Sona Sona Dil Mera Sona

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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?

Socho socho.

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 Qinan

“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”.

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86 thoughts on “Sona Sona Dil Mera Sona

  1. abhinav’s success proves that in India sportspersons can grow only if they are financially well provided for otherwise. I do not want to tke anything away from abhinav, becoz not every rich man’s son wins an olympic gold. But the poor sports infrastructure makes it difficult for everyone to participate in such pursuits. After all, a job in railways or punjab police offers more certainity and a steady pay check.

  2. Because he’s the hero India deserves but not the one it glorifies right now. So advertisers will hunt him. Because he can sell it. Because he isn’t only a hero. He’s our new superstar …. a celebrity endorser … Abhinav Bindra

  3. you forgot to mention the following as a result of Bindra’s success:
    1) advertising contracts that will dwarf dhoni
    2) 4 years stock of kaju barfi poured into the Bindra residence
    3) caste wars- as to which caste Bindra belongs to
    4) bollywood offers galore
    5) franship and marriage proposals….

    all i can say is that the relevance of Sohail Khan mind-melt “I proud to be Indian” has come out into the open….

    nothing to take away from the young man but an influential daddy sure comes in handy.

    I PROUD TO BE INDIAN – till the next bomb blasts

  4. Great job done by this namesake of mine….
    I have always wondered…
    it was always in the name 🙂
    jokes apart…Abhinav Bindra has made our nation mighty proud…you are a rockstar man.

  5. One of my bengali friends says that ‘I don’t like GreatBong because he always talks about Bengalis, their culture etc. And he’s too self-indulgent. And sarcastic.’

    All I have to say is ‘Hello, that’s what we like about him.’

    Lovely post!

    And I love Gill’s comments! 😉 ‘I congratulate myself.’ LOL

  6. Nice to see Vilasrao doling out Rs. 10 lakhs as ‘prize money’ to Abhinav when thousands of farmers are commiting suicides due to debt in Maharashtra…

    (*** My apologies for being a spoilsport, but kudos to Abhinav nonetheless ***)

  7. Zhu Qinan was the winner in Athens
    He is 24 and has won several awards
    His rise to fame is a tale of dedication and hard work
    I am sure he was regretting a missed chance
    Interestingly, both Qinan and Cao Yifei, another Chinese, are poorer to Abhinav Bindra. The facilities for them came from the government and the support from the people.

  8. This iPod thing is getting a bit stale now.

    GB, you come with some great titles for your posts.

    You remember Chitrahaar’s favorite song (Zhu zhu zhu …)!

    Congrats to Bindra 🙂

  9. @ Sachin…

    one of the reponses
    “Manoj Dahiya Says:

    August 4th, 2008 at 10:29 pm
    Hi sir!

    I’m great admirer of you.
    i’m confident that i’d be taking Rs 5 lakh to home as winner.
    Allow me take the challenge.
    thanx

    my contact no-9911187282,9868645378”

    ….i mean like this guy admires ramu’s work…vis-a-vis he can watch that movie n win coz he is so sure it wont be scary at all!!!!!…..he he he

  10. the coverage by good old doordarshan brought a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. it is yesterday once more.pure nostalgia.
    slow and easy commentry, weirdo anchors (the guy with the reading glasses and the morose one), the correspondents who are clerks at the corporation in their day jobs, socially uplifting messages by some sarkari department, unscheduled and unexpected breaks eg they cut off from aus vs brazil basketball game sixty seconds remaining in the last qtr.
    But thanks to them at least we are able to see the games. i understand that no private channel and sponsor will touch olympics with a pole.

  11. There might be quite a few unintentional only-one-person-in-the-hall screenings, considering the kind of movies RGV is making.

  12. @Anonymous the funny thing is that people are not afraid of watching “phoonk” as horror movie but r wondering how they will sustain 2 hrs torture in theater that too alone. 🙂

  13. I was thrilled on hearing the ‘shudhh hindi’ commentary after a long time, cannot recollect the last time when I watched any doordarshan (which has become pretty door from our tvs). The hindi commentator talking “Bhabishya ke garbh mein kya hai… ” etc on the opening ceremony. Honestly, none of us expected this guy after the hype & hooplah about Anjali Bhagwat,Mansher et all. Reading about Abhinav’s dad saying “Singh is King, Abhinav is king” was equally entertaining.

