“Padhoge, likhoge toh hoge nawab, kheloge, kudoge toh hoge kharab”. Well, this is a common belief/sentiment expressed by millions of middle-class families in India. It is not really difficult to trace the genesis of this thought process. After all, how many out of a billion plus population actually make it to top level professional sport? Is it worth then to invest an entire active lifetime in the pursuit of a goal which seems like a mirage in the desert?
Wait a minute – what if we step back a little and look at Sport beyond just a source of livelihood, maybe instead as our personal health insurance? Why don’t we take up a Sport to stay fit & healthy. Fit and healthy individuals lead to an equally healthy society and a strong nation.
Aha, Sport also teaches us about leadership, winning against the odds, equanimity during peaks & troughs, esprit-de-corps and the list goes on. Still not enough? Well, we also have motivating tales of athletes from the remotest towns taming the odds and making it BIG inspite of the system OR Paralympic athletes doubling India’s medal count at the Olympics. Such superhuman tales of valor inspire us common folk to add that “extra” to our “ordinary” lives and make it “extra-ordinary”.
This is where Grass-roots level Sport comes into the picture. It is being increasingly acknowledged as a tool to help society lead a more active and healthy lifestyle. It drives home the idea of Sport as a physical activity (maybe for leisure) practiced regularly at a non-professional level for health or social purposes.
Reaching out to youth at the school and community level also educates families about the importance of physical activity and its invaluable contribution towards ensuring a better quality of life.
It is also from Grass-roots level development programs that those with the ability and willingness to go the extra mile in Sport get identified. There is no shortage of talented children in India who are willing to invest the prime of their life for their country and sport. All they need is a structure and societal support to focus single-mindedly towards honing their skill minus the other worries of survival.
Most countries are desirous of performing competitively during international sporting competitions and nurture medal hopes. However this ability to compete is an end-result of a strong grass-roots framework and access of aspiring athletes to world-class training & development programs. Grass-roots development teaches youth how to lead healthy lifestyles early on in their lives and how to sustain it for peak performance.
So without further ado, let us support those individuals or groups who are committed to Grass-roots sporting development and most importantly let us take up some physical activity ourselves for our own worthy benefit, our families and society at large.
Yes, and please remember “Kheloge kudoge toh banoge aur rahoge Nawab” !!!