A book based on the real life story of world bodybuilding championship bronze medallist and HIV positive Indian bodybuilder Khundrakpam Pradipkumar who made the world surprised was released at the Press Club of India in New Delhi on Friday.
The book titled ‘I am HIV Positive, so what?’ was written by New Delhi-based journalist Jayanta Kalita who has worked with a number of media organisations and also worked as a Senior Assistant Editor with Times of India and is currently working at The Print. The book published by Bloomsbury depicts the sheer determination and will power of the bodybuilder who overcame the deadly disease AIDS and became a role model of thousands of people afflicted with it. The book can be ordered at www.bloomsbury.com and www.amazon.in. The book release was followed by a discussion titled, ‘Stories from the Margin: A North East Perspective’.
The book depicts ‘incredible story of how an HIV-positive person mended his failing health, overcame psychological trauma, fought stigma and discrimination to become an international bodybuilding champion is told in the pages of this book.
Like legendary basketball player Magic Johnson, Pradip too disclosed his HIV status through the media, not giving a damn about society’s shocked reaction. However, there is something unique in Pradip’s story. While Johnson called it quits after being diagnosed with HIV, Pradip remained undaunted in the face of all odds. He was determined to excel in his chosen field despite warnings from doctors and adverse comments from society. And he went on to win several medals and titles, defeating the virus in his body.
Pradip’s extraordinary courage and sheer determination caught everyone by surprise. He became a role model for people living with HIV in India and other parts of the globe. He was made Brand Ambassador for HIV/AIDS by the Manipur State AIDS Control Society and was roped in by the India chapter of a global non-profit to lead a pan-India HIV awareness campaign from Delhi.
Pradip also took up the cudgels to sensitise people to the ill-effects of drug abuse, to which Manipur is the biggest victim in Northeast India. Given the fact that he contracted the ‘deadly virus’ through sharing of needles, he sincerely appeals to youngsters to say no to drugs.
Pradip has been living with HIV for more than 15 years and continues to be unbelievably strong in mind and body. A true iconoclast, Pradip never gets tired of saying: ‘HIV does not kill people, it’s society that kills HIV positive people’.
Pradipkumar, who was a drug addict during his young days and diagnosed as HIV positive in 2000 won the Mr. Manipur title in men’s 60kg category in 2007. Mr Pradip who contracted the virus from a shared syringe came back strongly using bodybuilding as a medium to reform and turn around his life. He declared his HIV status on the media on 17th December 2007, after winning the Mr Manipur title on 16th December 2007.
He served as brand ambassador of the Manipur State AIDS Control Society, before being roped in by the India chapter of a global non-profit to lead a pan-India HIV awareness campaign from Delhi.
Earlier, a documentary film ‘Mr. India’ centered around the brave-heart story of Khundrakpam Pradipkumar was made by Haobam Paban Kumar in 2009. The film focussed on the early life story of Pradipkumar, social stigma and discrimination he faced afterwards and determination to win bodybuilding titles. The 46.38 minutes long movie was widely acclaimed and screened at the 41st International Film festival of India 2010 in Goa and won the Swarna Kamal Award in the 57th National Film Festival 2009 -10 for the Best Film On Social Issues in non- feature film category. The film was also screened at the Kos International Health Film Festival Ippokratis in Greece in 2010. Paban who made the film along with cameraman Irom Maipak, Avijit Nandy, editor Sankha, production manager Deva Laishram and assistant director T Helendro said that he made the film “to salute the never say die sprit of Pradipkumar”.
Besides the film made by Paban, three more documentary films were also made based on his life. They are ‘Mr India’ by Aribam Shyam Sharma, ‘Meirilakshida’ by ISTV and ‘Challenge’ (Shingnaba) by Orchid Project got National Film award in 2009.
Mr Pradip, son of Kh Kalachand and Kh Mema from Sagolband Khamnam Leirak won silver medal at the 50th Senior Mr India contest 2010 held in Goa. He won the title of South East Asia Bodybuilding Championship 2012 which was held at Ludhiana in Punjab. Later he won bronze medal at the 4th WBPF World Body Building Championship 2012, Bangkok, Thailand. He became the first ever man on planet to win a medal in world bodybuilding championship despite being afflicted with the deadly disease. His achievement was the achievement of mankind. He is now shaping young bodybuilders in Manipur.