Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Child's Play?

today, we indians are proud when we read that abhinav bhindra has won a gold medal in the beijing olympics. but how much has india contributed to his success. it is a matter of great pride for us, isn't it. and if he had lost, we will have our dailies speaking a different story then.

'spectators', thats what we are; a bunch of responsive irresponsible dumb spectators. why dumb? because, we just croak and chunter... we appreciate, criticize and forget. we react, we never act. look at the state of affairs of health facilities. it will make even the most optimistic person weep in spiritlessness.

when madhu sapre was asked the prize winning question "if you win miss universe, what will you like to do with the prize money" (not exactly the verbatim) in the 1992 miss unioverse paegent. prompt came the reply with an accent "i will build big big stadiums in india". many of us made fun of her for she let loose the athlete in her.she didn’t play to the gallery. she didnt speak about mother nature and mother teresa and world peace. but now. look at our hypocrisy. we want big big stadiums and want to host big big matches as that will get us big big sponsors and make big big paisas. facilities for budding talents. fohhgettt it! her concern was genuine. our concern: with an ulterior motive with "no" social welfare in mind.

the big question today is… are we really working towards producing gold medals like other countries that are amassing medals after medals? actually, we are a bunch who like to just lounge around in glorified ├ętude.

a friend of mine who visited a sports school in pune was irate, really irate when he spoke to me about the sports school. i did believe him, for there is no smoke without fire. but i thought he was just overreacting. he asked me to blog about it. but how could i speak about something that is till now just hearsay. so i quickly called up some punewaasi’s and confirmed the issue. still unconvinced. i visited the place too. and i was zapped. zapped at the state of affairs. “is this how we treat our sports people?” i asked myself. in shame, immense shame, i hung my head down.

i am referring to the international standard stadium that’s being built near pune in balwadi. crores of rupees have been spent to build various stadiums, and also hotels that crop up very gleefully to capitalize on the need of our celebrity sportspersons for 5-star hospitality. these sportspersons are expected to assemble for the ensuing commonwealth youth games at balwadi. but where do “our” budding sports persons stand?

the sportschildren who have been admitted to the balwadi sports school, today, don’t have nutritious food. even drinking water for them is a luxury. i was a witness to an abysmal sight when i saw this big long queue of small children who had come from various parts of the state, waiting with buckets in their hands awaiting the messiah - the water tanker. i tried to investigate with some people there (id not like to name them) and they confirmed that the kids don’t have adequate water to drink, leave alone water for other facilities like toilet, wash and bath.

and no, this was and is not some fleeting quotidian that will phase off. it is a part of their everydayness. it has been so. and so it will be if no one speaks up.

now you will ask, why is there no hue and cry, why there is no voice raised. well, by nature, we all are followers. we prefer to join the troupe rather than leading it. some do choose to lead. but that someone has not hopped and happed to this institution. what are the consequences that one might face if s/he raises h er/is voice? it is exactly what happens to a student when he complains to his teacher in school. s/he is picked up. pinched. allegations are made. h er/is performance is judged unsatisfactory and is finally shown the door.

though it is wrong to generalize, i am cocksure that there might be many places in india with similar wretched state of affairs. “yeh hai, india meri jaan”. how do we expect even a bronze medal with such a sorry state (gold toh door ki baat) can the organizers, the sports ministers... give and explanation? its my india. its my taxes. i have the right to ask. and i will.

is all the money going to corrupt officials? this one is for those ministers and the toli of shameless officials. oye! don’t tell me that there’s no corruption. don’t try to bamboozle us to believe what isn’t, do something about what is, rather than wasting your energy rebutting and clearing up. show us in action. for the world knows that your words have no meaning. there certainly are many who have filled their pockets. and we know that.

very often statistics are provided about the amount spent on each child. how much of genuineness there is in these? no one knows. you can always add a couple of zeros here and there. well, i wouldn’t mind you filling your pockets too, just that if you take 25 paise show us that you have spent the rest 75 paise “really” to encourage a child to play.

nay. i dont feel they will even head to an "allegation" like this, and if they do respond they will, but in the negative.

are you with me at this prognostication?



