pay heed

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 25 Dec 2017 12:36:54

IT IS UNFORTUNATE that hard-boiled politics and politicians have no time to think of issues like welfare of our sporting heroes. Otherwise they would have spared some time from the now routine of chaotic functioning of the august legislative houses to the well-studied speech of the iconic Sachin Tendulkar. The international hero and our own Bharat Ratna Sachin Tendulkar had come to the Rajya Sabha the other day with a well-documented speech, which was bereft of any self-seeking promises from Government and political community but a package for the retiring sporting heroes to make their post-retirement life more comfortable and meaningful, for themselves and for the larger society. 

While citing some examples how former legends and medal winners, who were adored by the nation as national heroes, suddenly found themselves uncared for, neglected, destituted once they were out of action, Sachin’s speech struck an emotional cord. But the members of the Rajya Sabha had neither the time nor the desire to listen to as athletics and sports is not a politically paying thing.

Be that it as it may, but the speech prepared by Sachin Tendulkar, meant to be delivered in the Rajya Sabha, is worth taking serious note of by the larger society. Being an ace sportsperson himself, Sachin knows what it requires to be an individual sportsperson, what sacrifices one has to make, what discipline one is required to be tied to with single-minded focus on the goals to be achieved during one’s athletic career. When the going goes well the sportsperson becomes a national hero, an icon. But soon after he hangs his boots, there is near vacuum in life. Sachin draws attention to this traumatic state of mind that the sportsperson is reduced to after his retirement. And it is at this juncture that he needs the support of the society, the Government, the most. And it is in this situation that Sachin wants the Government to devise policies that will take care of the sportsperson’s after-retirement mental and physical needs.

In fact Sachin has suggested that services of these iconic minds, these former heroes can be utilised for grooming of future generations of athletes and sportspersons. They should become integral part of the nation’s sports and even health policy. Sachin has noted that the Government has laid down a policy to reserve job quota for sportsmen in its various departments. While this is welcome, this falls woefully short of the needs. Thus the emphasis should be, while utilising their services to build a strong sports culture, on ensuring financial stability and mental engagement with creative work for them. Such thoughts can come only from a man who has undergone the trial and tribulations of that facet of life and has come out as a trail-blazer.