TODAY -

Sachin way of celebration for Manipur

Seram Neken *

Manipur Sports persons at the Queen's Baton Relay for Commonwealth Games 2010 - Manipur Leg :: 27 July 2010
Manipur Sports persons at the Queen's Baton Relay for Commonwealth Games 2010 - Manipur Leg :: 27 July 2010



Players hailing from Indian power-house of sports (Manipur) need extra-ordinary encouragement from the central government because Manipuris are a poor but highly talented breed. Manipur produces high quality sportspersons of global repute amidst the challenges of geographical isolation, insurgency imbroglio, economic backwardness and scanty job avenues. The state has numerous eminent sportspersons who are quite fit to be nominated as Rajya Sabha members to represent country's sports. Sports celebrities of Manipur may also be nominated as parliamentarians, the same way President Pratibha Devi Singh Patil has honoured Sachin Tendulkar, if India really seeks to encourage country's sports.

"Cricket comes first, ...I am here because of my cricketing career. I cannot take any focus away from my cricket. That is where it all started for me. I will focus on my cricket and as and when I stop playing cricket, I don't know, when I will start attending to other things." Cricket celebrity Sachin Tendulkar discloses his spontaneous reaction to becoming a parliamentarian.

Cricket glamour has reached Parliamentary innings. Sachin Tendulkar has been nominated to the highest law making institution of democratic India as an eminent sports person of the country. India's reaction to Sachin's Century of Centuries appears to be immature. Although Sachin Tendulkar is excellent in scoring runs, it is untimely and lacks relevance to bring him into political leagues. Encouraging cricket in such a way does not in any way lead to overall sports development in India.

Moreover, Sachin is an active and alive player who is not ready to concentrate on law making or politics. His early entry into such a body may disturb his sports career. Overemphasis on cricket should not sideline other important sports events of the country. No doubt, he has no parallel in cricket, but in parliamentary works, it is unlikely that he may contribute well. Isn't it the wrong way India celebrates cricket ?

Article 80 Clause 3 of Indian Constitution empowers the President of India to nominate 12 members to the Rajya Sabha from amongst persons of eminence in the fields of literature, art, science and social science. Sports is not specifically mentioned in this clause as a criterion for such nomination. If sports development is the real idea behind such nomination, the President might have chosen some other disciplines like Hockey, the national game of the country.

If the President of India is really interested in promoting and encouraging sports in the country, she might have nominated one of the numerous eminent sportspersons from Manipur State. As Manipur is known to have produced players of International repute both in team and individual events, there is no dearth of suitable matured personality who can well represent sports in Rajya Sabha as has been done in case of Sachin Tendulkar.

Manipur is extra-ordinary in sports. In spite of being a small and neglected border state of India, Manipur has produced 9 Olympians, 11 Arjuna Awardees and 2 Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna awardees, besides so many achievements in international arena. The state has so far produced two Olympians in Hockey, the national game of the country - Shri P Nilakamal Singh (1984) and Shri Ksh Thoiba Singh (1988). Shri L Tiken Singh is also a world cupper (1986) in Hockey event.

It continues to add treasures to the fame, as at least half a dozen new Olympians will emerge this year. Six sportspersons from the state, Laishram Bombella (archery), MC Mary Kom (boxing), Devendra (boxing), Sonia Chanu (weightlifting), Chinglensana (Hockey) and Kothajit (Hockey) are taking part in London Olympics, 2012.

A number of sports persons of Manipur represent other states of India and the services sector due to apathy of the state government to its players. In the 34th Indian national games 35 Manipuri players won medals for Services Board, 17 of them won medals for Jharkhand, 11 for Delhi, six for Kerala, 34 for Madhya Pradesh, two for Uttar Pradesh, one for Karnataka, two for Andhra Pradesh, 21 for Assam, two for Orissa and one for Bihar.

During the Common Wealth Games, 2010 at Delhi, Manipur players have won 3 gold, 1 silver and 3 bronze Medals. Among those who have made their mark internationally is MC Mary Kom, who is five times World Boxing Champion and aiming for an Olympic Gold in 2012.

In the women's front also Ksh Tinggongleima Chanu and W. Surjalata Devi were the silver medalists at the 13th Bangkok Asiad Women's Hockey Championship, 1998. Weight lifter Kujarani Devi is also an Arjuna awardee from Manipur and a recipient of the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Award of 1996. Former Mr. India Shri N Maipak Singh secured 6th position in the Mr. Universe contest in Paris in 1972. Ng. Dingko Singh, won the boxing gold medal in the 13th edition of the Asian Games in Bangkok.

It is widely murmured among sports-lovers that Cricket is killing other sports in India. It is celebrated like a big festival. The stunning live coverage of cricket is also a reason for the demise of other sports. In fact, hockey is our national game and India has won gold medals in the Olympics. It is not less worthy of memory than Kapil Dev's team winning the cricket World Cup in 1983.

If Sachin Tendulkar is deemed fit to represent sports in Rajya Sabha, there are also numerous eminent Manipuri players who can be honoured the same way. Sachin is an active player and achiever. Either his appointment may spoil his progress in cricket career or his seat in parliament may be rendered insignificance.

The central government requires to put extra-efforts in Manipur state to enable it to manufacture more and more quality players for the country's excellence. The country needs to celebrate other games too as it is worshipping cricket.


* Seram Neken wrote this article for Hueiyen Lanpao (English Edition) in his column "The voiceless speaks"
This article was posted on June 13 2012 .



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