  14. Just wondering….Had Abhinav Bindra’s father been just a clerk in the central govt., would India be in the medal’s tally with 1 gold. It’s an open secret that he managed to achieve this feat not because of but in spite of the sports association. Congrats to Abhinav for this feat and a big thank you to his parents for allowing him to pursue his dreams.

  15. Zhu Qinan was crying cause he didn’t win gold. If the Indian, Bindra, had been in his place, i’m prety sure he would have been jumping around with joy. That, my friends, is the difference in standards. Bindra is an individual success, not something that the nation and the system needs to feel proud about.

    And GB, Phelps is competing in only 8 events and is trying to win 8 golds, not 9. I know its trivial, but facts are facts and you must get them right if you’re going to use them.

  16. The comment about a young man, roaming on the streets of beijing with the words ‘Mera baap ek Indian ke paas gold haara’….PRICELESS!!!

  17. One more thing GB…Almost all other State governments have announced awards for Abhinav Bindra …. Did not here anything from the West Bengal government…Do you have any info about the WB govt giving anything to AB…I guess this might be against their Marxian principles of not glorifying an individual’s achivement as it does not help furthering the party’s(oops Mr Quioxtic KARAT’s) cause …

  18. Ek adad gold medal ki keemat tum kya jano Zhu Babu?
    Pitaji ki sponsorship ka aashirwaad hota hai, ek adad gold medal.
    Har gareeb state ke paiso ki barsaat hota hai, ek adad gold medal.
    Har 100 saalo mein desh ka khwaab hota hai, ek adad gold medal.

    [Inspired by OSO!]

  19. @ Y2A : “xie xie” Abhinav

    I thought “xie xie” meant please / excuse me in Kwantanghua (Cantonese).

    I thought I picked up 2 Kwantanghua words from my travels there, “xie xie” & “mouaa”.

    Seems like I picked up only one !! 😦

  20. Slight correction there, GB, I think the Finnish guy who came third needs to be thanked more than the Chinese. He and Bindra were tied at first place till the last round. Bindra held his nerve under supreme pressure (an Indian? You don’t say!) and shot the best score of the evening by ANY shooter (a 10.8 out of a maximum of 10.9) while the Finnish guy shot the first score by a shooter under finalists (so much for the Hakkinens and the Raikonnens being called the “Ice Men” of racing) – a 9.7. In fact this score was so bad that he came third instead of what should have at least been a silver. The Chinese guy shot a decent round to vault to silver.

    And yet, Bindra has achieved this only because he has family money. The last thing as prize he needs is money from various associations. Rather fund various “Abhinav Bindra School of XYZ” academies that teach any olympic sport (with the exclusion of T20, if it becomes one).

  21. jhakass post boss!!

    btw when i saw the pics of the Indian contingent with Sania sans the sari…I had a feeling someone would bring it up.U did!!
    n i hope the Great Indian Babudom hasn’t got into this “indiscretion”.

  22. Many congratulations to Abhinav. And he sure does deserve all the praise in the world. His achievement is not hanks to any ‘official’ support.

    He’d better check his gold medal if it indeed is made of gold, after all it is ‘Made in China’. (Just kidding)

  23. In light of the William Tell – Dispensable Maid story, I withdraw all my congratulatory messages I typed, until my fingers bled, on various message boards, including Bindra’s blog.
    Risking injury to the maid, so that the Bindra could show off is reprehensible and should be condemned by all.
    The fact that this is not an issue in the media speaks volumes about the Indian society. We truly are a selfish lot.

    [edited out the expletives]

  24. The dus lakh rupees Maharashtra’s chief , Deshmukh, transferred to Bindra from the state’s treasury should be given to the poor maid who had to tolerate young frankenstein Bindra.

