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SPORTS AND POLITICS OF EXTRAVAGANCE
Today it is Karanam Malleswari! Yesterday it was P.T.Usha! Tomorrow, some one else!
These people run, lift weights, throw balls, play chess, swim, crawl, jump upward and jump downward! They keep on doing various strange acts and bring 'prestige' to the country!
Today, it is Karanam Malleswari who protected the 'honour' of the 100-crore population of India. So many crores of people are lingering on the shoulders of a single individual for the sake of their 'honour'! As this sportswoman saved these entire unknown and inefficient people of India from 'disrepute', all the governments are dumping lakhs and lakhs of money. They are handing over several acres of land! The ministers, governors and presidents are showering eulogies! All the capitalists are competing with each other in giving away many prizes including cars from big companies. There is a flood of titles (like 'vira naari', 'vira vanita' etc.,), processions and felicitations!
Well, what has she done? She participated in 'some' competition, lifted 'some' weight for few seconds and won the third prize! This is the 'valorous deed' that she did!
How does any one attain such valour? It is the valour which sports persons attain by stopping all their studies and jobs which human beings ought to do naturally; by practicing weightlifting throughout the day without doing anything which human beings ought to do; by investing unlimited food as capital and enlarging the body to the largest possible size beyond the limits of human body; by dreaming of the future prizes, heaps of money and felicitations and by lifting the 'iron wheels' for many years. This is how any sports person attains this valour. It is such a valour, which is impossible to attain unless there are many things like special coaches, special instruments, special sports dress that tightens the body, special gymnasiums and special techniques! Despite all this, the valour of a person evaporates even if there is one-day break in practice. It disappears if there is no bellyful of 'fodder' daily. It is such a valour, which remains only if the practice goes on daily for many hours. Is such artificially acquired capacity an example for human capacity?
The differences in the capacity among human beings reveal only when these sports persons exhibit their capacity by doing other duties as other persons do; by eating average food which all people eat and by making attempts just as student-players in schools do, only then will the differences in the abilities among human beings reveal themselves. Such differences will be the 'natural' differences. Even if all people practice for many years and exhibit such exclusively practice-based ability, it cannot be a proof for the natural ability of human beings.
A person may lift more weight than the other for few seconds while lifting iron wheels made of equal weight on both the sides of the rod. So what? What is the 'use' of lifting any number of kilograms? Except the damage of the body due to heart pain or headache? Can that person lift the same weight if it is in the form of a tar drum or a heap of bricks instead of in the form of wheels of equal weight on both sides of the lifting rod? Can (s)he carry a bag of 100-kilo grain from the field and put it on a cart? Can she carry a bag of rice from the shop and deliver it at her house with ease of effort? Does her capacity of weightlifting help either her or others on any occasion in daily life? It is not at all useful. Then why such a capacity? Is it only to lift iron wheels?
Look at the frail bodied coolies who carry heavy weights of hundreds of kilos with ease in the fields, mills and market yards! Even the woman coolies engaged in house building activities carry cement bags with ease. The poor women in the villages walk many furlongs with three water carriers over their heads and with kids to their waists. They do all these things with their frail bodies that lack sufficient food daily. All those activities, which these people do--whatever and wherever they carry weights--are essential for human life. What is the relevance of this weight lifting to the lives of these valorous women and men?
If we consider 'ability to run', how is it useful to the real life of the person who wins the running race? Will he go running when he wants to go to any other place? He won't. Like all others who could not win the race, this hero who won the race too will take a bus or train. Well then, how did his ability to run better than others help him in his daily life?
What is the need to adore such use-less abilities, dump lots of money and arrange such grand felicitations? Aren't there ways to utilize money fruitfully? The government statistics itself shows that there are about 40 thousand orphan children in Hyderabad City alone. There are hundreds of poor children who are physically handicapped and more particularly the visually handicapped. This is about one place. If we take the whole state? The entire country? What sort of facilities are the governments making for these people? Even if there are a couple of hostels in a city, what sort of arrangements do we find there? There won't be proper food. No proper supply of water. No proper lavatories. No medicines. No books. What do we find? Nothing. The governments ignore even the life and death needs of these people. They are deaf to any number of appeals. The governments use police force to chase even the blind students who come to the government offices for representing their demands. The governments do not respond to the problems of people however genuine they may be. They don't utter any other word except 'No money! No money! No money!'
But, all governments are flooded with money in the case of Karanam Malleswari. The government of Andhra Pradesh gifted her a house site, a car and some money in 1995. Now it has initially declared a gift of 10 lakhs. Subsequently it handed over 25-lakh worth of house site measuring 538 sq. yards in Jubilee hills at Hyderabad; another 25 lakhs for building a house in the site; an acre of land at another place for the school of weight lifting which she proposes to establish and yet another 9-lakh fund to construct a building for the school. The Maharashtra government gave 51 lakhs on its own and 26 lakhs, which it collected from capitalists. Haryana government gave 25 lakhs and some acres of land. The Bihar government gave 11 lakhs. The Tamil Nadu government gave 5 lakhs! The Kerala government gave a lakh! One lakh, eleven thousand, one hundred and sixteen at Vijayawada felicitation! A real estate company gifted a plot measuring 500 sq.yards near Shamshabad. Still the other governments, the other cities and other capitalists are standing in the queue and competing with each other to present her bags of money. There seems to be no end to these gifts.
What is the value of house site given at Visakhapatnam? What is the value of one-acre land given at Hyderabad? What is the value of several acres of land and the building given in Haryana? What is the total value of all sites, buildings, cars, expenditure on felicitations, money and every thing taken together? Is it money or earthen? Whose labour is all this? Whose hard earned money is this? What do you call this kind of presentation of land and money: plundering of public money or giving of gifts?
