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Aug 30, 2016

Usain, Bolt your libido!

He is a champion, who has taken perfection on tracks to a level, which will take generations for any human to achieve. 

Now some questions, that may raise some eyebrows.

Is he a legend? Is he someone to whom children should look up? Is he a personality every mother would want her child to be like? Can he be an ambassador for humanity? Can we really idealize him as a role model? 

These questions are suddenly clouding the mind of people, his fans in particular, after Bolt was in headlines for:

1.     One night stand with a Brazilian student in Rio after making world record in 4*100 meter relay.
2.     For having South London girls for roucous party at his London hotel. 
3.     Handing out his Rio medals to girls who flashed their assets to him in London.

So, is Usain Bolt affected by Tiger Woods or Charlie Sheen syndrome? Well... the signs are evident, the testosterone that led to record-breaking feat on-tracks is now on the other record-breaking spree off the tracks. 

No wonder, Usain's off-field antics are bolt out of the blue for his fans and family. His sister Christine and his girlfriend Kasi are upset with his notorious captures. 

Family, friends & fans love Usain for what he has achieved but the problem begins when one thinks that they can get away with anything after these achievements. 
Sexcapades of sport stars like golf prodigy Tiger Woods, Brazilian soccer sensation Ronaldo, champion athlete Edvin Moses led to their fall from greatness.

Bolt is the greatest but is he a legend?  Only the greatest can triumph in three consecutive Olympics with 9 gold medals in the same three events but to be a legend requires a character that can digest success and set an example for the generations to follow and talk even after you are long gone.

Such are the traits of legends that greats like Sir Don Bradman, Jack Nicklaus, Michael Schumacher, Dhyan Chand are still remembered, revered and idolized. The present crop of sports icons like Roger Federer, Lionel Messi, Visawanathan Anand and few more have the groundings of a future legend.

It is Usain Bolt, who has to decide if he wants to fade away as being once the greatest or he wished to be a role model, whose name gets engraved in the list of legends.


Aug 29, 2016

Population of 1.25 billion & just 2 medals in Rio Olympics! India introspect!

With Yogeshwar Dutt being knocked out in the first round of 65 kgs freestyle wrestling, team India lost its hope of bringing home third medal from Rio Olympics. Yes; ironically we had high hopes for third medal for India from the Olympic 2016 from Yogeshwar Dutt, the other two medals brought in are silver by PV Sindhu for Badminton and bronze by Sakshi Malik for freestyle wrestling. 

What an irony! In Rio 2016, we have the largest ever delegation of 117 athletes and we could win only two medals. Now, compare this with countries like Iran; a delegation of 63 athletes won 8 medals including 3 gold medals, Thailand; a delegation of 55 athletes won 6 medals that include 2 gold medals, Azarbaijan; a delegation of 55 athletes won 18 medals, including 1 gold medal. 

Something that will take you by surprise is the stark difference in population count of these countries when compared to India. The combined population of Iran, Thailand and Azarbaijan is still lesser than that of Uttar Pradesh. The population of Azarbaijan is approx 9.5 million, which is far lesser than National Capital New Delhi. 

So the big question is why world's second most populous country with 1.25 billion people can produce meager 117 athletes of Olympic standard and these could only get 2 medals, that too with no gold.

Also, we need to introspect, why in last 116 years of India's Olympic journey, we have won just 28 medals with only 9 gold medals that too 8  golds in Hockey and only 1 in the individual event of shooting by Abhinav Bindra in 2008 Beijing Olympics. What can be inferred from these glaring statistics?

1.      Sports other than Cricket are not given much weightage as a career option by people because neither they appear financially lucrative nor glamorous as cricket.
2.      More than the government, it's the apathy of corporates & the wealthy individuals towards other sports that has to change. Imagine badminton coach P Gopichand had to mortgage his house to build his badminton academy in Hyderabad, which finally gave a silver & a bronze in badminton in two consecutive Olympics i.e in 2012 & 2016.
3.      At the grass root level schools and colleges lack the basic infrastructure that can encourage other sports, so even if someone is god-gifted with a natural talent then it gets crushed at the school level, itself.
4.      The concept of sports school or college is still not seen as an option in India's education system.
5.      In the last 116 years of our Olympic exposure, we have not been able to produce many Olympians of international class, therefore, we also lack coaches, who can nurture and groom the talent for the international level.
6.      Other than hockey, that too only till 1980, India has not done well in team events in Olympics and no wonder, this is a poor reflection of our esprit de corps.
7.      Finally... However, we may criticise Shobha De's comment on Twitter but as a country we only celebrate individual brilliance, rather than taking Olympics seriously . Hence, the popular lingo 'kaun sa Olympic mein medal jeetna hai' needs to vacate our mind. 

