Beijing Olympics - Indians and Desis Missing in Action
With the Beijing Olympics well under way, we are yet again bombarded with the usual myth-making machines in overdrive. The biggest myth of course is that these games are actually about sports not business. None of us is stupid enough to understand this simple point. However, the irritating advertisement blitz notwithstanding, it is a lot of fun to watch the games. For sure it gets my goat when the TV screen is constantly bombarded by the alleged “official product car/paint/drink/condom of the Games” etc. And when the hypocritical so-called “world leaders” make the usual noises patronizing noise about China’s “behaviour” vis-à-vis human rights while simultaneously signing up as many business deals as they can.
When some gold-medalists will test positive for doping, as surely they will, there will be the usual breast-beating about cheating and lack of integrity, as if other spheres of our global existence are beacons of the same. And of course, there will be the usual commentaries on the crass commercialization of the games. As if sophisticated commercialism or consumerism might be any better.
Back home in desi-land, the usual question, raised every four years, will be prominent once again. What exactly explains the spectacular absence of desis from this mega global display? Why are they always missing in action, when it comes to the Olympics? What are the best possible explanations? The usual suspects will wax eloquent about the alleged fact that desis are a cerebral lot and couldn’t care less about such trivial corporeal pursuits. Some will contend that only those who are supremely lacking in confidence really need to shamelessly strut their stuff for the world stage. The Ministry of youth affairs and sports in India and their equivalent in other South Asian nations will be blamed. They in turn will perhaps blame corruption that allows our athletes and officials to treat the Olympics like a free foreign junket, a shopping spree that might be otherwise beyond financial reach. Some will argue that we need not waste our precious resources on such trivia as sports. Others will point out that since we are apparently already on our way to becoming a superpower, who cares if over a billion people are conspicuous by their absence, not just on the medals tally, but in most of the events too. Not even the proverbial “also rans.”
It is difficult to pick a specific cause or determine what are the plausible explanations for this puzzling situation. Perhaps it is not at all a big deal after all. Any plausible, tentative explanations for this state of affairs?