A few years ago, a truly curious case occurred in India: Aishwarya Parashar, a sixth-grade student from Lucknow, decided to use the law on the right to information, known in India as RTI and sent a number of questions to the office of the head of the government that looked simple, but in fact turned out to be tricky.
For example, she asked when and by whom Mahatma Gandhi was officially awarded the title of “father of the nation”. As it turned out, no documents about this have been preserved – contrary to what is written in many history textbooks.
Aishwarya Parashar didn’t stop there and sent similar queries to various agencies. One of them was sent to the Ministry of youth and sports – a schoolgirl wanted to know whether field hockey is officially recognized as the national sport of India (such statements have long been one of the most common stereotypes).
Officials were forced to admit that the relevant documents are missing. Moreover, none of the other sports has been awarded the national title either.
Unexpected answers to seemingly simple questions made many Indians wonder whether there is any sport that could be called national for their homeland. It is noteworthy that Indian athletes are almost invisible at the most popular international competitions and Indian sports news.
They managed to get only:
- one gold medal in individual disciplines at the Summer Olympics.
- India has never been very successful in winter sports.
Of course, the lack of skiers or skaters can be justified by the unsuitable climate. But why it is so rare to hear about runners or, for example, gymnasts from India – at first glance, it is completely unclear. The country has a famous wrestling “Kushti”, and a unique gymnastics with elements of yoga “Mallahamb”, which provides an excellent basis for the formation of their own school of athletes – but this is not happening yet.
Of course, field hockey does not accidentally claim to be called a national sport in India. After all, the team from this country has won the Olympic tournaments six times. But these victories are in the past, and today the national team occupies the fifth or sixth position in the world ranking. Another sport which can get the title of a national sport is cricket. Like field hockey, it was imported to India from England.
In Britain, this game remains only one of many popular sports, but in India, it has become a real fetish, something like football in Brazil. But most Indians can only watch the games: equipment is expensive, and there are not so many prepared sites. “Street cricket”, which is sometimes played by boys, looks only a faint resemblance in sportsnews.
Most likely, the “unsportsmanlike” nature of present-day India is a temporary phenomenon. It may be recalled that China, located near India, also didn’t show good results at the Olympics twenty years ago. At that time, the national sport of China could only be called gymnastics and the martial art of Wushu. Meanwhile, today Chinese athletes are known all over the world.
The same rapid rise can be expected in India since its economy is developing very rapidly. This allows us to count on creating a solid material base in the form of a network of sports schools and new stadiums. In addition, the availability of equipment will also increase. We can only guess what kind of sport will receive national status.