Archive for January, 2010

Batting for Hockey

It’s pure wizardry with the stick. The ball rolls over it… to the right, to the left and again to the right in rapid succession as the player make lightning advancement towards the scoring post.  The great “Indian Dribble” is at once a menacing deception to the opponent, a mesmerizing rally to the spellbound spectators and a powerful technique which, when unleashed, yielded a rich harvest of goals. Introduced by the Indians way back in the 50s, it  changed the way hockey would ever be played and catapulted the nation as the undisputed champions of the game. Today, a mastery on the technique of the “Indian Dribble” is a definite pre-requisite for a player to be of any consequence in the game.

Come circa 2010, the great Indian hockey is at shambles and the rot is gender natural. The men and women of our national teams, instead of dribbling the ball, are now wrestling with the officials. With spates of accusations, unpaid monies, drastic resignations and boycotts, our hockey has everything to keep the masses entertained – off the field, that is. An inspiring film that injects passion to the game, though a commercial success, did little to change the mindset of men who matter.  Once a national pride, the sport today is being strangulated and is gasping for breath. And when the symbol of national honour is at stake, are we to remain just mute spectators?

Many argue that the decadence of hockey coincided with the rise and the rise of  The Cricket. The sport of the willow attracts all the sponsorships, monies, media coverage and ads while its players enjoy celebratory status. The nation lives on a daily dose of cricketing news and the T20 format ensures a round the year action that leaves little room for any other sport to capture our imagination. With an overload of critics, commanders, analysts and many other sundry “thinkers of the game”, it never fails to engage. A testimony to this is the media coverage on the exclusion of Pakistani cricketers from IPL which could perhaps only be compared to that of the 26/11 terrorist attack.

It is this very popularity of cricket that could now come to the rescue of hockey and salvage the game from total oblivion. If only the czars of the game displayed wisdom and magnanimity, the issues of  financial crunch that plague our hockey could be effectively resolved.  Yeah, hockey need to be cross-subsidised by cricket.  And we, as a nation, have always lived with cross-subsidies- we pay, for instance, more for our petrol so that the cooking gas is available cheap and companies support their weaker products by piggy-backing them with their strong brethrens. If it works well for our economy, shouldn’t it work better for our games? An hockey cess on every cricket match, on every telecast of cricket and a definite ear-marking of a portion of its profits for the development of hockey would breathe fresh life to it. Indian cricket today need to bat for the hockey.

Countries that have emerged as great sporting nations have done so only by a deliberate policy of synergizing their combined strengths to overcome their weaknesses. And it’s time now that India too leverage its commanding cricketing status to the advantage of other sports. With India hosting the World Hockey Cup this year, it’s just the right time to act towards this goal.

Chak De India, Chak De!




January 26, 2010 at 8:05 am 1 comment

‘3 Idiots’ and the three Ds

It has it all-great script, amazing casts, good cinematography, comic & highly hilarious scenes, et al. Helped with a controversy over the credits for the original storyline, ‘3 idiots’ is a huge hit at the box office as well, racking in almost Rs.200 crores in the first ten days of its release. And the cash box is still tingling.

The success of ‘ 3 idiots’ could also be attributed to the growing trivialization of higher education in the country where ranks, grades and percentiles are the only yardsticks of academic achievements, and its worth measured by the lucrative jobs you land up in. No method is mean as long as this “high purpose” of education to make a stylish living  is served well. Where education is a commodity, true learning is its first casualty.  The film contributes to this process of commodification of education quite ably.

In an age and time where effortless success is glorified, the rigours of serious academic pursuits are given a short shrift and instead a strategy evolved to acquire the degrees and the masters. An inquisitive mind, a sharpened intellect, an orientation for deep enquiry and thorough analysis -the hallmarks of a learned individual are so sadly lacking in men walking out of our educational portals.

Discipline, dedication and devotion need to be the essential characteristics of anyone in the pursuit of higher education. These three together provide the fertile ground for true learning to happen. Discipline would entail a rigourous adherence to a healthy routine of study and leisure, day in and day out. This conditions the mind to remain focused throughout and with ease. Dedication highlights the goal and purpose for which the knowledge is sought to be achieved and it should be for nobler ones. The acquired learning should be seen as an offering for the common good of the many and not as a tool for self-aggrandisement. And devotion reflects an approach filled with  humility to the subject of study and to the instructor. It instils in the student, a sense of reverence to both the teacher and to that what is taught and thus establishes a binding with the subject. Devotion ensures a life-long quest for knowledge without any anticipation.

Pursuing of higher education without these three Ds- Discipline, Dedication and Devotion- would only produce idiots. Not just three in number, but many times over!



January 5, 2010 at 7:26 pm 5 comments

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