Modi Frees Sports
From the Elite Class
By Someswar Bhagwat
Cricket once was the game of the aristocrats, played by the Nawabs like Pataudi and Rajas like ‘Vizzy’ (Maharaj Kumar of Vizianagaram). They also could be captains or administrators with their wealth. Most of them were from ‘higher’ castes.
The situation has changed now. Top honours have been won by boys and girls who are children of roadside hawkers, maids or farmers or were so themselves.A friend narrated the story of the 16 hockey players:Rani Rampal comes from Shahabad where her father runs a tonga. (horse cart). Gurjit Kaur Miyad Kalan is the daughter of an Amritsar farmer. Salima lives even today in a kutcha house in Jharkhan where her sister works as a housemaid.
Nikki Pradhan is daughter of a Jharkhand policeman.Vandana Kataria is from Roshnabad, near Haridwar and learnt to play hockey with a tree branch as she comes from a poor family. Navjot Kaur’s father works as a mechanic in Muzaffarnagar,l UP.
The goalkeeper Savita Punia, lives in a kutcha house. Nisha Waris is the tailor’s daughter. Neha Goyal, from Sonepat Haryana, did not have money to get hockey shoes. The father Udita Duhan from Hisar was a policeman who died in 2015. Sharmiladevi Kumari is from Hisar where her father is a farmer. Also dead is the father of Lal Rem Siamese of Mizoram. Deepa Grace is from Sundergarh, Orissa, and till date there is no water and electricity in the village.
Monika Malik is from village Gamdi in Sonepat. She tried wrestling and then liked hockey. Reena Khokhar is a resident of Nayagaon Mohali. Her father is in B S F. Though the team lost narrowly, its play is highly appreciated. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who spoke individually to all medal winners and boosted the hockey girls’ morale by speaking to them even after loss.
No national leader has done as much for boosting India’s Olympic medal tally as Modi did and still Congressmen find fault with naming of Modhera stadium after Modi while justifying hundreds of sports events, awards, and venues being named after members of the dynasty that was adept at playing only one ‘game’ – dirty politics