Abhinav Bindra wins Gold for 10m shooting in Beijing Olympics. I hope atleast this time, we have more medals. This makes me ponder, why we (indians) dont get enough medals? Well, the question has been raised many times. Many comments have been made too. I would like to try and give my point of view here
In my view a medal dream is too heavy for middle class, and a big chunk of Indian population today is middle class. Not many can really make it due to financial constraints. Only a handful of people who really have the determination and are stubborn even when facing severe financial crisis can take the path of sports (other than cricket) and get to the international arena. Look at the people like Baichang Bhutia, Rajvardhan Singh Rathod, many of our hockey team candidates, some of our wrestlers and weight lifters, Saina Nehwal, Gopi Chand, Anjali Bhagawat, Pankaj Advani etc. These people play the sport because they are completely obsessed with it. They have some benefits ofcourse from the government but compare them to what even mediocre cricketers get, it looks like peanuts. Seriously speaking, there is a huge dearth in the interest in these games. Not that India doesnt have a history in athletics. It is said that our pauranic (pauranic is generally termed to mean mythological but pauranic is a word which means the heros of Hindu puranas like Mahabharatha, Ramayana which according to me are not mythical) heros have been the main inspiration behind the likes of Greek Mythology. Games like Kusthi (wrestling), Kho-Kho, Kabaddi (my friend Pavan tells me that Hitler liked the game Kabaddi very very much. He reportedly called it “the game of men”), bow-and-arrow (read “aim and shoot skills”) were there even during Vedic Times (and thus, our shooters like Bindra, Rana and Bhagawat are so good at shooting), etc., need very good athletic skills and/or concentration. These games are popular in some parts of India even today. All these sports-persons stuck to these sports because they were either passionate or they had the financial security. Most of them tread the path only with their determination. But how many of the middle class in India can do this? Well, I cant quantify but I can surely say that it is not much.
So, what is the way? How to get more medals? Well, according to me, for any individual in our society, self comes first, then the family, then the community, then the village/town/city, then the country. If you look at a BPL (Below Poverty Line) guy, he is still trying to fix his and his family’s troubles. How can one expect him to think any further? If you look at a middle class guy, who is above poverty line, he is almost secure in terms of himself and his family’s finances and thus has the ability to contribute to solve the troubles in village/town/city (this is where the wheel stops to move though. The middle class guy in india today is still in pursuit of money, which the rich guy is looting one way or the other). The only people who are completely free from all these hassles about self and family’s finances are the rich guys.
I keep talking about financial security only because the western way of
thinking has put into an avarage Indian mind the thought that pursuit of wealth
is the pursuit of happiness and thus is the goal of life. The sanatana dharma,
which is fading fast in the country says that pursuit of true devotion is the
pursuit of happiness and thus the goal of human life. It will certainly take a
Swami Vivekananda or the likes to revive this thought in the avarage Indian
What are the kin of a rich indian doing? They are aping the west, roaming around the world, living according as they wish. It is these people who should work towards the solutions of problems in the country. Not that everybody is behaving irresponsibly. Many who come from well-to-do families are pursuing careers in journalism, law, enterprenuership, etc., which deal many-a-time with issues of national importance. But if most of them start doing something for national interest, then there will be a change-for-the-good (read a better nation). For example, a guy like Hrithik Roshan who flaunts his six pack abs has one of the most flexible body. He could have taken it up as a personal objective to bring glory to the nation in gymnastics. Instead he is in Bollywood seeking money and spot light. Not just him, Allu Arjun, Ram Cheran Teja from telugu films, many others in the modeling business, many in the mad lust of money could be very good candidates, only if they have passion to bring glory to the nation. Not just from films, we see so many rich kids floating around in posh cars, pubbing and demanding night life etc. They all can do their part only if they have the passion. Because of their strong financial background, they can always get the best training, if they take it personally. Not that they cant get their investment back all that they invest (even khali made loads of money just by visiting India). Look at some one like Ramesh Krishnan. He took up Tennis because his father Ramanathan Krishnan laid out the platform. He passionately worked towards a very prosperous career. People like him should become the role models to all the rich kids but unfortunately, most of rich kids like some lousy western celebrities, who still dont understand or know India other than Gandhi. The tide will turn surely. The notion of national pride will soon be revived. The realisation of national pride will soon come about.
Once this realization comes about, then there will be some progress in the medals tally for India. Till, then it will be “Despite being and Indian”, as Prudent Indian rightly points out here. I hope this change comes about during my life time.