THE OLYMPICS WITH A BHARATIYA TWIST
In these depressing times of communalism, growing intolerance, rising prices of arhar daal and no beef to eat anywhere, there is some good news for my fellow citizens.
I have finally figured out why India, home to over a billion people, produces so few gold medal winning sportsmen/women or athletes at the Olympic Games. My insights – based on Vedic principles- if taken seriously by the current government, can turn around its rapidly falling popularity among the Indian people and also bring great prestige to the entire country globally.
Some people (usually pseudo-athletic, neighbouring country-loving intellectuals) mistakenly think it is all about low nutrition levels of the masses, poor training, lack of infrastructure or state support for sporting activity etc., If these treasonous graduates from JNU are to be believed, India is a live version of the ‘Hunger Games’ and not an ancient and prosperous land of wise, tolerant, democratic, kind, generous, compassionate, animal-loving and highly spiritual people.
That is all of course total Communist propaganda and for me the reason for our nation’s repeated sporting failures is quite straightforward- the values of the Olympics are plain Greek to Indians. Let us face the truth – despite Alexander the Great’s foray into the subcontinent two millennia ago, most of the sports at the Olympic Games are completely alien to the entire history, philosophy and ethos of Indians.
By ‘Indians’ I mean of course, upper-caste, middle-class Indians who are the only ones in our land with time, money, opportunity to pursue sporting activities in any meaningful way. The underclasses of India are too busy doing decathlons every day to keep those above them happy and contented.
I am serious about this mismatch between the Greek and Indian worldviews and what I am about to say just now has important implications for India’s future strategy at the next Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. If only the sports authorities woke up to my analysis I can guarantee that one way or the other we will surely get all the gold available at the next Games and ever after too.
To begin with we have to understand a few simple facts. There is no such thing as a universal sport- every sport has a unique history, emerges from a particular social milieu and is suited to a particular way of life. It is easily understood and practiced only by those who conform to its specific cultural demands. This means, that an Indian attempting a Greek sport is as dubious as a Greek trying to sing an Indian song.
If that is too confusing, let me give the example of the hundred meters track event in which, barring a very few exceptions, India has never produced any
promising athletes in its entire sporting history (please, let us not bring Hanumanji into this story!). My contention is that, this has nothing to do with lack of training or stamina or any general deficiency of the Indian physique as such- it has to do with something much deeper – good culture or sanskriti.
No privileged Indian, worth his salt, will run a 100 meters very fast just because somebody promised him a piece of gold. That would be so below his status. After all why should someone as exalted should have to run at all when there is always a ‘Munna’ or a ‘Chhotu’ around to quickly go and fetch the gold? And who is this fellow with a fake gun– he will fire it and I am supposed to start running? What is his caste anyway?
Also, Indians know this sport is a cheap Western colonial trick of some kind. The Greeks invented the trick in ancient times and over the centuries the Europeans perfected it. In modern times, the rest of the world, including the Americans and Russians have fallen for it repeatedly, with the Chinese fast catching up. The Indian approach to getting gold is very, very different and based on the belief that only a fool or a thief would run for gold.
Instead, we know from our ancient sages that the best way to obtain gold is by sitting down calmly, becoming completely immobile, breathing deeply and removing all vulgar thought of the shiny metal from our consciousness. As a result of this penance all the gold in the world will magically land, all by itself, at our feet. Many of our modern sages, who appear on television, can testify to the power of this technique, having become billionaires from being mere yoga masters just a few years ago.
Of course, I am not denying there are other reasons too for Indians not winning gold medals at such events. For example, the entire world knows, that we are too polite a people to get ahead of other people by using muscle power. Due to the last thousand years of slavery for example, a cultured Indian is supposed to say ‘pehle aap’ all the time and that has prevented many a great sportsman from our country getting past the finishing line before his rivals.
Another problem we have, is also the general level of chivalry that exists among Indian men. This foolish attitude has taken such deep roots in the male population that, out of sheer generosity, even our best male runners refuse to get past average women athletes from other countries in any race! Sad but true, our gentlemanliness and concern for the female gender is the cause of our downfall, when it comes to sporting competitions.
Some differences between the Indian and Greek approaches to sports go much, much deeper and have to do with attitudes of their and our ancestors towards the material world and the human body itself.
An example of how the Indian approach hampers our ability to win gold medals is that of the hurdles event. For civilizations that derive their origins in ancient Greece, a hurdle is something that can be physically overcome by simply training hard, making some effort and jumping over it.
Not so simple for the highly cerebral Indians. For them philosophically all hurdles, everywhere, are but illusions and exist only in the mind of the observer. As a result, the average Indian sportsman tries to physically go through the obstacle, believing it will just vanish as he approaches. But for some strange reason, the damn thing just doesn’t disappear and stands like a donkey in the way!
Is it our fault that the real world out there refuses to comply with the description of it given by the greatest of our seers? Why should we believe our physical senses when the ancient texts we read tell us something far more sublime and beautiful and enriching our already fertile imagination?
