Tag Archives: India

Why Olympic Medal is more a dream than a reality for India

I was so keen to write this article; especially after Shobha De’s disgraceful remark on Indian athletes; but I decided to wait as I wanted the Olympics to be over first. Frankly, it does not make sense to postmortem something which is still active. Rather, let it get over, and then analyze on what could have been better.

Today is the last day of Rio Olympics, 2016. Till now, India has won 2 medals; one silver by PV Sindhu, and One Bronze by Sakshi Malik. Last day on 21st, I hope India will win some more; but honestly it doesn’t change the fact that out of 117 total athletes sent; largest delegation so far; we manage to get only 2 medals. It’s a shame.

If you are an Indian who is trying to convince yourself that Indian athletes are competing against so many odds and winning 2 medals is enough; then you should be really ashamed to undermine India.

No, I am not trying to be Shobha De here. Could never be. She is a disgrace. Every athlete who has made it to Olympics deserves respect and much more. I just want to put emphasis on why we Indians who are 1.2 billion in number, could manage to grab only 2 medals in a world level competing event.

Some of the comments that I have seen/heard from our expert panel of Olympic specialists on Facebook, are – Indian government offer no infrastructure to its players; Indian government does not pay enough money to its players; government is doing nothing to help create good Olympic players. Players live in poverty. There is no money after their sports life. There is no career for these players. Etc.

Honestly, some of this is true. But, only some of it. Problem is we do not see the big picture. When we say India is not providing good infrastructure to its players, we compare India with UK and USA. How can we ignore the countries like, Jamaica, Kenya, Netherlands, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, North Korea, Azerbaijan (I never heard of it before, my poor GK to blame), Ethiopia, Vietnam, Kosovo, Tajikistan, Malaysia, Lithuania, etc. They all are above us in the tally of Olympic medals, and if not all, then some of these countries are not as developed as we proudly boast about India. Mera Bharat Mahan.

Just for the sake of it, let us assume, that these countries are giving their players some extra support which India does not manage to provide just yet. Isn’t it shameful too?

Let’s not compare ourselves to these countries; so let’s go with the one on top – USA.

Do you know that there is no federal support for US Olympians? There is no sports ministry in US government. There is a non-profit corporation called US Olympic Committee, which manages Olympic programs and players. They are solely depended on generosity of American people and corporations for all their funding. They receive nothing from government, unlike other countries.

If you think that American players don’t need money, or they must be super rich. Then also you are wrong. There is one Michael Phelps or Simone Biles, who are earning in billions through endorsements; but you will find many athletes who work hard whole year and didn’t make it to top team, or just didn’t win any medals. Main income of these players is through endorsements. If your game is not popular, and you are not winning medals; you will get no endorsements, so no money. Most of the players are funded by family or friends, local businesses, or through crowdfunding. Some are given stipend by USOC. But, most of them who did not receive any funding; they have to do part-time jobs.

Gwen Jorgensen, I saw her Triathlon yesterday, she was an accountant. Jared Frayer, wrestler, is a coach. Jazmine Fenlator, diver, is a dog walker. Kerron Clement, Hurdler, do modeling. Emil Milev, shooter, is a teacher. Jonathan Cheever, snowboarder, is a plumber. Taylor Fletcher, Skier, is a waiter. Most of them are not coming from rich background. They come from families like mine and yours. Families who have gone bankrupt in order to support expenses of sports equipment and travel needs of players.  These players either do part time jobs, or are totally dependent on their family support. Life is not rosy even for USA Olympic athletes.

US government do give bonus to its medal winner. It is around $25K, $15K, and $10K respectively for Gold, silver and bronze winners. They also deduct heavy tax on these medals.

However, latest that I have heard is that Indian Government is giving 75Lakhs to Gold, and 50L to Silver winners. State government’s  gifts and other endorsements are an added bonus.

If you win a medal, you will get endorsements and gifts, just like athletes from other countries get. If you don’t get a medal but still stand out in an event; like Deepa Karmakar; you may still get good endorsements. But, what attracts these players the most other than playing for their country and winning medals and cash prizes, is a government job.

Indian government do spend less money when it comes to sports; but it is providing something much more valuable than that. Indian government-run organizations like, Railways, Army and Police; they consume these athletes in government jobs. In India acquiring a government job is more or less like winning a lottery. If you are a well-doing athlete, you may never have to go to office and still get your salary each month. If you are not doing well then you may get a data entry kind of desk job, but still you will get promotions based on your performance. In fact, colleges too give admission to students under sports quota. One of my friend get admitted to a reputed college in Delhi University based on sports quota, where I didn’t even when I scored much higher. But, she deserved it. She put her hard work and sweat in it, to win that sports reservation, unlike others who just use their caste. Our system does help sports players. It may not be enough for some of us, but for few it is all they need.

