At last. India wins an individual gold medal. After 112 years.
Screw ace-swimmer Michael Phelps and his quest for 8 individual gold medals.
Woh kya jaane ek gold ki keemat.
Humse puchho yaar.
And in this golden moment, when we as a nation step from an old age to the new, it is time to remember those who made this achievement possible and express our sincerest gratitude to them.
So come join me in thanking the following ——
The maid servant in the Bindra family who allowed herself to be used as a human target for seven-year old Bindra’s air gun.
It’s a modern, slightly altered version of the Swiss folktale where William Tell, a 14th century rebel, shot an apple off his son’s head with an arrow. When just seven years old, Abhinav Bindra placed an empty bottle on the head of one of his domestic maids, took aim and before anybody could notice fired the airgun. Abhinav was too young to understand the dangerous implication of his act. But no harm was done: as in Beijing on Monday, Bindra was bang on target. [Link]
Sports minister MS Gill and every Indian including me. [Link]
MS Gill said:
I congratulate myself and every other Indian.
How could Bindra have motivated himself had not Gill’s Sports ministry deliberately put adversity in the path of the shooting team (after all what’s a sporting story without insurmountable odds) by stopping the procurement of ammunition, a decision that pushed the shooting team to declare its intention to boycott the games out of desperation since they had been reduced to shooting with blanks? And how could Gill have flapped his gills if we, the people, had not elected the Congress in the first place?
Milka Singh and his wife. [Link]
In Chandigarh, everyone is aware that my wife, who was the director of sports, contributed a lot to the development of the shooting range in the garden city.
Suresh Kalmadi and Indian officialdom
One man can make a difference. Yes sir. For years Kalmadi has jetted around the world, on taxpayer’s money, strategizing, planning, and making Olympian decisions. Today the fact that young Abhinav is standing on the winner’s podium is to a large extent due to his untiring, publicly-funded efforts. Not just me but the whole world has recognized his importance in the cosmic scheme as Kalmadi was recently awarded a most prestigious award by the IOC (even before Bindra won a gold medal) for his contribution towards the Olympic movement and for promoting Olympic sports in India. [No I did not make that up. He *actually* got that award]
And what to say about our chef d’mission Murugan who, through his inspired leadership, has earned the title of “Quick gun” Murugan especially the alacrity with which he and the other officials kicked out Monika Devi of Manipur for failing a drug test that she actually had not failed, in the process triggering of a political crisis. After all, what’s an athlete here and there as long as there are 42 official officials (the number of “unofficial” officials is close to 100) all tagging around, burning tax-payer money, money that was supposed to be invested in athletes and equipment. And not to forget the super-officials, officials who rule the officials and in the darkness bind them, taking important decisions like which head-honcho gets the window seat and discharging the onerous responsibility of informing the press as to why Sania Mirza was not in a sari.
“Zhu zhu zhu. Yasodha ka nandlala” Zhu Qinan who lost the gold to Bindra. Yes let us thank this man too. Or more accurately express our deepest sympathies. It’s not everyday that one loses an Olympic Gold to an Indian. As a matter of fact, losing gold to an Indian is as rare an occurrence as being stuck by lightning twice and winning the lottery on the same day.
But it happened to Zhu and as evidenced by his copious tears at the awards ceremony, he knows that the Chinese commissars are not going to be happy at the end of the Olympics when they do their performance evaluation. A loss to the US or Germany or the UK they understand. But India?
Do not be surprised if a generation later, a young man is found walking around in Beijing with an arm that has tattooed on it, (“Deewar” style) the Mandarin message “Bam Chik Bum Bum” (for context read my post on Tahalka) which in Hindi means “Mera baap Indian se gold haara”.