Most of India follows cricket fervently. There are a few, ofcourse, who are fanatics. But most countrymen (and women) truly love cricket. And that is why whenever Team India does not perform well; there is a general gloom across. You walk the streets and there will be a group of retired people comparing Sehwag with Polly Umrigar and hailing the latter’s patience to the former. There will be a batch of auto rickshaw drivers, commenting on Dhoni’s locks (of hair) and lost key to his form. A group of nothings’ will actually show how Sachin should have got out on his front foot and tackled the ball on the rise. Everyone has a point of view. Everyone is an expert. I don’t blame erstwhile cricketers who would have actually played barely 10 tests and a mere 25 international one-day matches, commenting on TV. If a nobody on the streets of India can criticize Sachin, atleast he reached the National Team and played alongside Sachin. (I still despise the ladies on cricket shows, though). I was supposed to write on something else. But I have filled most of the space on cricket. That’s the power of cricket in India.
I was watching TV last night and then saw the newspapers today morning. I saw the pomp and show and the heavy celebrations on India getting their 10th Gold Medal at the 15th Asian Games at Doha, Qatar. What amazed me was not that we stand 5th in overall Medal totals, or that we got fewer Gold Medals than countries smaller than our National Capital Region. I have forgiven our athletes. They just don’t have what it takes to make it big in athletics. We should be awarded the “Fair Play Award” every time. We play to participate. Winning is never our Agenda. But what took me by utter shock were the comments of athletes about the National Athletic Association and their respective Sport Associations? Be it Shooting, Weight Lifting or the simmering differences between the Doubles Tennis players of the country, who at one point were ranked No. 1 in the world? It was sheer disgust that set on me. A country of 100 crores population, fourth largest economy in the world, $ 3.11 trillion GDP (I still don’t know how many zeroes are there in a trillion) and a blind faith on anything that represents the tricolor, how can we fair so badly?
I believe, there is a flaw in our intent. As a nation, we don’t want to be the best. We are happy, content and with a highly selfish mentality kind of people. Why only sports? Why do most IIT and IIM graduates leave for US? Why do biologists and scientists go for “further studies” to Europe? Someone told me there are three kinds of people. One, who will ensure no loss to self, the other may or may not suffer. Second, who will ensure no loss for self, if not a profit, and ensure loss for the other. The third and the best/worst lot is the one who will ensure a bigger loss to the other even in exchange of a lesser loss to self. I could not fathom the difference of three then. Now I do. Our so-called nation loving, innovative thinking and highly focused bureaucratic big wigs are of the third kind. What they don’t realize is that what they consider as “less” personal loss is “national loss”. For them it is a “profitable loss”. They profit, others loose. But at what cost? We don’t loose money, time or efforts alone. We loose faith, patience and mental peace. We loose our dignity.
I don’t think its only we Indians who compare these Medal Tallies and curse people responsible, directly or indirectly. Other countries compare these Tallies and gain confidence event after event, year after year, time and again.
Out intent strengthens theirs.