Let the Games BeginT. SHER SINGH
Monday, July 16, 2012
Eleven more days. And then begins the greatest spectacle around: the Olympics.
I attended it once, when it was held in Montreal in 1976. It was good to be there for a bit, to taste at close quarters the ambience and experience the electric excitement that pervades the air.
But I decided for the future that if I was indeed going to be an spectator - not my favourite pastime - I wanted it from the comfort of my home, where I can visit every single event, watch it in close-ups, look at the instant re-plays, and flit from event to event, stadium to stadium, with the ease of Mary Poppins.
Sure, there’s some merit too to being there physically. Especially if it is in a place like Beijing.
Looks like they’ve done a great job getting it all ready this time around. Reports say things have been ship-shape for a few weeks now. Security remains, as always, a concern, but the Brits seem to be doing a good job in crossing all their t’s and dotting all the i’s.
Superman Fauja Singh is ready to carry the torch, and United Sikhs is ready to serve langar to the crowds. Wish I was there.
But I’ll be glued to my TV, trying to catch a bit of the excitement of the mela, because it’s a big fair indeed.
A few words of caution, though, for ourselves - we Sikhs from around the world.
It’s a time of general, all-around, hyper scrutiny. Every reporter, every radio microphone, every TV camera, every cell-phone, will be poised to record the historic event.
Remember: this is the kind of time and location and opportunity that our detractors look for when they want to brand us with subtle propaganda spins.
I don’t want any of us to be paranoid, just a wee bit vigilant. It won’t do us any harm in keeping in mind that we as a community are constantly facing a rear-guard action: the very land and country, the very mother-ship, whose job it is to look after our best interests, has long ago abandoned its obligations, and taken on the role of an enemy. And a nasty, unscrupulous one at that.
Anything we do good or right, they claim credit because then we are Indian, no matter where we were born or where we live and work and play. Or we get labeled with the ubiquitous "NRI” slur.
However, if one of us does a wrong, or slips up, or whatever, instantly, we are Sikhs again.
If you think I’m making all of this up, remember, the Indian contingent to London next week is being headed by KPS Gill, the biggest criminal they could find amongst themselves: a turbaned chap, visibly a Sikh, but well-known as the key instrument of the death of tens of thousands of innocent Sikh young men in Punjab.
He was meant to be accompanied by another mass-murderer, Jagdish Tytler, but the latter may have been dropped after the hullabaloo it created. His absence will be over-shadowed, however, by the ever-present friend and colleague of KPS Gill - Suresh Kalmadi. Remember him? The man who took India to new depths with the great three-ring circus touted not too long ago as New Delhi's Commonwealth Games.
Other mischief-makers will inevitably be with the team, and, as well, on the ground when they arrive, waiting for them.
Beware too of the Kuldip Nayars of India - less than honourable journalists who are willing to twist and stretch and distort facts in order to further their personal biases and prejudices. Those of his ilk who come from India do not feel they are tied to what we in the civilized world call professional standards. Let's not let our guard down merely because these clowns hail from the land we love.
We need to be cognizant of the pattern of consistent Indian interference and behaviour, and be wary of being baited into distractions just before, during, or just after the Olympics - a time when the world is watching and it is easy for mischief-makers to trigger a fire-storm based on half-truths, lies, innuendos.
We should focus on the spirit of the Olympics. Support and cheer teams from our respective home-countries, not blindly for the desis.
Sikhs coming from India should be as patriotic Indian as they want, but they shouldn’t get sucked into doing or saying anything that goes against the honour of Sikhi, no matter what.
Those of us from the diaspora: we need to remember we are not NRI’s; we are Sikh-Britons, Sikh-Americans, Sikh-Canadians, Sikh-Kenyans, etc., etc. And we must remain true to our respective loyalties.
Let’s be vigilant. Let’s make sure the gulls in our community, the naïve ones and the easily-distracted, don’t get fluffed up with tangential issues and unwittingly get used by vested interests to behave like fools. Let’s keep an eagle eye on the usual suspects, and put an early lid on stupidity the moment we see it.
And, if necessary, call up the authorities at a moment’s notice, if we see mischief brewing somewhere.
Above all … let’s have fun.
And not let the miserable trouble-makers from India … and I don’t refer to the good Sikhs from Punjab and India by any stretch, or the genuine, decent athletes who will represent the country … do their usual desi shenanigans at our expense.
Conversation about this article
1: Baldev Singh (Bradford, United Kingdom), July 16, 2012, 1:34 PM.
I will be attending the London Olympics. The Olympics unite humankind even when most ideologies and egomaniacs want to divide us on everything!
2: G.C. Singh (USA), July 16, 2012, 8:17 PM.
KPS Gill, Kalamadi, Tytler, Modi et al are the national mascots of India, which it proudly displays before the world.
3: Baljit Singh Pelia (Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.), July 17, 2012, 10:48 AM.
This is a great opportunity for Sikh-Britons to adorn their turban crowns and volunteer and be visible by doing what we do best ... that is, "jee aayaa nu!" - Welcome!
4: Bhai Harbans Lal (Dallas, Texas, USA), July 20, 2012, 11:01 PM.
I admire the United Sikhs who will provide langar to all spectators along the pathway of the torch bearer, Fauja Singh.