Of course, some of our athletes, trying to beat the system, have tried other methods at the hurdles, such as, quietly lowering the bar when no one was looking. An even better Indian technique tried was to go around the obstacle, while smiling wisely at those foolish enough to deplete their bodily liquids leaping over them. That such methods do not get us any gold medals is because of the Western conspiracy to keep India in the ranks of the Third World. And this when, given our contributions to the discipline of mathematics, we should actually be placed in the Zero World!
This wide gulf between Greek and Indian philosophies is also manifested in the way we deal with our bodies. For the Greeks, the body was something to be developed, made stronger, fitter and finer, whereas much of Indian thought has been directed towards negating the very fact of physical existence. Whereas the ancient Greek’s greatest ambition was to run on the treadmill of life for as long as possible the ancient Indian sought not just to jump off this pain-producing device but also prevent it from going around in cycles forever.
The Greeks and the Western civilization they inspired, worship the ephemeral, material body whereas we have been historically obsessed with getting rid of this needless baggage of flesh, blood and bones altogether. No treadmill = No treading = No inconvenience = All is Well. So went the impeccable logic of our forefathers and they were absolutely right, of course.
So what is the way out then? Are we to write off ever coming back with gold from the Olympic Games? Are we going to be a ‘nation of fools’, as some award-returning, sickular writer claimed recently?
No need to be so pessimistic. I think, one possible solution could be to force the organizers of the Olympics to change both the sports events they host and the rules by which they are played (easy, we just point our nukes at them)
For example, one change to the current Olympic system and its rules could include making it compulsory for all athletes to recite the ancient Gayatri mantra before commencing their efforts at winning gold. While our competitors stand tongue-tied, mumbling this ancient Indian ode to the Sun God, we can easily amble past them to the finishing post. This would fit in perfectly with the ethos of the Rig-Veda- a rigged sporting event.
Another possible rule change, keeping with other fine aspects of Indian tradition, could be to allow ‘twice-born’ athletes to run only half the distance in track events, to be declared the winner (just like it happens routinely, in all spheres of Indian life). Given that no other country produces this special variety of human being at all, we will dominate the Olympics all the way into the distant future. Surely our fellows can cover fifty meters before their competitors do a hundred?
Another idea, I want to suggest, is to forge a new version of the Games altogether–where we introduce sports of purely ‘Bharatiya origin’, i.e. games that only Indians can win. Here are a few possible events that come to mind:
Queue jumping: This is a subtle sport, ubiquitous on the Indian sub-continent and also found in some parts of Akhand Bharat. Contrary to what many may think, this is not a game for the crude and unsophisticated. Those who win are not the ones who aggressively jump ahead of others in the queue by muscling their way through. That is too tamasik for the highly cultured Indians.
Instead, it is the clever and cunning who make it to the top of the line. All they need to do is simply feign an air of authority, wield fine clothes in the place of a stick and pretend to be also a stickler for rules. At the end of this elaborate process of pure theater, irrespective of where the fellow started from, he will be mysteriously in front very soon. This is a miracle achievable only by souls well-trained in the intricacies of the Indian caste system and foreigners will never be able to compete at all.
Indian Fencing: In this innovative sport, contrary to the violence involved in its Western counterpart event with a similar name, there will be no use of swords or of any force at all. Each participant will be given the same amount of material to make a fence and the winner will be the one who can build a viable fence around the largest amount of public land he/she can grab. The rules will also allow Indian participants to just wave their hands around to indicate the size of land they plan to grab – the more impressive the wave the more points they get.
Discus throw: Conventionally in the Greco-Roman version of this sport, participants are required to throw a UFO shaped object as far as they physically can. Those who participate in this competition are typically expected to have excellent shoulder muscles and a flexible body to add power to their throw. On the contrary, in the Indian version, the only thing required are excellent lungs and glib tongues and the competition will take place inside a television studio.
On hearing the word ‘discus’ the participant will immediately start a long shouting match, where volume and volubility will trump any attempt by the opponent to reply in a reasonable way. It is a sport practiced every evening on primetime TV talk shows where both the discussion and discussants are thrown over long distances with sheer decibel power. No prizes for guessing who is going to be the first ever Indian gold medallist if this game is accepted as part of the Olympics.
‘Havan’athon: In this ancient Indian sport, all that the International Olympics Committee has to do, is to allow our country’s learned sadhus and gurus to attend the Games. They should be provided with necessary infrastructure to start a small fire, a loudspeaker to chant their mantras and fans to blow the smoke towards the referees.
The gurus will then hand out holy ash to all athletes who have been foolish enough to win medals at the Olympics. At the end of the Games I can bet most, if not all the winners, convinced of the futility of competition and burdened with guilt about their decadent material desires, will voluntarily deposit their hard-won gilt at the feet of our sadhus.
Om Swaha. Ha,ha,ha!
(Satya Sagar is a writer and public health worker)