Let’s invest in Olympian dreams
India has leaders in abundance but few among them are heroes or role models. The political among them thrive on caste loyalties, pelf and patronage; the Bollywood stars on fantasy, glamour and media glare. It’s in the field of sports that one stumbles on stories of human perseverance, dedication and hard work despite daunting roadblocks.
The medal winners back home from the London Olympics gave India so much to cheer amid despondency. Big cash rewards for them by state governments, the Centre and a host of other thunder-seekers left one wondering where all this money was tucked away when sportspersons now feted as national heroes were preparing for the games. About time that governments in states and at the Centre pushed sports and related activities higher on their list of priorities.
The country needs as many decorated Olympians that it can produce to channel youthful energy in healthy pursuits at a time drug addition, commodity fetish and other self defeating pastimes are weakening precious human resource.
The time isn’t to rest on our oars. The declared goal should be to produce world class athletes beyond the domain of cricket through careful talent-hunts in the countryside, especially the north-east and the tribal belts where violent movements rooted in deep alienation, denial of basic rights and human dislocation are playing havoc with the national fabric. Mary Kom, Vijay Kumar, Sushil Kumar and Yogeshwar Dutt were born poor but have enriched the country like never before. Let’s have more of them. Lets aim at Olympic gold, not merely silver or bronze. India deserves and is capable of much better.