  25. You are the God of Sarcasm. Zhu zhu zhu, who remembers that song ? I am always surprised by the range of your knowledge !

  26. @tiger73007

    WB Govt cant declare a prize money for Bindra bcoz it will glorify an effort that upstaged CHINA !!!!! No way dude

  27. GB,

    What is this Ipod thing??? I see everyone asking ipod’s n all for commenting 1st, 2nd etc..? are you giving away Ipod’s?

  28. yes Vishesh….only the first one gets it…Ipod, that is.
    My entire village Panchayat has them now.

    It comes with assorted Bhojpuri classics from Greatbong’s personal collection.

  29. @ Kishor
    How come India’s first individual gold medal (and also first individual silver medal) was won by north indians ??
    Looks like a conspiracy against south indians.
    Perhaps from next time, 80% of olympic berths should be reserved for south indians.

  30. All these years i thot our olympic anthem was “sona nahi na sahi chandi nahi na sahi..” (one two ka four)..after a long wait gb and all of us are fortunate enough to do a bhangra on this gr8 bachchan saab hit..sona sona…

  31. Milkha Singh quote: “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.”

    Oh! Tasteless. My mind that is. Is that some kind of special Olympics GB, held in Chandigarh? Is that where you won the gold medal in ‘shooting’? LOL. Splendid post. I liked the snapshot of the medals tally after that day. We were in the Top 10!! As the days pass however, it is a slow and inexorable march to the bottom of the list. But thanks to Abhinav for at least making us feature there in the first place.

  32. I cannot take part in this RGV contest as I don’t think that I have the required guts.I tried watching AAG alone but freaked out in 30 minutes. Seriously speaking, Akshay Kumar can have this (watching AAG alone) as the final stunt to decide the winner in Khatron Ke Khiladi.

  33. Come on guys this is awesome..cut out the sarcasm..this guy has single handedly done what the suresh kalmadis, gandhis ,nehrus ..etc have stopped us from doing in 100 years..he has broken the attempt to demoralise indians by our own politicos..

    Now if only he tries target practice with the 100 odd ‘officials’ with the team

  34. Among all this brouhaha about AB we seem to have conveniently forgotten that this is also the first time that India has failed to qualify in hockey !!!

    By the way GB did you know that China’s first individual gold was also in shooting … in the 84 LA olympics … intersting trivia naa ???

  35. Congrats to Abhinav! And thanks a lot too! Give the guy a break on the maid incident, he was 7 for heaven’s sake. Thanks to his dad for helping his son achieve his dream but am I the only one who is starting to get a bit irritated by his father’s pronouncements on TV? The reaction of the Indian public can only be compared to a particular scene in Caligula. If you have watched it you know what I am talking about…Crescendo!

  36. Well done to Bindra! Great achievement given all that he has gone through especially on the injuries front.

    Having said that, I am surprised there has not been much hue and cry over the fact that the sight of his rifle was tampered with during the break when he and his coach had stepped out of the range. So much so that he shot a 4 when he tested the rifle on coming back & had to spend most of the time left in setting the sight right rather than preparing himself mentally for the final round.

    Two issues here:

    a) Apparently, only someone from the Indian support team contingent would have been able to get close to the rifle! If that is true, I wonder what drives whoever it is that did this. Why would you want to deprive someone from your country of the chance to gain Olympic glory?

    b) On the other hand, imagine if this had happened to a foreign shooter in an Indian range – all hell would have broken loose about how India is not fit to host a world class event etc etc. I am surprised even Indians have not raised a hue and cry on this front. Would it have been the same had Abhinav failed to win a medal?

  37. Hi Arnab,
    Very funny post as usual.
    “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 if he wond lottery twice and get struck by lightning on the same day would India have won both gold and silver? yeh to sochne wali baat hai…
    Cheers,
    Salil

  38. lucky chap…fame , money and billion admirers…i am so jealous..LOL. I think the shooting vooting thing is easier than cracking the competitive exams.

  39. can the sharp shooters also participate in this game???? in dat case may be we can confer Indian nationality on some pro-firang and make him participate in the next olympics…..wat say???

