By: Mohsin Kamal
Bandipora: Kashmir is famous for many things. No, I won’t bore you by saying how heart-warming abode we are surrounded by or how good we are at handling guests. These you know already, probably better than I do. Then what’s this thing that is famous but unfolded?
It’s none other than our capability of producing numerous ‘national and international medalists’ every year. With no infrastructure, no coaches and just a few proper stadiums in whole Valley, what’s it that our athletes go around and bag Gold, Silver, Bronze and what not, every time? Have you ever thought about it?
You, on and off, see Indian Television anchors yelling, “This is the real Kashmir. These medal-winning youngsters represent Kashmir and not those who throw stones.” Isn’t it? But who are these youngsters? Do they really do things that shake these TV channels and are worth to be given whole of the prime time?
I won’t answer this for you but just ask them,” What’s the game they won the medal in? Is that a recognized sport? How did they win it? How’s this game played? Who were the opponents? How many stages did that athlete go before representing state/country? How many states/countries participated in the event?”
Will they be able to answer? Not unless they Google for at least half an hour. Even after doing it, the answers will be hard to digest.
This is what happens, every now and then. Kashmir’s so called athletes win medals in unrecognised games, as most of these ‘national’ sports organisations are based in Kashmir, and the propaganda-run TV channels boast them, make them ‘heroes’ of Valley.
What a shame? Even local and national journalists, radio jockeies, who know nothing about sports, fall in the trap. They run long features on them without asking themselves if it’s even worth it. Since the word ‘Kashmir’ is there, they know it will sell well, so they simply proceed, probably saying themselves, ‘who cares about if this makes sense or not unless and until it’s about Kashmir.’
Nonetheless, this doesn’t disregard those real athletes of Kashmir, who bend their backs all 12 months and in spite of the countless hurdles, win real medals at national and international events in the recognised games. It’s us who need to identify these substantial sportspersons and stop praising these ‘Instagram athletes.’
Meanwhile, you might be thinking why is it that I say, ‘Making a meme is tougher than winning a medal in Kashmir’. Let me clear. Making a meme includes steps like thorough research, wit, photoshop skills, most importantly Internet, which we all know is more than hard to access here. While winning a medal in an unrecognised game involves just two steps: knowing someone who runs ‘these associations’ and being privileged enough to pay participation and travel charges.
Mohsin Kamal is the editor of Kashmir Sports Watch.