Have you ever thought about, why most of the Indian athletes are coming from poor background or villages of India? One of the reason is this government job. They don’t get good education, or other support; if they can just put all their physical strength in a sport and manage to get selected in national team; they do have a chance to get a government job. For this they give their all. They work hard, day or night. They struggle every step, and some of them manage to clench medal for our nation.

My question to you is – why not many players are coming from middle class, or upper middle class, or high-class families? Why not Shobha De’s daughter/son is competing in a sport? Why is your daughter not doing gymnastic? Why your son is not doing track & field? Why your sister is not competing in wrestling? Or your brother in discus throw?

Problem is we judge success of a person by the amount he is earning; not by how many medals they have won in a sport, or by how content he/she is with what they are doing. We want to make our kids engineer, doctor, manager, business person; but not sportsman, maybe a cricketer but not any other sport. We want them to work in a multinational company sitting in a centralized office; not sweat for India in an unkempt stadium. We want medals but we don’t want to be sports players.

Why Olympic Medal is more a dream than a reality for India

Even when there is a chance of getting a government job; there is a lot of toil which goes into making a Saakshi, or Deepa, or Sindhu. We expect our kids to study 20 hours in a day; but not to wake up at 5am and run 3 miles. For parents, if you are playing sport, you are evading studies and actually ruining your career. What is a career?

Our government has not built proper stadiums for our kids. Our schools do not have good coaches. We do lack infrastructure. We don’t have swimming pools in every society, we do not even have gymnastic poles accessible, no diving place, no biking lanes, no running track. This is a major deterrent in motivating our kids to pick up a sport. Whatever government provides through sports budget; that is eaten up by the bureaucracy and corruption. Level of corruption is at its peak, just look at the recent Narsingh Yadav controversy; or at commonwealth games corruption records. We play politics in sports. Those who are sitting on top of selection committees, they play favorites. These officials don’t even know how to fill paperwork for Olympics. They are not at all professional. One of the main reason USA wins so many medals is that their government is not interfering with the sports. It is the passion of people who is motivating and funding sportsmen. If only India could keep its politics aside from games.

We the people, the ones, who can afford sending their kids to sports clubs having swimming pools, we are not mentoring our kids for Olympics; and the ones who are preparing for Olympics, they can only afford rivers and local ponds to practice swimming.

Those who are winning medals for India, if you look at their background; they are either children of former sports players; or they are picked and trained by former players. A sportsman knows the passion behind it, and they want their kids to feel the same. They want to leave their legacy through their students. They invest not only their money but everything to make their kid a world-class player. They don’t get much in return, just a satisfaction of doing something for their country. They are the true patriots, unlike us whose patriotism can be seen only on Facebook and not in a field.

We live and breathe cricket. We have the world’s best cricket players. We play cricket not only in stadiums but on roads, in schools, everywhere. We are experts in giving advice to our players, and in criticizing them. We love it. So, how many world cups we have won in cricket so far?

We can consider cricket world cup, same as Olympics is for other sports, right? So how many world cups?

We don’t even have enough passion for cricket.

We can build world-class cricket grounds; but we can’t build world-class track fields?

It’s not that we lack talent. We boast of our diversity. We have strength and we have money too. We spend billions on cricket. Just think of it, what if we can pool money within a society and build a swimming pool, or donate to our local school so they can hire a good coach, or build a sports gym. Why don’t we take our kids for running in the morning? Motivate them for biking. Teach them not only how to swim, but also different types of swimming techniques. Why not enroll our kids in gymnastic classes? why not lead by example. Why not do all of these ourselves and inspire our kids to take interest in sports?

I see passion of sports in almost every family of USA. Parents play with their kids. They teach them. Weekends are reserved for family. Time to play sports. They swim together, they play ball together, soccer, tennis, running, biking. How many Indian parents take time out to play sports with their kids? We shake off our responsibility by sending our kids to cricket coaching and that’s enough sports for us. We ourselves don’t play. Why would our children be interested in any sport then?

It is not a government who makes Olympic medal winner. It is a coach, a parent, a partner, a local investor who helps in shaping a Saakshi, Sindhu or Deepa. Be that parent, be that coach. If you can’t be that, at least become a sponsor. A change in our attitude is needed, if we want to have Gold in our hands.

