Sports A Tool For Political Mileage

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It is often said that sports and politics must not mix, but in reality it happens every time, and everywhere.

The history of sports is full of political interferences and battles which overshadow games, right from the days when Adolf Hitler used the 1936 Olympics in Berlin to promote Aryan nationalism. Jews were banned from the Games and blacks were shown as inferior.

India of course provides the perfect bowl where politics can be effectively mixed with sport at any given time.

The Indian Premier League (IPL), which started just a few days ago, has already raised a controversy. Politicians in Tamil Nadu are protesting heavily against the government’s lack of action on the Cauvery Water Management Board. So what better opportunity than the IPL to manipulate and influence public thinking to score brownie points?

The politicians felt that the IPL must not be held in Chennai because the people of Tamil Nadu are anguished and angry. And they had their way. The home team’s entry into the IPL after the two-year ban has now been spoiled by petty-minded politicians.

The team got off to a winning start and now they have been robbed of their home team advantage after the decision not to hold matches in Chennai.

Come on, let the people decide. The Cauvery dispute has nothing to do with sport. Surely the people of Tamil Nadu are committed to the Cauvery cause but do they have to forego a little pleasure of their lives by boycotting the matches?

Indian politicians often use sport to hide their own inadequacies or deflect from burning issues facing the nation. The India-Pakistan sports cold war has been raging for decades. However, on rare occasions the teams have played against each other on their own home soils it is only because of some political motive.

Worse still, if India beats Pakistan in any sport, even it is marbles, then all our politicians jump instantly and start tweeting and hailing the victory.

This is their clever way of using nationalistic fervour to serve their own cause.

Give the people a break. India is a sports mad country and our fans are sporting to boot.

We don’t need fat politicians telling about sport unless they have played themselves. It would be better if they stick to thinking about the country instead of trying to gain personal mileage. However, this will always remain an elusive dream. It is indeed unfortunate that sports in India is run mostly by people with political affiliations.

This has adversely affected India’s performance on the world stage. For a country as large as ours, we hardly used to win anything at the top level.

Regionalism, bias and favouritism have marred Indian sports from ages. The politically-minded officials or sometimes politicians themselves have interfered in every aspect of sport.

Hopefully the mindset will change as India is beginning to reap in medals at the top level.There is a huge cleanup job ahead if Indian sports has to live up to its potential. If that happens, the Golden Days of Indian Sport will begin and we can dream of taking on the big nations on our own terms.

And the politicians can concentrate on other pressing matters affecting the country.

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#All views expressed in this

Babu Kalyanpur

Babu Kalyanpur, ( Consulting Editor) has rich experience in both sports and business journalism. Babu has led news desks in Pune and Bahrain and writes extensively on his passion, sports and business besides current affairs and matters of importance to Pune.

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