The Plight of Sports Culture in India

It takes time to develop calibre and character. It takes even longer to nurture the contours of culture whether it be the work culture or sports culture. If the Prime Minister of India laments the lack of sports culture in India and wedges the sports person to develop a strong winner’s instinct, he merely expresses the voices of millions. Since exceptions do not prove the rule and therefore some very exceptional examples even icons in the field of sports and games who have brought laurels both to themselves as well as for the country may not be enough. Such examples include Mahesh Bhupati, Sania Mirza, Kapil Dev, Sachin Tendulkar and many others like Abhinav Bindra and Vijendra Singh who have represented India in the international sports.

If the general state of affairs of Indian sports is deplorable, the reasons are not far to seek. Sports like cricket are over hyped in India, neglecting and rejecting the other sports. It is quite evident from the amount of expenditure that is done on IPL’s and 20-20 matches. Not only this, the other reason for the present plight of sports in our country is too much pressure on academics. Parents and children have become result-oriented. And not to forget our corrupt politicians, who fail to spare money out of the funds kept aside for their personal expenditures, rather than developing the sports in the country.

The need of the hour is that in a nation of more than one billion people like ours should do some intensive introspection to take immediate remedial measures to carve and claim a rightful place among the world class athletes, players and sportspersons. The first and the foremost measure is to catch them young and develop in them the killer instinct by offering all possible motivation and opportunity to strike the gold. Mere wishful thinking would not play the trick. For this consistent efforts will have to be made at every level to develop the sports culture and not just the cricket culture among the aspiring stars. There is no dearth of talent, only it has to be found out and properly trained.

Good intentions must be backed by actions. Besides talent and training, what is urgently required to boost the sports culture is the provision of high tech Infrastructure, highly qualified coaches both Indian as well as foreign, a long term sports policy, riddance of sports federation of undesirable persons, elimination of nepotism in matters of selection and sufficient allocation in Central and state budget for sports.

In a highly competitive world, there is no place for shortcuts. Needless to reaffirm that sports federation should become more transparent and accountable in their functioning. Ministry of finance may consider the suggestion for generating 100% tax benefit to business houses for erection maintenance of sports infrastructure, sponsoring sports championship and for sponsoring sportsperson for participation in international meet. The upcoming common wealth games will be a testing time not only for the Indian Government but also for the players and the citizens of the country to showcase their sports culture.


Sheenam Munjral

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