 

 

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Love and Respect Knows No Religion. #Kalam

Love and Respect Knows No Religion. #Kalam
Love and Respect Knows No Religion. #Kalam

President A. P. J. Abdul Kalam passed away. He was by far the most loved and respected Indian President. He did not belong to any political party. He was no superstar actor. He was no cricketer. He was not someone who fits in the general stereotype of being a celebrity; still he was someone who has left whole country in mourning.

Those who are saying that he was The Common Man, are wrong.

He was not common. He was extra-ordinary.

Love and Respect Knows No Religion. #Kalam
Love and Respect Knows No Religion. #Kalam

He has risen from the ashes to the top. He was born in a poor family of Rameshwaram, and worked odd jobs to help his family. But one thing that he did not take granted was his studies and his goals. He became an aerospace engineer, and later helped India in conducting Pokhran Nuclear test; thus receiving the title of ‘Missile Man‘.

He was elected as the 11th President of India, with unanimous support of both ruling BJP party and Opposition Congress party.

He received highest civilian honor ‘Bharat Ratna‘, from Indian government.

Love and Respect Knows No Religion. #Kalam
Love and Respect Knows No Religion. #Kalam

But, it was not what made him a people’s President. He was the most down to earth President and the most inspiring one too. His quotes and sayings come first to mind when someone talks of motivation. He has given so many lectures and seminars to youth of India, motivating and inspiring them. He died while giving a lecture to students in Shillong. Died doing the one thing he liked the most. Inspiring Youth. 

Love and Respect Knows No Religion. #Kalam
Love and Respect Knows No Religion. #Kalam

If you think what does religion has to do with all this. Well, Nothing; and this is the point.

Kalam was loved by everyone. His death is mourned by every level of society. He was a leader who lead by example, and not by exploiting religion. Those who are mourning his death, are not Hindu, or Muslim, or Sikh or Christian. They all are Indians.

Nobody is saying that he was Hindu, or Muslim, or Sikh or Christian; he was just our very own ‘Missile Man‘.

Love and Respect Knows No Religion. #Kalam
Love and Respect Knows No Religion. #Kalam

Kalam had no religion. He was an Indian.

But, when it comes to Ajmal Kasab, or Yakub Menon, or Tiger Menon, or those terrorists who killed innocent people in Gurdaspur; they all had a religion.

Religion of Terror.

When we love and respect someone we do not care about things like their skin color, or their religion or their financial background. But when we want to hate someone, we look for every tiny detail we can get to hate that person.

Love and Respect Knows No Religion. #Kalam
Love and Respect Knows No Religion. #Kalam

It can be hard being a Muslim in India; but the truth is that try any other country, and I bet it will be much-much harder anywhere else in this world.

Kalam didn’t had a resourceful childhood. Nobody helped him except his determination and hard work. He made it work. He reached at the top. He never said, it was difficult for me because I was a Muslim. He never said, Indian government did nothing for my people. He never said, I belong to minority. He made weapons to defend his country. He did not attack his country. He did not kill innocent young people. He inspired them to achieve success in life. He taught young minds to be good in life.

Love and Respect Knows No Religion. #Kalam
Love and Respect Knows No Religion. #Kalam

Kalam did not turn into a terrorist. He chose to be President instead.

Nobody had it easy. Everyone is struggling in their own life. System is not fair. Governments are not fair. Society is not fair.

But, we have a choice.

We have a choice to be Kalam, or be Kasab.

We always have a choice. Just remember that next time you face a difficult situation.

I prefer Sujoy Ghosh’s ‘Ahalya’ over the traditional one

If you have still not seen this modern version of Ahalya, inspired by story of Ahalya from Ramayana;  first thing to do is to watch it here.

‘Ahalya’ by the maverick Sujoy Ghosh.

Ahalya the name, till now, symbolized a sinful woman who atone her infidelity by turning into a stone. Ahalya as said in Hindu literature, was the most beautiful woman on earth; created by Brahma himself. She was not born, but created using all the beauty of this world.

I prefer Sujoy Ghosh's 'Ahalya' over the traditional one
I prefer Sujoy Ghosh‘s ‘Ahalya’ over the traditional one

She was married to a great ‘Maharishi‘ (sage) Gautam. Gautam was much older to her and was not into worldly pleasures much. Indra, the king of God, was however, enticed with Ahalya beauty. Indra wanted to have her at any cost. Even knowing that she is the wife of maharishi Gautam, did not deter Indra from his bad intentions.

So one day, in the absence of Gautam, Indra disguised in the form of Gautam comes to Ahalya and raped her. I would like to use the word Rape because if Indra is in disguise of her husband, even if she did something willingly, it was improper and not with her consent.

