The Torchbearers


Another Olympics have come around. The extravaganza of the Olympics is set in London this year. Over the next few weeks we will see the best and the worst of humankind. Over the next few weeks humans will strive to become Gods, push themselves and their bodies to limits that the body was not designed for.

But much before the first whistle is blown at the Games, they are kicked off through a series of events. The most visible of these is the Olympic Torch.

The Torch is a symbol of the purity of the human spirit and its endeavour for perfection. But more specifically, the Torch is for the purity of the Sporting spirit and its endeavour for perfection. So I fail to understand how it can be carried by politicians, business persons and personalities from the performing arts. I do not in any way mean that their achievements are inconsequential, but what on Earth are they doing carrying the Olympic torch?

Fortunately India has never had the opportunity of hosting the Games. If we did, the list of torchbearers might read – Sonia Gandhi, L. K. Advani, Shah Rukh Khan, Amitabh Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai, Priyanka Chopra, the Ambani brothers, etc. While names like P. T. Usha, Ashwini Nachchappa, Prakash Padukone, and other lesser known sports persons would be left out. It would be left to some journalist somewhere to reach out to these forgotten sportspersons and ask them about the pain of being forgotten by a nation that decides someone’s importance based on how many times they appear on the television.

Nobody asks Sania Mirza to open a business conference or Bishen Bedi Singh to lead a political party at the elections and when we do put a sportsperson in a movies it is usually as a sportsperson. So what makes it okay for Sonia Gandhi or Ratan Tata or Abhishek Bachchan to carrying a torch for sports?

As a nation, we have not had too many successful sportspersons. But that doesn’t make it okay for us to insult the ones who tried and didn’t make it.

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