They are doing all this just for a third medal. Wouldn't they have transferred the entire territory of India in her name had she won the first medal? Wouldn’t they have handed all of us over to Malleswari?
What is all this? They say this is 'encouraging rural woman'. But there are many infants in the rural areas that are turning blind due to lack of minimal health care. People are suffering with ill health due to lack of drinking water either. Owing to the lack of employment in rural areas, people are moving to nearby towns, engaging in such professions as loading and unloading heavy goods, building houses, pulling carts and living like pigs in their dwellings on the edges of drainage canals. Are all these heaps of money, sites, cars and buildings, which they are giving to Malleswari, for the upliftment of rural masses?
What these schools, which Malleshwari proposes to establish, are going to contribute to the country? What sort of education are they going to offer? They are going to divert children from studies and teach them weightlifting. Will these children with training in weightlifting carry articles or heavy bags? None of these do they carry. They simply lift iron wheels. They will be obsessed with the desire of winning medals. However much they do, only one person will come first.
If a hundred persons learn the work of 'weaving', 'tailoring', 'carpentry' or 'cultivation', all the hundred persons will be able to do their respective jobs. None of the jobs of those people will go waste. But in the case of this business of competitions, there remains only one valorous man or valorous woman at the end, despite the training of thousands of persons for many years. Rest of them are 'useless'! Even that one particular valorous person will not have any work to do either for the sake of others or for her own sake. These valorous persons simply earn 'money'. Which means, they 'plunder' heaps of money, which has no connection with their 'labour'.
If that person returns his home country without winning any medal, people won't see his face at all. There won't be any one who will speak to him. People do not exhibit the common sense that 'if there is success on one side, there will be defeat on the other side'! The persons who lost the game , if they have any sense of shame, will have to die with the feeling of humiliation when they face the 'reception' that they get. But they too will become thick-skinned. On the whole all people will give up their sense of self-respect.
An American sportsperson, who won many medals, abused his body thoroughly, broke his back and is living at the mercy of the wheel chair. Destroying every sense for the sake of 'money' is the culture of the class of exploiters. All this is the culture that deceives, lures and divert the people.
The general public--who become mad by looking at the movable and immovable assets which Malleswari and such other sportspersons acquire without difficulty--chase their children too in the same path. Why studies? Why jobs? They consider everything and anything that the government does as a right path?
The schools that do 'sports business' import into society valorous men and women who lift weights, who run, who throw balls and elephant-like persons who hit blows on each other's face. All these persons with valour perform service to the country by lifting weights and by exhibiting various valorous deeds in competitions held at various levels: taluk, district, state, national and international.
'Sports' are, of course, necessary for physical and mental health and happiness. But, 'competition' turns human beings into strange animals. The person who participates in competition holds a mean and narrow view thus, "I alone should win! All others should lose!" There is no scope at all for a different thought, namely, "This is a sport. Participants exhibit their respective abilities." Joy for those who win! Sorrow for those who lose! Even the viewers spit into two camps. There is no scope for all viewers to enjoy the sport.
Wining or losing of a game by any side won't hurt any one if people play games just for the sake of enjoyment and not with a sense of competition. Then there won't be heaps of money that a winner gets. Winning and losing a game do not go beyond the playground.
In the view of the people who argue that 'competition is the driving force for the progress of human beings', progress means 'money' only! In their view, 'progress' means 'earning lakhs and crores free without doing any thing.
"We can't enjoy games if there is no competition", argue some people. Such people in fact derive pleasure from 'competition' and not from 'games'!
If competition enters the game, then it ceases to be a game. It means that it has turned into a 'gambling' or 'addiction'. All sports competitions are gambles just as playing cards and horse races.
The exploitative governments know pretty well that sports competitions, like all other kinds of gambles, tie people to false ideas and it is very safe for them if people are mislead. Hence, governments spread the culture of gambling as a political tactic. This extravaganza connected with Malleswari episode is pretty useful to the government to divert the attention of the people from the immediate problems.
A country gets prestige not because a person of the country lifts weights or run. It gets prestige when conditions form whereby the entire population of that country live with comfort and happiness. It also gets prestige when there are no such phenomena as poverty, crime, fights, murders and suicides. The governments that do not want genuine values glorify the path that deceive people.
China, when its first steps in the path of communism started, tried to abandon this culture of gambling. But gradually it began steps backward, upheld the culture of gambling, immersed in the same culture in all spheres and exposing itself that its Communism is merely a mask and nothing else. Similarly, CPI and CPM that claim themselves as communists are adoring this deceptive bourgeois culture of gambling and are playing their part in eulogizing that Malleswari worked very hard and it is not easy to get medals and such honours without much hard work, implying that she earned all these lakhs, land and assets by hardwork.
The activists of a Dalit organization are demanding that 10-lakh award of Andhra Pradesh government to Malleswari is not enough and hence the government should raise the prize amount. 'Struggle' for lakhs of rupees for a woman who lifts weights has now become part of the 'Dalit' movement. There cannot be a better example to show that people have lost their path.
But all people are not so stupid. Many people are also amazed at the episode of Malleswari. They are upset thus, "why are they dumping so many lakhs on a single person? What is the use if some one lifts weight? Will it secure people food or clothing? What a sin is this!" People with such feelings can write letters to the newspapers expressing their dissentious attitude. They can even write letters to the government itself. They can question the MLAs who won elections with their voles.
Will the world be so blind as it is now, if people's dissent turns into such a practice?
(Translated from Telugu. The Telugu original appeared in 'Andhra Jyoti' weekly, dt. 24-11-2000.)
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