I prefer Sujoy Ghosh's 'Ahalya' over the traditional one
I prefer Sujoy Ghosh’s ‘Ahalya’ over the traditional one

Gautam came to know of it, and in result he curse Ahalya to turn into a stone and suffer for eternity till Lord Rama will come and liberate her of this curse. Rama touches the stone turned Ahalya with his foot, and she turn back to her beautiful self. She is purified now and Gautam returns back to accept her back as his wife.

This may sound too extreme when you try to play this story in modern times. It’s the same way a rape victim is punished for the crime that others did to her. Ahalya is the face of our patriarchal society. In modern times, if this would happen to any woman, a lot of feminist groups would raise their voice against it.

It seems so inhumane.

Sujoy Ghosh, the maverick, as I like to call him, has tried to do justice to Ahalya, by liberating her, without introducing any Rama in her story.

I prefer Sujoy Ghosh's 'Ahalya' over the traditional one
I prefer Sujoy Ghosh’s ‘Ahalya’ over the traditional one

In Sujoy‘s story, Ahalya is a mystery woman, who is confident and knows her strength. She is no longer a second fiddle to Gautam. Instead as Gautam said, it is her who has inspired him for all his creations. She is the muse and master both. You will understand this as you will reach the end.

Do watch it. It will only take your 14 minutes, but it may change the image of a helpless woman who was victimized for others crimes. Here is the link again.

Why Iftar? Why not Mata ka Jagran?

Why Iftar? Why not Mata ka Jagran?
Why Iftar? Why not Mata ka Jagran?

Ramadan is here and so are Iftar parties, one after another. In fact there is a race among Indian politicians to invite as many as their political counterparts as possible and broadcast their secularism to the minority of the nation.

Sonia Gandhi is giving an Iftar party. Arvind Kejriwal is also on the same bandwagon. President is also supposed to throw a lavish Iftar party. More or less every political party and big leader is throwing a party in the name of Iftar.

It is not a new thing but this practice is going on for years…. infact as far as I remember it has become more prominent since the time all political parties pretended to be more secular than the others. Secular as in more minority favorable parties; and by minority here, I do not mean Sikhs, Jains, Schedule castes or girls in India.

Media is also after this event as if it’s an Oscar party. Who attended whose party? Who clicked pic with whom? On that note did you saw Arvind kejriwal’s happily ever after kind of pic with his arch-enemy Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung. See the power of Ramadan.

Why Iftar? Why not Mata ka Jagran?
Why Iftar? Why not Mata ka Jagran?

Did you also notice in all the pics almost every non-muslim leader is wearing a skull-cap. That is also a great symbol of secularism. It is now a days a fashion statement of politicians who are Secular. Normal/common people who wear this cap may be wearing it for non fashionable reasons but how could they know that a mere cap is more than enough to turn a hypocrite into a Secular.

Do you also know that common man who fast on Ramadan usually breaks his fast with eating dates and drinking water. His Iftar is neither a lavish and grand party nor so much media seeking event.

Why Iftar? Why not Mata ka Jagran?

This much talking about Iftar has made me hungry but before I go and eat my home cooked humble meal, there is one more thought that I would like to share with you.

So, I was just thinking, or kind of dreaming, what if these same politicians also do ‘Mata Ka Jagran’, or ‘kanchka – where they will feed little girls ‘kanyas’ and also give money to them. how empowering that would be? Or If they do Nanak Prabhat Pheri in the early morning hours, singing devotional songs. Or, if they throw thanksgiving parties to all the voters who voted for them and gave them power to rule for five years.

Why Iftar? Why not Mata ka Jagran?
Why Iftar? Why not Mata ka Jagran?

It was quite hilarious – that dream that I had.

Just imagine reading news about, ‘Sonia Gandhi has invited every political leader to her Mata ka Jagran event. She was herself dressed as Mata Durga, whereas Digvijay Singh was dressed in a Singh’s (Lion) costume. He was dancing keeping his tail in mouth.

Rahul Gandhi was seen dancing in full devotion to the tune of “beda paar karegi janpath vaali (oops jhande vaali) Maa”.

Why Iftar? Why not Mata ka Jagran?

When Rahul Gandhi was dancing we saw Lalu Yadav and Mulayam shovering 10 and 20 rupees bills. Lalu also danced to his favorite devotional song ‘khushhaal karti, maala maal karti, sherowali maa apne bhakto ki nihaal karti’.

Narendra Modi arrived late, accompanying L. K. Advani by his side. While Modi was seen doing a shastaang pranam to Mata Durga (Sonia Gandhi dressed as Durga) and later giving a two-minute speech on acche din; Advani took mic in his hand and sang full song ‘Mata Sherawali bharde jholi khali’.

Why Iftar? Why not Mata ka Jagran?
Why Iftar? Why not Mata ka Jagran?

