April 17, 2008

The Joke

The entire Olympic torch issue has made one thing very clear to me. In addition to being the world’s largest democracy with an unrelenting commitment to freedom and choice we also happen to being a big joke. The real thing isn’t that the pride of a billion people is at stake and that the world is watching so we shouldn’t slip up. The truth be told it’s about a bunch of jokers who have decided to turn a blind eye to all reason and logic while dealing with this Olympic torch thing.

Look at how it has all played out.

The Indian Olympic Association wants to keep the Chinese happy so that when they bid for the Games in 2020 or 2030 or whenever, they have some support. The politicians have told the Tibetians not to make a ruckus. If they are considered to be citizens of India, what’s wrong with opposing? Why doesn’t anyone tell these politicians to behave when they decide not to work or agreeing to their allies at center but opposing on the same issue at state level. The most vocal critics of the government have been their allies as opposed to the opposition! Pranab Mukherjee tells the Dalai Lama to behave like a guest while in India…well why doesn’t extend the same courtesy to the Chinese who want their officials to guard the torch’s run?

In my living memory I’ve never seen the government and police going out of their way to ensure the safety of the torch. My father tells me that in 1964 when the Tokyo Olympic flame passed his school, the teachers took a ten-minute break and allowed the kids to run along. And guess what- there was only a single policeman assigned to 'protect' the torch! If the government had allowed the Tibetians to peacefully oppose the torch’s journey, things would have simpler. No one would have ‘wanted’ to douse the idiotic flame that flies around in special airplanes with peachy looking overweight officials holding it for people to see.

Rather than debating on valid points everyone’s out there to prove that they are the biggest jokers in this circus. The Sports minister is angry that a politician heads the IOA so he targets his anger towards celebs who are participating in the run. Well we must realize that it’s Coke and Lenovo who are sponsoring the event so rest assured Mr. Aamir Khan and Mr. Saif Ali Khan will be running with the flame.

The government wants to prove a point to USA and UK where the flame was attacked so they will ensure thousands of policemen will do everything to let the torch go untouched even if that means that fortifying the route!! Who knows maybe the government has paid the gods to ensure that it doesn’t rain! These are the same people who go to town hard selling India as a secular and all forgiving nation beating the bejesus of anyone who wants to express views! If sports and politics aren't to be mixed, as suggested by ministers, then why this secrecy? No one knows the timing of the run!

Somehow in the whole drama people have really come across as idiots in their reasoning. Sachin Tendulkar epitomizes this very attitude. Throwing caution to the wind, Tendulkar played the first test against South Africa even though he wasn’t 100% fit. He then warms the bench in the next two tests but seemingly is fit enough to play the initial matches in the IPL starting 18th of April yet cities the same fitness issues to avoid carrying the torch. Barring Baichung Bhutia who unequivocally expressed why he wouldn’t carry the torch and Kiran Bedi who didn’t mince any words when she decided to bow out, everyone else has decided to dust the issue under the carpet. Of course Aamir Khan was, like always, clearly convinced about the how’s and the whys and the what’s of the entire thing. Maybe Aamir Khan could have taught the government a lesson or two in how to compellingly butter both sides of the toast without the toast complaining!

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