The Rule Makers and Breakers

When the Indian Hockey team failed to qualify for Beijing, there was a clamour for the IHF chief  KPS Gill’s head. The Sports Minister, the honourable Mr Mani Shankar Aiyar felt the pain but refused to go against the Olympic Charter which calls for the non-interference of national governments in the running of sports bodies. So if all the sports bodies are going to run on their own, what is the need of a sports ministry?

For all his ministry’s impotence, the minister could at least claim to be the only righteous and rule abiding man in the parliament. Well, at least till some time back. Now there is a parliamentarian who not only goes by the rule book but is also a man of action. We are talking of the one and only Rajiv Shukla.

Mr Shukla is a BCCI vice-president and he was recently asked about providing financial assistance to the poverty stricken family of former India U-15 captain Subhash Dixit. For the benefit of the uninformed, Dixit’s inability to provide two square meals for his family drove him to commit suicide recently.

Shukla responded by saying that the BCCI had no rule to provide financial assistance in such cases and as such his hands were tied. He added, however, that they do provide pension to former Ranji trophy players and help in treatment of terminal diseases. Well done, Mr Shukla. Unflinching under the media gaze and refusing to break rules the way a regular ‘human’ being would have done in this case.

And that is not all. Mr Shukla is also ensuring that this country has more and more rules to obey. He has convinced the BCCI president, Mr Sharad Pawar to donate 1.5 crore rupees to build a gym for the rule makers of this country – Mr Shukla’s fellow parliamentarians. Most sportsmen in this country do not have a world class gym to work out but so what. The parliamentarians have a greater need for it as they have more flab to burn. The gym will also ensure that the rule makers are always in fine fettle and can start making rules with renewed vigour and energy. Rules which will ensure that the likes of Aiyar and Shukla always have something to fall back on for their ineptitude.

Perhaps we could have these two rules enforced. First,. no minister (read MS Gill) can sack long serving sports administrators like KPS Gill and Jyothikumaran. This will ensure that the likes of MS Gill cannot do what Mr Aiyar cannot. Second, the pension provided to Ranji players be cancelled and instead be given to old parliamentarians. Thus, the media cannot complain about preferential treatment for some cricketers (Ranji players) and neglect of some( Subhash Dixit)

The BCCI will fund a lot of noble ventures with the money generated from the IPL. The 1.5 crores spent on the gym, however, would be the money best spent.

Avnish Anand

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