Poor Mirabai Chanu! What a weight rested on her, as one point three billion pinned all their hopes on her weight lifting shoulders!

What a shame, that we, with the world’s second largest population, are still trailing other countries like Japan, with an area just about that of little Kerala, with 15 golds, 4 silver’s and 7 bronze’s, and we with just one silver medal!

That China already has 36 medals, the US, 41, and I’m sure that tally must have increased by now, and we have a measly one or have we got 2 by now?

It’s only on the world stage we can showcase ourselves, otherwise it’s all a lie. But, unfortunately, when the world points fingers at our human right violations, democratic lapses and religious freedoms, we cry foul and say they have vested interests for doing so, but the medals at the Olympics don’t lie. They speak of a country that needs to pull itself up by its britches!

A few years ago, I attended a choral musical festival at Busan in Korea. There were choirs from the US, England, Ireland, Spain and also form China, the Philippines and Korea.

Who do you think won? China did. Singing classical pieces not in Chinese but in German and Latin and English.

To compete with the world, we need to be best in what is popular in the world, or we will be like North Korea, whose people are cut off and believe they have got everything while having nothing.

The Olympics should be an eye opener for us, not just about sport, but a glimpse about everything about us:

Is our Democracy world class? Do we have freedom of the press as much as others have, that is if we count ourselves a democracy, and we do try to shout out we are at every opportunity we get, even in the recent visit of Blinken, the US Secretary of State.

Do courts deliver justice as fast as they should or do men and women languish in jail, even as we celebrate the Day of the Constitution, our Republic Day, with loud fanfare? Does the world look at those cases of ‘sedition’ and other ‘put him or her in jail’ cases and wonder whether it’s more bluster, noise and celebration, then really being a republic?

The Olympics, this one, should be a wake-up call.

Let’s become world class, not just in sports events, but in all that already have international standards, especially our democracy.

We have neighbours, who have made a mockery of themselves, but we can shine, not through protesting that we are looking after the rights of our citizenry, but by actually doing so!

Poor Mirabai Chanu! What a weight rested on her, as one point three billion pinned all their hopes on her weight lifting shoulders..!

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