Another Olympics and yet another time we are thrilled as a nation to have got one Bronze. We compete with such nations as Azerbaijan, Slovakia, Serbia and Mongolia whilst the nation with whom we are made to (or expected to) compete in GDP growth, greatness etc, ie, China, tops the medal tally. After every dismal performance we are filled with renewed zeal: “Agli baar chhodenge nahin” (next time we shall not leave them) (Read ‘We Are Like That Only’). However, when next time comes, we again bemoan collectively that the rules and umpires or referees or judges just didn’t favour us; there appears to be conspiracy against the Indian civilisation.
I have been like all the others denigrating the Indians for their poor performance, lack of focused approach, discipline, sports infrastructure and competitive spirit of our young men and women. But, lately I have started to earnestly examine the ‘conspiracy theory’. Lo and behold; the conclusion that I have reached is that there is adequate evidence to support the charge.
First of all, Olympics are totally opposite of our culture of “peaceful co-existence”; how can we be competing against anyone to win Gold, Silver or Bronze? Once in a blue-moon someone with ‘anti-Indian’ tendencies can stoop so low as to win a Gold, Silver or Bronze in shooting (a la Abhinav Bindra, Rajyavardhan Rathore and Gagan Narang) or in boxing like Vijender Singh; but, we discourage such greed for “material things”. For us, participation is more important than winning. Indeed, as a matter of interest, the expenditure on participation of scores of officials and non-players in the Indian contingent is never allowed to exceed the total sum of money spent on our former President’s foreign jaunts. That’s the kind of respect that we have for our head of state.
Naturally, the Westerns always take advantage of our cultural moorings and devise such lowly games where winning medals is all that counts. We, Indians have values. Winning somebody else’s precious metals is not for us when we have enough of our own. Indeed, we are stashing a large percentage of these in foreign banks and vaults. Also, we have very stringent Customs Regulations; we guide our players not to bring imported precious metals as there would be heavy duty on it. We made an exception for Sachin Tendulkar’s Ferrari and landed up in avoidable controversy.
Most games in Olympics are against our civilizational values and we in India lay a lot of store for values. Can’t we have some realistic games suited for Indian conditions? Can’t we have games that suit our natural ability and talent? Here are some that I suggested to Mr. Jacques Rogge, the President of International Olympic Committee:
Me. Mr. President, I suggest that a game called ‘Traffic Decathlon’ be added from the 2020 Olympics that may be held in New Delhi. We could have a driver from each participating country being given a over-burdened lorry without adequate brakes and lights and asked to go on an Indian highway.
JR. Sounds interesting; what would be the rules?
Me. Aha, Sir, ‘Rules’ is a totally western concept, alien to us. We shall let the contestants make their own rules.
JR. Alright; but the challenge would be if they have to reach somewhere; simply being on a highway won’t do.
Me. No, no, Sir; once again, reaching somewhere is a Western concept; being ahead of the other vehicle by hook or by crook is the object of the game. And, Sir, you have no idea of the “challenge” in this; trust me.
JR. Fine; I shall put this before IOC. Let me hear your other suggestions.
Me. Sir, this is a brilliant game that we play in India; it is an adult version of ‘hide-and-seek’ or ‘treasure hunt’. In this a large sum of public money just vanishes from under the noses of the authorities and they form themselves into committees and go looking for it….
JR. ….and the one who finds it, is the winner, is it?
Me. I am afraid, Sir, you are still looking at things from a western perspective. The money is never to be found. Looking for it is great fun though and everyone has a rollicking time. Many a times we spend more money looking for the disappeared money than the original amount.
JR (catching on): And I guess here too there will be no rules.
Me. Bingo, Sir. Here is another: In this game a complete locality is flooded – as it happens with us during rains – and a team has to reach across a stretch of road.
JR. Doesn’t sound very exciting; any Olympian swimmer should be able to do that.
Me. You think so, Sir? Once again the competitors would not have any idea of where the open manholes and drains are and whether or not live electric cables are submerged.
JR. Oh, I see. Any more new games, especially for women?
Me. Ok, Sir; now this is the ultimate test of any contestant’s ability. In this a contestant is asked to look at our overcrowded local train and asked to board the train and alight at another station without loss of limb or life or gold chain or without being molested.
JR. What’s the point of this game?
Me. The point, Sir, is free amusement of the males who are otherwise bored with life.
JR. I like this because at least the goal of the game is clearly stated. What does the woman have to defend herself?
Me. There is something called pepper-spray, Sir, but points will have to be minused if someone uses it.
JR. Alright, I think you have given me some good ideas. Now, tell me one last one that should have a lot of excitement and challenge.
Me. Okay Sir; I don’t know if the foreign teams can really practise it in the next eight years; our people have vast experience. This is called ‘Sprint to Touch Congress High Command’s Feet’. You can be in any part of the country but you have to accomplish it before your rivals can do so. There is real challenge in it; you can either lose something called kursi (chair or seat) or win it. We have been practising it since independence waiting for our glorious moment in the Olympics.
JR. Bravo, this is really adventurous, like the Afghan sport of Buzh Kashi. But tell me, Sunbyanyname, if Indians are so good at all these really tough games then how is it they don’t win many medals in Olympics?
Me. Simple, Sir, it is against our culture to compete or contest and ask for material things. As an example, Sir, when British came to India we decided that we’d rather fight with each other than against our beloved guests from a foreign land. One, Nawab of Oudh, for example, in relentless pursuit of spreading Indian culture, kept up with music and poetry whilst the British took over his entire kingdom.
We Indians really love our culture and are ready to do anything to preserve and display it. Ask Ms Madhura Honey who walked in front of the entire Indian contingent at the opening ceremony of Olympics at London. She spread Indian culture in blue jeans and red shirt and became far more important than the contestants. That’s the way we always have it: anyone and everyone is more important than the contestants. She is going to be our mascot for the 2020 Olympics in case we win the bid to host them at Delhi.
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