TODAY -

Monika....Manipur is behind you

R.K. Shivachandra *

In the last couple of months Monika had her urine sample tested more than four times and it was then found to be negative. Than how this dope 'positive news' suddenly sprung up at the eleven hour?

The aircraft which was to pick Monika Devi along with her fellow Olympians to China had been abandoned on the charges of being 'positive' collaborated on purpose with an anabolic steroid in her urine sample. Monika, since the last few months had consecutively been participating in a series of International events.

This sudden news has shown the stark conspiracy hatched by the SAI officials against the lone woman weight-lifter of Manipur who had been selected to participate in the Olympic event. Shall we go for further detail other than this? Unfortunately this woman-lifter happened to be from a state called Manipur in the North Eastern parts of India.

If she ever hails from West Bengal, Maharastra or Delhi than India would have been stormed by her news, media in and around the capital city of India would have been busy to make it cover story but it is not so for poor Monika, for she hails from Manipur.

Dope positive news is not a new story but the way the unscrupulous SAI officials had meted out to her is definitely a case of conspiracy.. this cannot be altered. Shall we continue watching before the television the gleefully marching Indian contingent in Beijing Olympic?

Manipuris are not only a second class citizen but 5th class citizen in the views of many sports officials of India. The SAI Executive Director, Mr. RK. Naidu, whoever he may be should be held responsible for this.

He refused to give the test report to Monika on the pretext that it was an official document and not to be shown to the athlete. What a devil in his brain. At this juncture we need to see the functioning style of the SAI institutions in India.

Sometimes we are inclined to think whether SAI is doing more harm than good especially to our Manipuris. Functioning of Institutions like SAI needed to be closely observed in Manipur. Manipuris can do better without a corrupt Institution like SAI.

We have already produced a lot of players long before the concept of SAI was mooted in India. If SAI and its branches in India ever tries to kill the very spirit of sports of the Manipuris, than we may not remain a mute spectators.

People like Naidu call themselves Sports Officials, speak as if they know everything but I wonder if they ever had possessed any bones inside their fleshy bodies that belongs to sports. Corruption, nepotism in sports had been practicing in India since long.

The step-motherly treatment or the age old concept of Indians sports officials leading them to think North Eastern parts of India as an alien culture; alien race calls for a rethink and be ashamed of their undue behavior towards the heroes in the field.

Better recall- this is Manipuris that speaks volumes of Indian sports in the international context. Yet, how we can easily forget the case of Kunjarani Devi who despite of her enough qualification to participate in the Olympic events, however was made to participate at a much later stage when the weight lifter had almost retired from the competition.

So also the in case of Sepak Takraw in Asian Games. The Game was dropped from the Indian contingent only because of the fact that all the participants were from Manipur.

Thoiba the yesteryears icon in the India hockey scene was simply denied captainship of Indian Hockey team for he was a Manipuri. To many of the Indians of the mainland, Manipuris with flat nose with half open eyes appeared to be more of Chinese than Indians.

We are sorry we cannot be one of those pointed nose and hairy Indians as far as our outlook goes. This is something we cannot change and we may be excused.

Officials who are intended to take Saileja Pujari in lieu of Monika have now reiterated "There is no need to get another weightlifter. It is already embarrassing enough before the Games and since there is no chance of a medal, what is the point in raking up the issue again," said an official on condition of anonymity.

The deputy chef-de-mission of the Indian contingent, Baljeet Singh Sethi, also said: "We are actually relieved it happened before she reached here because it would have shamed the country if she had failed a test at the Olympics."

Crook, Hypocrite ... are not they? The corrupt officials speak endless dialogue with their sore tooth but not the spirit of sports in their souls.

Somebody should tell Mr. Baljeet the so called India deputy chef-de-mission to Beijing Olympics that if the India Government ever afford to invest quarter of the amount of the whole budget of the Indian sports to Manipur, than by now there would have been hundred of medals in Indian's kitty. If so Indian sports official like Mr. Baljeet would have held his neck high while meeting with his foreign counterparts.

The State Government and Centre both should swallow the bitter pill of fact that Monika could be another Manorama's case in the Manipur's scenario. This is not the first time the players from Manipur have been deprived by the Indian sports officials in Delhi.

Their outlooks are as narrow as they are. Their vision through the thick lenses of their spectacle concentrated in specific zones somewhere in the mainland. I wonder how many of them know that India has a three-time world champion in women's boxing from Manipur.

Monika may be in the Indian contingent or not-tomorrow will tell. Thanks to Minister Biren who had been to Delhi to challenge the cause of Monika. This pen had never been habituated written poems on the bravery of legislators who have already shown a bed example to the people of Manipur.

But as a true citizen of Manipur, I simply acknowledge my heartfelt gratitude to the Minister of sports, Manipur that through his endeavor let Monika be seen in the limelight of Olympic in Beijing.

Anecdote

Traveling for the first time abroad in 1994, I was sitting quiet in the big Cathay-Pacific Aircraft in Hong Kong. In a few minutes the aircraft would be air-bound for Taipei and then to Seoul where I will have to make my final destination. Next to me was an Indian from Maharastra who run a factory in Maharastra, a big shot as he looks.

But the kind of typical Indian that everybody would have spotted him out. As the air-stewardess passed by, I have requested for a glass of water which the beautiful air hostess happily offered with a smile. The gentleman next to me also requested the same favour for a glass of water. The quick answer of the stewardess upset my co-passenger, when she replied "Sorry gentleman, let the flight take off!".

The gentleman felt a little embarrassment and I simply shy away to sip the glass of water offered by the spotless clean lady of the Cathay-Pacific. The Indian gentleman who was denied a glass of water before it took off murmured to my ears "She thinks you are a Chinese".

My inner self also says he is right. Had it been in Delhi he was supposed to have the first glass of water. Sensing my broad nose with my fingers, soon a sense of pride and happiness crept into my mind and that was a wonderful feeling.

Champions keep playing until they get it right. -
Billie Jean King




* R.K. Shivachandra, social worker based in Imphal, contributes regularly to e-pao.net. The writer can be reached at india_myanmar(at)yahoo(dot)com . This article was webcasted on August 11th, 2008.

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