What benefits can be reaped by promoting sports in tribal areas?

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 31 Aug 2018 11:18:05



By Anshuman Bhargava

India is a rich habitat of millions of tribals who reside in the depths of forests and remote nooks. These supremely talented artists often don’t get the right opportunities and facilities to grow and achieve their full potential. Despite the improvement in their situation due to government efforts and effects of globalisation, there is a large section that is still bereft of the boons of modern science and civilisation. 

But one thing in which the tribals have natural excellence is sports and athletics. Since most tribal kids grow up in the jungles, braving the hardships and the daily tribulations of survival in a hostile and inclement environment, they develop a natural spontaneity and physical acumen not seen in most urban kids. 

These tribal kids have a genetic proclivity towards excellence in physical activity which makes them more agile, supple and flexible than their urban counterparts, who are more used to a sedentary way of life. Sports and exercise don’t come naturally to them the way they come to tribal kids, who, because of their situation, has a healthier lifestyle geared towards achieving greater physical stamina and prowess. They are adept at climbing trees, crossing rivers and scaling mountains from an early age. The only thing they lack is specialised training for the right kind of grooming, which defeats their possibilities. It has been seen time and again if the right kind of grooming is given to the tribal kids, they show greater promise and often excel in national and international tournaments.

 In this era of cut-throat competition, it is very important to have the right kind of precision training to break the ranks with the best. We have seen excellent performers in boxing, weightlifting, hockey, football and kabaddi, who have evolved from the tribal background. It is very important for the government to devise ways to locate and promote tribal talents. 

More tribal hostels need to be established and proper sports facilities inducted in them. We as a country lack sports facilities in general. Unless the infrastructure is in place, even the right talents will gradually rust and lose their potential. These talents need to be exploited at the right time and given the right platforms to flourish and make the country proud. We can have tribal talents in other disciplines as well as rafting, swimming and wrestling in greater numbers if we can give them the right kind of ecosystem and awareness of techniques. We have the wherewithal and adequate talent pool to be the best in the world. 

Only what we need is greater government alacrity and willingness to improve the sports infrastructure and weed out corruption from the system to give space to the deserving talents. If these two work in tandem, there is no reason why in some years from now we cannot find a place in the top ten of the Olympics medals tally. We need a time-bound work plan and a vision to achieve.

It is a complete lack of planning and mismanagement in different state sports’ bodies that pull us down. These things need to be addressed and only enhanced government monitoring, funding and involvement can bring out the hidden talents from the remote nooks and corners of the country.

Sports should not be just for the privileged and the resourced. All those who have the passion and the dream to stand out must get a fair chance and encouragement.