The Central and Delhi governments are jointly spending Rs 1,500 crore on creating infrastructure for the forthcoming Commonwealth Games to be held in Delhi in 2010. The Union Sports Ministry too spends more than Rs 600 crore every year for promoting different sports. But the result is known to everyone. Only one gold in Olympics; dope charges on several sportspersons and costly foreign tours of sports officials. Keeping in view all these aspects it is not difficult to gauge as to how many medals would we be able to win in the coming Commonwealth Games.
But away from this huge infrastructural development, a silent revolution is taking place at Johari village under Baghpat district of Uttar Pradesh, about 70 km from Delhi. Youth of this village learn shooting at a temporary range and that too without weapons, as they do not have weapons. Many of them have become international shooters only practising with sugarcane and bamboo sticks. Their remarkable performance has surprised both the national and international sports experts.
This is the reason why Lt. General of Indian Army Shri Ashok Vasudev visited this village and directly recruited six boys and two girls from this temporary range. These children are now practising for 2012 Olympics under the supervision of the Army. The girls have been appointed on clerical posts while the boys have been appointed as havaldars. A girl from this shooting range has directly been recruited as Inspector in the CRPF. Three boys have been appointed in Indian Railways, two in Air Force, one Sub Inspector each in Uttar Pradesh and Delhi Police, seven by Indian Airlines and forty-eight in the Boys Company of the Army. Eight girls have been selected for the Sports Authority of India (SAI) centre at Badal village in Punjab. Four of these girls are now international shooters.
Ravi Jatav of this village belongs to a harijan family and is one among eight siblings. His father works as a brickfield labourer. But Ravi is now an international shooter and has won many gold medals in various competitions. Now he is studying at St. Stephens College of Delhi. About 150 children of this village have won gold and various other medals in various national and international championships. The medals won in national competitions are more than one thousand. Eight girls of the village are international shooters, which is a record in the country. Not only this, six boys and five girls of this village are SAI trained shooting coach. A shooter, Vivek Singh, who was presented the Arjun Award for the year 1999, is from this village. He is now deputy manager in the Indian Airlines.
This miraculous performance of the shooters of this village does not end here. Most of the shooters of this village are in the shooting teams of reputed colleges of the Delhi University like Miranda House, St. Stephens College, Hansraj College and Lady Shriram College of Arts and Commerce. It is because of the performance of these shooters that the Delhi University recently won the overall championship in shooting. The official shooting coaches of Delhi, Faizabad, Bikaner, Meerut, Jammu & Kahsmir and Srinagar and Gurukul Kangari universities are also from this village.
The man behind this silent career-oriented revolution is Dr Rajpal Singh who is Medical Superintendent in a hospital of MCD in Delhi. He has personally trained more than 400 shooters. Dr Rajpal Singh does not take any monitory help from the government and imparts training only to the rural children. ?I am repaying the loan of my village,? he says. In fact this kind of commitment of Dr Rajpal had impressed the former RSS Sarsanghachalak Prof. Rajendra Singh very much who praised his efforts in his speeches at many places.
Now after creating a revolution of shooting in his village, Dr Singh now visits various villages of the country to impart training. He has created a good team of shooters in Ranchi (Jharkhand), Bikaner (Rajasthan) and Saharanpur (Uttar Pradesh), etc. Dr Singh has also been the coach of the late Rajiv Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Delhi Police, Nepal Ladies Police and Mauritius Special Staff. He received the President'saward in 1984 and was honoured with Shri Guruji Award in 2001.
Children in Johari start practice with bamboo sticks, broken bricks, empty bottles, etc, as they do not have weapons. In the beginning in 1998 too, training in shooting used to be given in this village with borrowed pistols and rifles. Dr Singh gave his own and his son, Vivek Singh'spistol to the village children for practising. Most of the children practise with the help of the borrowed weapons. Even the space where the temporary range has been created has been granted by a villager, Shri Mansoor Agha.
One air pistol costs around Rs 65,000 and a rifle around Rs 1.5 lakh. Arranging such a huge amount for a weapon is tough task for the villagers. Dr Singh does not take monitory help from the government and meets all the expenses from his and his son'ssalaries. ?The Indian gurukul tradition does not seek any monitory help from the government. That is why I do not take help from the government,? says Dr Singh. ?I think the money given to the Shooting Federations too should be given to the shooters directly, as the money given to the federations is mostly spent on either harassing the shooters or on the lavish lifestyle of the officials,? the added.
It is really a shooting revolution in Johari. Everybody, whether young or old, wants to become a shooter. Smt. Chandro Tomar (76) and Smt. Prakasho Tomar (75) successfully win gold medals in veteran category. Smt. Chandro Tomar also imparts training to even the police officers. Recently when Shri Daljit Singh, DIG, Uttar Pradesh Police and Mamta Singh, IPS officer of Haryana, visited Johari they were taught the secrets of shooting by Smt. Tomar.
With a population of about 12,000, Johari is as backward as any other village of Uttar Pradesh. But now it is known at the international level. Seeing the bright career, the youth from adjoining villages too have got attracted to the game. About 17 Rifle Clubs in the adjoining villages have received affiliation from the Johari Rifle Club and all the coaches in these clubs have been students of Johari Rifle Club. Some youth have adopted it as a profession. It is due to the efforts of Dr Singh that the rural youth now do not wish to migrate to the cities. It proved a boon for the villagers of this region. Sports Authority of India has now opened its centre in this village. Shri BP Singhal, former Rajya Sabha MP of BJP, donated Rs 25 lakh from his MP fund for this centre. Dr Singh donated his ancestral agricultural land for the said purpose. This range is to be inaugurated shortly. Dr Singh was recently honoured with the Real Heroes Award presented by CNN-IBN and Reliance Industries. Dr Singh donated the whole amount of Rs five lakh to Johari Rifle Club for creating an AC range in the centre.
All the shooters in this village have eyes on the Olympics. ?The Commonwealth Games to be held in Delhi in 2010 are just a milestone,? says Ravi Jatav. These children can give excellent results if provided with proper facilities. Johari village leaves a lesson for all those who are busy in creating costly infrastructure in cities and do not value the real talent in rural areas.