw driver from Ahmedabad. His daughter, Mittal, is a national-level shooter who wants to earn laurels for India, just like Olympic medallists Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore (2004 silver), Abhinav Bindra (2008 gold), Vinay Kumar (2012 silver) and Gagan Narang (2012 bronze). What she needed was a top class rifle, so that she can shoot well with it and start winning more medals and get a chance to represent India internationally. For this end, Manilalbhai, took money from the savings that were kept for his daughter’s wedding and bought her a German rifle worth Rs 5 lakh.
When Manilalbhai and Mittal went together to apply for a license to the local police commissioner, the authorities were surprised that a rickshaw driver had managed to purchase a rifle worth that amount. Fortunately for the Gohils, the police helped them get the required permission and praised Manilal for his efforts. “My father and my family has sacrificed a lot just to fulfill my expensive hobby. After getting this rifle I will work hard to participate in international level and represent our country,” says Mittal, who lives with her parents and two brothers in a chawl in the Gomtipur area of Ahmedabad and has been practicing shooting for four years.
The germination of Mittal’s passion for shooting can be traced back to the day when she passed by the Rifle Club in Ahmedabad, and saw some shooters in action. There and then, something was triggered inside the teenager and she decided that she had to get her hands on a rifle. For a family whose subsistence comes mainly from Manilal’s auto rickshaw driving, this was not a hobby that could be easily afforded. Yet the loving father did not deter his daughter from pursuing shooting, and took her to the rifle club where initially Mittal was provided with a gun for rent.
The Promise & Achievement
Her promise was evident early on. In 2013, despite having minimal practice, Mittal participated in the 57th All-India National Shooting Championships and along with fellow shooters Anju Sharma and Lajja Goswami, she won a bronze medal.
After participating at the national level, her confidence spiked but Mittal found it very hard to arrange for further training and travel without a rifle to her name. It was then that her father and elder brother Jainish began arranging funds to buy her a 50-meter range German firearm. This meant that the money put aside for Mittal’s marriage had to be used. Six months after – no doubt a tough period for the family – the efforts of Manilal and Jainish resulted in Mittal receiving her own rifle and now she can participate in the national tournament in December 2016.
New Rifle Weights 8 kg and each bullet costs Rs 31. She has to buy at least 1000 rounds to participate in any tournament. After buying such an expensive rifle, her family now faces the hurdle of purchasing these bullets.
Shooting was not Mittal’s first passion, interestingly. Her dream was to join the Indian Army, but she was unable could to do so because of her short height. She had also cleared the PSI exam but could not join due to her physical stature. Mittal’s younger brother Mitesh is also trying to establish himself as a pistol shooter.
Orginally published in Times of India