Kris Bass said...

Honestly, this is the hypocrisy that we live in. No one really cares for it and that excludes the minority like you.

What we can do is to simply wait and wait until things do turn around.

sanjuayyar said...

agree to most of the things you say. but the fuck up is that we, as a society, are not keen to be the change. we love to surrender to the system and adapt to it rather than challenge it. "who's got the time?" is what we think. i am surprised that despite all these, we have won 3 medals.

rohit said...

Yes i strongly believe that our sports, corporate & educational development is suffering because of our improper, corruptive & disruptive govt.
we really cant comment that we will be or will not be a developed country in coming some years or decade so..
we really need few more people like " Mr. Abdul Kalam " in our political scenario who can bring some uniqueness to our country..

Lets hope for BEst !!
Jai Hind

Kush said...

Very thoughtful indeed and I honestly appreciate your passion, drive and involvement.

But before I say more, I am also a little disappointed reading comments made already by others to your post. It just reconfirms the complacency and fatalistic mindest of the majority. Too bad but thank God! for people like yourself who are challenging it at different levels.

In fact, I too hate it when:
1.People look for role models instead of becoming one.
2.People wait for things to turn around instead of taking self-action.
3.People think of hope in the most hopeless manner instead building up on optimism.

I am afraid I don't know the specifics of the matter that you've discussed. But in abstraction, I think to bring about any positive change, the need of the hour is to:
1. Document the wrongs in the system well to be able to know it inside-out.
2. This can also allow for activists like you and me to form a structured argument based on facts rather than fiction/emotion.
3. Most importantly, "description" (knowing what is) before "prescription" (knowing what should be) can be a more effective strategy.
4. Finally, networking helps in spreading the word and gathering support. Our blogs are effective means for that and in today's time and age, they could become another "We the People" - a portal for meaningful conversation.

So count on your "blogdosts" and let the action take centerstage.

In solidarity!

Anonymous said...

This is state of every developing/undeveloped nation. We talk more, do less. We try to make everything ours. We do everything to prevent others from reaching the heights (if i can't, why should he?)
I wonder sometimes, why we become like this?

Anyway You tried to make your point heard. And i guess thats what matter. May be they will hear you someday... may be....

Anonymous said...

Are you really serious about this?!

With the commonwealth around the corner too!

I shudder to imagine what our prisons would be like!

ek-ladki-anjaani-si said...

Only the skeptics laughed at Sapre'. I remember watching it, and remember saying, now this is a geniune answer. The rest preached world peace, and what not, this one said something that was a realistic expectation. And, you know what, had she won, she would have! She didn't thus we have schools like you mention above.

When has sports been given a priority in desi mentality? As far as I am concerned, for the last 25yrs of watching family here and in India, all I see is parents pushing children to become a "doctor" or an "engineer." Yes this happened to my brother in 1984 when he was only 17 and forced to take his PMT in India. Or it happened to my cousin here in Chicago only 5yrs ago when she wanted to go into theatrics and was forced into taking the MCATs.

Bro had played Badminton and Cricket at the state level, yet he was forced to take admission in Jaipur's Medical College. Today, he is a very successful doctor in Chicago. But not a single week goes by when he wishes he could have done something else. Today, he wished he could drive an 18-wheeler truck! The Idiot!

Cousin, well she graduated and is now doing a residency in surgery also in Chicago. Also, not a single month goes by when she calls me emotionally broken (almost on the verge of a nervous break down) questioning me what the hell she is doing. She goes to therapy every week!

So, the point being, sports never was given any importance, thus I feel these schools are just for namesake. Else, I don't forsee any future... When the mentality changes on sports, will the situation change.... Sports Ministry - DO NOTE!

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