Of course Cricket is the big dog – and cricketers earn more money and fame than every one else in sports in India. Field hockey probably is next in demand, since India occasionally shows sparks of brilliance. Then there is a variety of other things like athletics, swimming, tennis etc where India tries hard, but generally with limited success.
But despite the lack of glory in international arena – India has always had government sponsored awards for its sports persons – players and coaches. The top three being Rajeev Gandhi Khel Ratna, Arjuna award for players and Drona award for coaches. Rajeev Gandhi – though I don’t know if he was accomplished in sports or not, was India’s Prime Minister, and probably an award in his name can be justified for his work as an administrator who supported sporting events.
But I do wonder what is the rationale for naming awards after to characters from Hindu Mythology who never stood up for the right thing.
Let us start with Dronacharya – the guy who taught martial arts to both Pandavas (popularly believed to be the good guys) and Kauravas (the bad guys). This is the man, who asked the tribal boy Ekalavya to donate his thumb as tuition fees (guru dakshina) with the sole intention that this tribal kid doesn’t become a better archer than his favorite pupil Arjuna. Years later, this is the same guy – fully knowing his side was on wrong side of justice and morality, picked up the role as chief of army for Kauravas to fight Pandavas. Now – why would the award for best coach be named after this guy, who is known for NOT doing the right thing and being partial to his favorite student ?
Moving over to Arjuna – the ace archer. This guy is a hero only because his teacher (Drona) and dad (King of devas – Indra) and best friend (Krishna) stacked cards in his favor throughout his life, at the expense of others who played by the rules. Now, why would the best sports person award be in honor of such a character?
Politicians decide who gets these awards every year. Some choices are inexplicable when announcements are made. That is a problem that is not easily solvable – at least in a secular country like India, government should be smart enough to at least make the award not honor less than ideal characters from Hindu mythology. Can’t they be named after sporting heros of past? Or neutral names?
Please please pretty please