  40. Poochandi – I, too, grew up in an upper middle class home, and I, too, was 7 once. But I never mistreated those wretched people whose sole purpose in life is to serve India’s baba log.

    To be honest, I am frustrated with the media and the great Indian middle class who, by not condemning the maid’s exploitation, once could argue, have even legitimized it.

    At times I wonder, why they keep taking it, why don’t they rise en masse and…………

    And, btw, I am no “bleeding heart Lefty”, anything but.

  41. Does anybody know whether the West Bengal sarkar, the Hindu newspaper, Prakash Karat or Arundhati Roy congratulated young bindra

  42. @Shovon
    Even if everybody in your hostel watched that movie, it would not be more than the number of “participants” in the movie. I suppose there was a horse there too, but the details are too hazy for me!

    @Miffed at Bindra – Angry at Middle class India
    You are all going Renuka Chowdhary on a 7 year old kid. The Tell incident is a stupid act by a kid and not a mistreatment. Mistreatment is something like the US PI couple did.

  43. @Poochandi:

    “The Tell incident is a stupid act by a kid and not a mistreatment. Mistreatment is something like the US PI couple did.”

    Just a point I need to make. The Tell incident *is* a stupid act by a kid. True. However it does say something disturbing about the the feudalism that still remains in very affluent families. It also attests to the haplessness of hired help when working in a house where they are being, possibly, paid a lot of money.

    Let us consider the situation from the maidservant’s viewpoint. Why do you think a human being would hold an object on her head in the sights of a air gun being fired by a seven year old kid where a misshot could lead to anything from pain to perhaps the loss of an eye? (Remember this was not just Bindra taking a sudden potshot at anyone but the servant holding the object on her head, in a pre-determined way)

    Forget the kid here…it is true he knew nothing about the implication of his actions.

    But what about the maid servant, who definitely knew the implication of her actions. The fact that she went ahead with this whole thing, rather than refuse, just points to her helplessness driven no doubt by the fact that she was being well-paid and could not afford to lose her job and knew that even saying no to a seven year old kid was cause enough for termination. Isnt there some sort of “mistreatment” here?

    Whats even more amazing is that so many years hence, Mr. Bindra would repeat this incident to reporters not even realizing that this reflected rather poorly on him and the family in general. Which shows that he still, even 20 years after the incident, just does not “get it”.

    This is not an attempt to belittle Abhinav’s achievement or be overtly political correct (as I consider myself the last person to be p.c.)—I do hope you understand that,

  44. Is there ANYTHING we can do to loosen the grip of greedy officials and corrupt politicians on Indian sports? Or are we condemned to simply crib, complain, mock and wait for the next outrage so we can repeat the ccm cycle?

  45. And Arnab wins the gold for RIPPING people apart and making the audience laugh right off their chairs while he’s at it.

  46. GB:

    IMHO a seven year old has better sense than to shoot a bottle of someone’s head whether it is a maid or a dog. The maid may be to blame partially for consenting to it. heck, when I was seven…..I was taking care of my younger sibling, doing light chores around the household and perhaps a little too mature for my age. of course I grew up in a lower middle class environment where my both my parents worked hard (full time jobs) to provide to us and the extended family who were constantly around at some pretext or the other….

    Just another perspective…….now that Prince Abhinav has won gold here comes the dowry procession!!

    Cliff

  47. Now that Bindra has won a gold he should be allowed to target practice at Kalmadi and Karat.

    Yes, Bindra senior is totally clueless about socially correct remarks. Feudal,very.

  48. Hey – Zhu Qinan happened to get silver just cos Henri Hakkinen screwed up the last shot and slipped from joint 1st to 3rd. Else Zhu zhu zhu would’ve been 3rd, no? So we should thank Hakkinen instead, and so should Zhu.

  49. “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.”

    :)))) Just remembered the most interesting target practice ever possible.:))

  50. “This iPod thing is getting a bit stale now”

    u r damn ryt……..GB should introduce new gifts with xciting offers 2 go along…………

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