Kejriwal was wearing a red duppatta over his head and swinging his head in 360 degree. We later came to know that Mata Durga herself came in Kejriwal’s soul and blessed him. That was the reason of his head swinging, and not because he has lost his marbles.

It was great and blissful night when all the politicians joined together to pray to Maa Shakti Durga, and were blessed with good wisdom and honesty, if that’s possible.

Why Iftar? Why not Mata ka Jagran?
Why Iftar? Why not Mata ka Jagran?

PS. In no way this Jagran was a secular event.

Killing ‘Nirbhaya’ Once Again

Killing 'Nirbhaya' Once Again
Killing ‘Nirbhaya’ Once Again

A feeble attempt by the Indian government to save tourism in India or just to prove that no matter who rules the government, its mindset is always the same – and that is to ban everything which raises questions.

By putting ban on ‘India’s Daughterdocumentary which was based on the December, 2012 brutal rape of a medical student; Indian Government has once again raped and killed so many ‘Nirbhayas’, all over again. This government has snatched their right of freedom by muting their voice.

India’s Daughter’ is a documentary directed by ‘Leslee Udwin‘ for BBC. Film was based on the most historic and revolting incident happened in India in recent times – Rape of a girl.

Study suggests that every 20 minutes one rape takes place in India, then what was different about this rape.

Their was no difference. None. It was just a Rape. Just a Rape. Nothing new. Nothing new in India. Just another day. Just another girl.

A young girl who wanted to be a doctor, ‘Jyoti Singh‘, my namesake, who was returning around 8-9 pm with her friend, after watching a movie; took a bus; where 6 men (I don’t know whether to call them men, or monsters; will just call them rapists), rapists, raped her, beat her almost to death, and then throw her out of a moving bus along with her friend, to die in cold December night on Delhi‘s streets.

It was so brutal that her whole intestines were out of her body. She has bite marks all over her. She was beaten with iron rods and was gang raped with rapists taking turns in mutilating her.

Killing 'Nirbhaya' Once Again
Killing ‘Nirbhaya’ Once Again

It was then in 2012, when whole India cried and revolted for this brave girl; who despite of her trauma and serious medical conditions, detailed her ordeal to police to help them catch the culprits. She wanted justice and was served some partial judgment too, when court ordered death for 5 rapists, excluding one juvenile. She died. Her rapists are still alive and gloating.

Killing 'Nirbhaya' Once Again

What this documentary ‘India’s Daughter‘, has shown is a rapist, and his lawyer, saying what actually most of Indian Men still thinks – that, it is a Girl’s fault if she is Raped.

Killing 'Nirbhaya' Once Again

If a girl is out at night/evening, precisely after 6:30, or if she is with a male friend, or if she is a girl; she needs to be Raped and Killed….. so, she can learn a valuable lesson. A lesson that a defense lawyer very proudly says, that In great Indian culture, there is no place for women. A woman is like flower or diamond, and if diamond is on the road, dogs will take it. Another one says, if her daughter or sister will have premarital sex/love affair, he will burn her in front of whole family.

Killing 'Nirbhaya' Once Again
Killing ‘Nirbhaya’ Once Again

 

They don’t even flinch, while saying these things. I don’t flinch either.

If you are a woman brought up in India, you will realize that what they are saying is actually you have heard whole your life.

Don’t go out. It’s evening now.”

Who is calling you? Is it a male? You will not have phone anymore.”

Why you have male friends? You are not supposed to have any male friends.”

No skirts.”

You want to watch a movie. Go with your husband, when you get married.”

In our family, girls don’t go out on college trips.”

Why you were talking to neighborhood boy?”

We would prefer to kill you than marry you to your choice of husband.”

You love someone. You are a slut.”

 

Killing 'Nirbhaya' Once Again
Killing ‘Nirbhaya’ Once Again

India is a patriarchal society, heavily. So much, that even the old generation women there thinks that all such thing are right. A girl should know her place, and her place is in kitchen only. Mindset of a society can not change in a single day, but there was a chance for the Indian Government to put forward a Rapists viewpoint and show to society, if you also think like him – then you are also a Rapist.

It does not matter if you have raped a woman or not, if you still think that all such statements are right, then you are a Rapist.

You have raped a woman of her freedom, of her right.

Her right of being a human being, just like you are.

She is a human, a person. She is not your property.

You can not question her.

You can not blame her for what you did to her.

You can not mute her.

You can not.

Because she is a person.

Killing 'Nirbhaya' Once Again
Killing ‘Nirbhaya’ Once Again

Stop your boys, not your girls. Make India a safe, not only for tourists, but for all.