India is a cricket-mad nation and its citizens claim to be ardent sports followers. But the truth is the exact opposite. India is far from a sporting powerhouse and the country’s performance at multi-sports events like the Olympics testify to that. Although it can’t be denied that the government is doing everything at its disposal to boost the sporting infrastructure within the country, it is the mindset of people that needs to change.
A Member of Parliament from Sivaganga, Tamil Nadu, Karti P. Chidambaram echoed the same thoughts during a Parliamentary session where he tore into the sporting culture in India and how families are still hesitant to send their children to professionally play a sport. Mr Chidambaram cited an example to explain his point. He said that no family plays a sport together while they do everything else as a leisurely activity.
“In this country, no mother will send her daughter to play. First of all, they will say you will get dark, so don’t go and play sports. We rarely see an entire family playing a sport together. We are not a sporting country, we are not a sporting society,” said Karti Chidambaram.
“If you look at family activities; what do families indulge in as a part of the family activity? They would perhaps go to a restaurant or they would go to a temple. They will go watch a movie together or they will shop together. Have you ever seen a mother, father, and two young children actually playing a sport together? This is not a part of our society, sports is really not a part of our society.”
Mr Chidambaram then went on to suggest a few changes that should be implied at all levels to improve this situation in the country. Karti suggested that “there should be no school- private or government which can function legally without having a sports ground of its own”. The second suggestion was that every school must have a physical education teacher and he/she must get the same respect as any other teacher.
The third suggestion from Sivaganga MP was that students must meet a certain physical fitness standard to be able to appear in their board examination.