India has shown the globalised world that from information technology to beauty peagents, from cricket to yoga, we can be the world leaders and world beaters, so why not show the same spirit in Olympics? Olympics is a platform that has inspired generations, it is a sea that carries the waves of excellence of human spirit and endurance, so why shouldn't we be touched by it?


Jul 9, 2016

Should Muslims love the 'MINORITY' tag?

'Muslim votes will decide the winner in the upcoming Uttar Pradesh elections'.
'Muslims to decide on the last moment, for whom will they vote'.
'Muslims will vote only for the winning candidate'.
'Muslims will vote for anyone but BJP'.

These are the common inferences known to all and I try to understand the reasons behind this thought process or behavioral pattern as I explore Uttar Pradesh from ground zero for the special series in the run up to UP elections 2017. Before forming an opinion, I must add that in few areas/districts of  Uttar Pradesh, Muslims are not minorities and one such area I visited, was Badaun.

Muslims in Uttar Pradesh, by and large, carry a feeling of distrust from the establishment. Ironically, for so many years various governments, both at the state and at the centre, have failed to win faith of the community and their approach towards the community has never been that of a partnership with them but has been more of a compensation to them as and when needed.

Over the years, multiple issues have widened the trust deficit between the community and the establishments. It began with the partition of our country and with the bloodbath thereafter, left the hangover of a fear, which consequently was passed on to the following generations. The so-called 'secular party' that ruled the country for many years failed to see Muslims as equals but relegated them to a status of minority at various schemes and policies. No wonder, even when our constitution does not define 'Minority'; surprisingly, we have a Minority Commission, Minority Educational Institutions, Minority Welfare Ministries and Reservations for Minority.

Strangely, even after so many Minority initiatives, the condition of Muslims in India remains very poor. Sachar Committee, appointed by then Prime Minister, presented a report in 2007, which highlighted the plight of Muslim community. As per Sachar Committee report ...

  • SC/ST are the poorest followed by Muslims with 31% of them being below poverty line.
  • The literacy rate of Muslims, as per 2001 census, is  below the national average and the growth of literacy in  Muslims is lesser than that of Scheduled Castes.
  • 25% of Muslim children between the age group of 6-14, either never went to school or dropped out at some  stage.
  • Only 1 out of 25 graduate students and 1 out of 50 post graduate students in premier colleges are Muslims.
  • Muslims have lower representation in government jobs and Public Sector Undertakings. In Civil Services, Muslims are only 3% in IAS, 1.8% in IFS and 4% in IPS. In Railways, 4.5 % are Muslims, Education 6.5%, Home 7.3 % and only 6% Police Constables are Muslims.

This data was submitted in 2007 and it shows: How various governments in past have made Muslims more dependent upon the crutches of Minority policies like a trap that would ensure votes for the Governments, who don't want Muslims to live out of a 'Minority' tag.

Adding further agony to the community are the incidents like Babri Masjid Demolition, which widened the trust deficit. Though it cannot be ignored that the Party that ruled the state of Uttar Pradesh and failed to protect the law & order during Babri Masjid demolition, has always used the 'Minority' card to its advantage. Ironically the Muslim Community always followed the herd mentality by voting for appeasing party time and again.

Shockingly, the Muslim community is well aware of  being appeased for only the votes, yet it runs after the appeasers and prefers of having that one last laugh by voting for the winning candidate. This momentarily last laugh is spoiling the generations by making them dependent on the subsidies attached to a 'Minority' tag. Its acceptable to dislike a particular party for their actions in the past but every hatred must have an expiry date because any hatred if pursued for long, results in suicide and many jihadis are an example of it. Moreover, passing this feeling of hatred to next generation, only reduces their options of finding the right representative.

To conclude, Religion is a medium to discipline a community but for politicians it's a medium to disciple a community to become their vote bank.

If God has given you life and a chance to be born as a human being then, definitely, you are not a 'Minority'.



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