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Abhinav’s win a new beginning

We feel proud that for the first time in history an Indian has won a gold medal for individual performance in the Olympics. We should congratulate Abhinav Bindra for bringing us this distinction.

Simultaneously, this should also be the time to feel a little shame that while we are beginning to harbor dreams of becoming a world power in some areas we have barely begun. Even if we start now it will be decades before we become equal to any of the countries ahead of us — this, in spite of our great science and technology infrastructure, our Olympic Association and our sports authorities. The reason for this should be obvious.

Barely 10 out of 100 children finish school. Therefore, most of them between the ages of 10 and 18 have never had a chance to play together, have never had any encounter with formal sports, never seen a swimming pool, a basketball or tennis court. Unless you have been inducted into sports at that age you can never become a great sportsman or sportswoman.

Mental and physical competence and creativity in both these areas flower between the ages of 10 and 18. Not given a chance, they are both smothered. Through persistent negligence we have committed this crime for decades. Let us make a beginning by passing and implementing the first Right to Education Bill pending before the Union Cabinet now.

Prof YASH PAL, New Delhi


All Indians need to sit back and savour this moment especially as it came when the news everywhere was largely dismal, with the deteriorating situation in Jammu and Kashmir and the political parties politicking as usual.

Abhinav has undoubtedly created history but what needs to be commended is his diligence and steadfast approach despite some health problems. He did so in a highly supportive environment created in no small measure by his parents, coaches and well-wishers, but in the ultimate analysis it is his tenacity and singleness of purpose that brought him the coveted gold. May his tribe increase!

Perhaps it is a good time to reflect on why the defence forces were unable to keep their promise, made after the Sydney Olympics. I was the Vice-Chief of Army Staff in 2001 when the then Army Chief had resolved to bring the coveted medals for the country. We had started very well, cutting out all bureaucratic roadblocks and setting up a state of art training facility at Pune.

Subsequent Army Chiefs pushed it, but somewhere down the line we seem to have lost the impetus. As a follow up to Abhinav’s feat, the Army needs to reactivate that resolve.

Lt-Gen VIJAY OBEROI (retd), Panchkula


Indians as a people lack sense of proportion. The Indian state is acutely conscious of the fact that it has had no role in Abhinav Bindra’s Olympian success. That is why it is bending over backwards to claim him. There is an unseemly competition among state agencies to bestow cash, ranging from a crore to a mere lakh of rupees as well as medals on him.

It is as if the state is keen to partly reimburse the expenses his family had incurred on training him. What value would a post-Olympic medal have in his eyes and the eyes of others? Would he proudly display such medals in his drawing room or will he shove them in a drawer?

There is no denying Abhinav’s genius. But the fact remains that he was born into a wealthy and indulgent family which decided to support him to the hilt. In a vast country like ours, there must be very many Abhinavs in various fields whose parents cannot recognise their talent or nurture it themselves. It is meaningless to bestow cash and hollow honours on a person who is past caring.

If we wish to really honour India’s first individual Olympics gold medallist, we should make sure that he does not remain a freak. He should not be seen as harbinger of self-financing in sports. Rather, the state must willingly and enthusiastically play the role which Abhinav’s parents have played in his case.



Abhinav’s success is highly commendable for the country. Even if this honour has taken so long — 108 years — we are yet to know when will we win another gold, silver or bronze. Let us savour every bit of it and bask in the glory before the flush of victory subsides with others outshining us. Incredible India!

Wg-Cdr S.C. KAPOOR (retd), Noida

How best to conserve petrol

Owing to poor functioning of atomic reactors for want of sufficient uranium, we must harness and augment energy from sun, wind, water and biomass. Alongside, steps should be taken to cut down the consumption of petroleum products.

First, those who are below 20 years, especially students, should discard two-wheelers and cars. Instead, they should use bicycles which will also help them control the obesity-related problems.

Secondly, we should avoid undertaking long distance journeys by luxury cars. Why not travel by train or other modes of public transport? We should also encourage car pools, especially for office goers. This will cut down crude import and reduce green house emissions and global warming. Consider how China has done it with fruitful results!

D.K. AGGARWALA, Hoshiarpur



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