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Political games in sports

In the women’s Kabaddi World Cup, the Indian team, in a dazzling performance, humbled New Zealand by 49-21 and captured the cup

In the women’s Kabaddi World Cup, the Indian team, in a dazzling performance, humbled New Zealand by 49-21 and captured the cup. In the finals played at Guru Govind Singh stadium in Jalandhar on 13-14 December 2013, the Indian women’s team registered a hands-down victory. Anurani, Priyanka and Khusbhoo performed spectacularly. Anu Rani was declared the best stopper while Ram Bateri was conferred with the best raider award. Both received a Maruti Alto car each.

In the men’s finals, India defeated Pakistan by 48-39, winning the world cup for the fourth time in a row. But these victories did not get the expected coverage in the media. For, after all, isn’t kabaddi a game of the Dalit-bahujans?

No newspaper reported the historic wins – neither on the first page, nor in the inner pages, not even in the sports pages. As for the TV channels, the less said, the better. The men’s team got a cash reward of Rs 2 crore while the women’s team got Rs 1 crore. Admittedly, even the sports arena is not free from gender discrimination.  Kabaddi is an example of how the casteist Indian mindset has impacted every field. Kabaddi is mostly played by Dalit-bahujans. It is also considered a rural sport. The upper castes are not interested in this ‘rustic’ game. The Dalit-bahujans understand the game and play it well. Their physique is also well suited for the game.

If the Brahminvaadis have been demanding inclusion of kabaddi in the Olympics, it is purely for political gains. They have no real interest in kabaddi, as it is identified with Shudra-Atishudras. The media only revolves around the AAP, the BJP, the Congress and cricket. Where are the sports journalists? Will they ever find time to cover kabaddi after writing about Dhoni and Sachin?

Published in the February 2014 issue of the Forward Press magazine

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About The Author

Naresh Kumar Sahu

Naresh Kumar Sahu is an ICSSR post-doctoral fellow at Pandit Ravishankar University, Raipur. He writes regularly on socio-cultural issues.