Ever since the oh-so-charming Abhinav Bindra won the first ever individual Olympic Gold medal for India, I have heard lots of stories and conversations among almost everybody I know where they lament the lack of quality sport training and other related infrastructure in India. And one thing that stuck me whenever I was involved in such conversations was the fact that these people were missing out on the bigger picture here.
What a country like India needs today is basic infrastructure, such as roads, trains, food distribution mechanisms, means to ensure primary education to all young children, healthcare, sewage, drinking water, and not more stadiums or facilities to breed more individual Gold Medal winners. Yes, it feels good and proud to know that India finally has an individual Gold Medal but then the joy is momentary when you look out of your car window and notice the number of beggars at each and every traffic signal. Yes, there is warmth in the heart when the tricolor is unfurled and the national anthem sung at a world stage, but then there is immense sorrow when one notices the number of hungry, homeless urchins in our urban metros.
What India needs today is a working model of sustainable development and where distribution of economic wealth and social welfare is across cross-sections of society. We need to ensure that the Rich don’t get any richer at the cost of the poor getting poorer. Sports does precious little to alleviate the poor Indian’s life, and can therefore take a back seat, at least for now.
Amit Varma (of India Uncut fame) has written this article for the Wall Street Journal Asia on this topic and this article by him prompted this outburst from me. Hat tip Amit!!!
Related links –
India Uncut link to Amit’s article