Aug 25, 2010

Indian Sports: Beyond Cricket?

At the recent world conference on Mathematics, the World Champion in chess, Vishwanathan Anand, was not conferred a PhD in Mathematics. And the reason for this was that, he is not an Indian. It was after some enlightenment that he is indeed an Indian, that this folly was realized and the HRD ministry tendered an apology to the Grandmaster.

(Image Courtesy: 

Such is the state of a sport (and its stars), other than cricket (and of course the cricketers). For a person who used to look upon Mr. Anand as an inspiration to achieve greater heights in life, this was indeed a great disappointment. Agreed that the nation eats cricket and sleeps cricket, but it sure needs to have people in responsible positions who can think beyond cricket.

And to top it all, Mr. Anand is a part of the 'Olympic Gold Quest' that has been formed to support the country's elite sportspersons and talent towards the Olympic endeavor. It would indeed be a slap on the face of the government, if Mr. Anand continues to serve on this Board. But, I sincerely hope that Mr. Anand continues to serve on this board, because that is the only way for a sportsperson from a non-cricket background to get into in the spotlight despite the step-motherly treatment by the corporate sponsors and the government agencies.

If Mr. Anand not staying in India is a reason for this non-Indian stature, why raise make a fuss about an ABCD Sanjaya Malakar on the American Idol or Sunita Williams' India trip? They don't even represent India, and the government and the media put them in the spotlight for so long.

Indeed this step-motherly treatment towards the sportspersons of merit must stop! I am sure there are lot more Saina Naiwals, Vijender Singhs, Abhinav Bindras, Sushil Kumars and others hidden in the country, thanks to this form of ignorance in India. And they need to be unearthed!


  1. Very well put out points. Also, i like the way ANAND was so dignified throughout this episode.


  2. Better late than never... Hope Commonwealth 2010 revives some sort of sensitivities in Indians for rest of the games.

  3. I completely agree. Loved the point about ABCDs. We ignore talented people living in India but we adopt the ones settled abroad as representatives.


  4. The confusion was warranted. Anand has a residence in Spain. The government only wanted to confirm his citizenship. In fact, if the government, instead of asking Anand for his citizenship status, looked into his records without clearance, it would be far, far worse. Again, people with too much time on their hands are making a mountain out of a (microscopic) molehill.

  5. @Shreyansh - true, Anand dealt with it in a very dignified way, probably gotten used to this by now :)

    @LifeTrace - CWG is just another way for the government babus to make money. I doubt if it will make a difference to the lives of other sportsmen. Where are the medal winners of 1998 CWG games? We don't even know them.

    @Aishwarya - :) I just hope that stance changes. I am sure the Indians in India deserve better!

    @Loki - Well, it was an issue blown out of proportion by the media/others, I agree. But it is better than having a new articles on when/how Dhoni met his wife.
    My point is that, a sportsperson of this stature didn't deserve this dishonor.


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