India beat West Indies in the first T20, they really do make us proud every time they step on the field. Now, cricket experts will get around in a nice furnished studio and analyse the game from every angle. The news channels will show everything about the game for several hours and discuss Rohit’s insecurity with Kohli for months. Don’t get me wrong. I love cricket in fact, I have worked as a cricket reporter during the World Cup.
What if I told you Kabir Singh crossed the ₹300 crore mark? I bet the theatres would be housefull a day after! I used to love Bollywood but now it is so bad that I cannot even watch it for free, forget about spending in multiplexes. But for a while, I have been pondering upon a question: how is a country packed with 1.3 billion people so dominated by just two things?
Recently, Hima Das, a young 19-year-old girl from a small village in Assam, whose parents are farmers by profession, won 5 gold medals for the country while our media was focused on Sakshi-Ajitesh’s love story. She defied all odds and with bare minimum facilities, achieved the unexpected. Thanks to social media platforms, people like us were able to hear about her outstanding feat. But amidst all the news coverage, will she get the money and fame she deserves? Forget about money and fame, will she get the respect and recognition for achieving something so magnificent?
Why do they not receive the recognition they deserve? Why do we wait for them to achieve something first, get a biopic and then recognise them? You’re lying if you don’t think of Priyanka Chopra while witnessing Mary Kom in action, and of Fatima Sana Shaikh while looking at Geeta Phogat. We can always blame the system and the government but my friend, it is people like you and me who are so obsessed with cricket that we fail to appreciate other sports. In order to make other sports and sportsperson recognised we need to watch, appreciate and let our younger generations play it.
We go gaga over cricketers, like Shubman Gill in today’s time, we discuss him day in and day out and sing his praises on social media even before he has played the Ranji Trophy! How many weight lifters do we know who are doing well at the national level and preparing for the international level? How many boxers do we know? How many women under-19 cricketers do we know? None!
There is a woman who goes to my gym and has already won silver and bronze at the state level championship in power lifting and is now preparing for the nationals. How many people will know her if she wins? What kind of facilities will she get if she prepares for the international level? She is already a champion but unfortunately a champion with no recognition! It breaks my heart and makes me angry to think about these athletes who are giving their blood and sweat for the nation while we do absolutely nothing for them.
So how do we change this? We need to start taking up sports other than cricket and support them as well. We are a country with the largest youth population, the kind of manpower we have, we can achieve something which has never been achieved before not only in sports but in other fields as well. But for that, we need to work at the ground level and urge the government to look into these matters and provide these players all the necessary facilities. We need to take a step forward, love and respect them just like we do our men in blue!