All That Glitters Is Not Gold

Recently an article by Shobhaa De on the victory of Abhinav Bindra got me re-thinking on the whole issue. Till then I had also been one of the many Indians whose heart swelled at the thought of India wining its first individual Gold medal in the history of Olympics. The huge figures heads of different states contributed to decorate Abhinav’s victory, seemed paltry in front of what he had achieved. I guess I cannot be blamed for this as we Indians look for individual achievers and such achievements make us proud to be Indians again amidst the corruption surrounding us all the time. One victory makes us ‘one voice’ forgetting the issue of Jammu and Kashmir dividing us into communal segments. The victory comes as a reason to celebrate the idea of being Indian to all those who have got a bitter bite of the so-called “Democratic State of India”. I know a girl who after gathering all her guts went to report a sexual molestation case. The ‘woman’ officer on duty told her that she should be used to such incidents and refused to file an FIR. Ask all those who wait decades for our judiciary to give them justice. By the end they even forget what the case was all about. To the common man ‘nationalist spirit’ and such words have lost all meaning and are momentarily rekindled by such surprise victories.

As for the discussion at hand, Bindra’s victory is a huge success of an individual in which our country or we as Indians have no role to play and hence no reason to revel. If not for the good luck of being born rich and having the means to train abroad, he would have probably been another one of those talents lost in the negligent atmosphere of his country where sportsmen (cricket exception) keep waiting for government to notice them and provide them with funds. Even our booming business sector doesn’t help the country elsewhere. Eventually and most obviously we are outdone by more experienced and well provided teams abroad. The presence of NRI’s in the U.S. team this time is an example of how quality can make a huge difference in performance.

It is really sad that in such conditions it is really true of Shobhaa De to say “He (Abhinav) won despite being an Indian”. All those politicians who suddenly have lakhs of money to throw at him (which I must mention he doesn’t need at all) need to glance at the millions living under the poverty line in their states. Someone should remind Mr. Deshmukh (who contributed 10 lakhs) that Bombay has the largest slum population in the country. It is time we open our eyes and see the truth and do not forget the real India amidst the starry projections by our politicians from time to time.

Swati Goyal

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