Sudhansu R Das
They came from the naxal heartland of Rajnandgaon, Bastar and Kanker to face the trial of the Board of Control for Cricket in India(BCCI) in the International Stadium of Naya Raipur. The response was overwhelming as tribal youth travelled more than 200 kilometers by bus, cycle and on animal drawn carriage. Many have come on foot to try their luck. Majority of the youth borrowed white apparel and shoes for the trial which began in the last week of February 2012. The cricket trial at Raipur, Ranchi and Jammu to pick up bowlers for National Cricket Academy attracted more than 4500 youth who made National Academy director Sandeep Patil and bowling coach Karsan Ghavri’s task difficult.
For the first time the BCCI has arranged such trial for the tribal youth in naxal hit tribal areas of Chhattisgarh. BCCI has woke up after so many decades to search for sports talent among the tribal the manner US government did to find natural raw talent among the negros who made US proud in Olympic games and in many other sports.
There is a large pool of untapped talent in the tribal belt of India. Strongly built, intelligent and dedicated the tribal youth can swing India’s fortune in sports arena. India’s spending on sports infrastructure is not equitable. This is the reason why it fails to shine in Olympic games where some sportsmen in Individual discipline like tennis, weight lifting, archery and boxing occasionally shine.
Most of the resources allocated for sports are wasted by officials on their tour allowances, daily allowances, lodging and boarding etc. The BCCI maiden effort to pick up raw talent from tribal districts should continue until India finds genuine fast bowlers. Sports activity, good governance and transparency in spending of tribal development fund will keep the tribal away from Maoist ideology. More low cost indigenous sports which build up bravery, intelligence and stamina must be popularised among tribal. Sports has immense strength to keep tribals away from violent path. Sportsmen only know what kind of blind passion sports create in the minds of the sportsmen. Government in tribas populated states must make sports development as their core activity in a sincere and dedicated manner.
Give the tribals some hockey fields, some cricket grounds, kabadi, kho ko, volley balls, basket ball courts and wrestling wrings and see the result. Nobody can match tribal youth in single willed devotion. Along with sports tribals must get the right education which will let them earn from the natural sector. For example, honey collection now-a-days is possible without destroying the bee hives. Modern equipments squeezes out honey from its comb which can be refilled by the bees. The equipment is being used in the tribal district of Maharashtra. There are hundreds of minor forest products and traditional handicrafts which can give the tribal a descent life. But the handicraft and minor forest trade should be transparent and free from middlemen and corrupt babus.