24 December 2012 Sports The Secret Diary of Immortal Archer

V.K. Malhotra

Lying on a bed of arrows on the battlefield at Kurukshetra to impart a lesson to the world and the IOC
V.K. Malhotra
Illustration by Sorit
V.K. Malhotra

I lie in pain but had to continue with this secret diary. I am lying on a bed of arrows on the battlefield at Kurukshetra so that the world and the International Olympic Council will know about my contribution to archery. For as a BJP stalwart, I must emulate the example of my ancestor and the great archer, Bhishma Pitamaha, who took to a similar bed at the end. Tradition must be maintained but people who rule us have no regard for this. Ditto for the IOC. Why can’t I be the president of the Archery Association of India at age 80? Haven’t I done it 40 years? What is 80? Go back to the Great Mahabharata heroes. No one questioned how old Bhishma Pitamaha was when he was chosen to lead the Kaurava contingent at the Kurukshetra Olympics of death. His successors, Dronacharya and Krupacharya, were no spring chickens either. They lived for hundreds and hundreds of years, occupied very high positions and no one asked them to retire. That is our Hindu tradition and Hindu culture, so why are we sneering today? When I preside over the Archery Association meetings or lead the Indian Archery contingents at events, I feel like Arjuna in his chariot holding the mighty bow, the great Gandiva. I wanted to carry the great conch Panchajanya but they overruled it. If I had got a chance to blow on it during the march past, the other contingents would have been blown away in terror...and Bharat would have come back home with all the gold, silver and bronze medals.

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The IOC ruling and the derecognition of the Archery Federation of India by the sports ministry will not faze me. I am in the Bhishma Pitamaha mould, invincible (which is perhaps why the sports ministry, using the IOC ruling as a Shikhandi, is trying to oust me). Mind you, my attitude is one of tradition but a mesh of east and west. So even while following Mahabharata standards, I have not ignored the archery skills of William Tell or Robin Hood. In fact, everyone chosen for archery teams had to undergo this archery test, keeping an apple on their heads which I would bring down with my bow and arrow. Those who hesitated were not chosen. Ask anyone from Delhi’s fruit bazaars, I have bought the maximum number of apples (and billed them to the association). 

People like us who head various sports organisations are immortal. Bhishma passed away on his bed of arrows but I shall survive this ordeal and come back to haunt the IOC and the sports ministry. No one can get rid of dedicated archers like me, armed with divine weapons like the invincible Brahmastra. Look out for the Indian archers parade at the Brazil Olympics in 2014. I will be leading the team, twanging my Gandiva and blowing on my Panchajanya.

The Mumbai-based satirist is the creator of ‘Trishanku’; E-mail your secret diarist: vgangadhar70 AT gmail.com

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