Why India failed at Rio 2016

Subhash Kak
Subhash KakAug 20, 2016 | 14:09

Why India failed at Rio 2016

Waray, a minor language of the Philippines with barely 3.4 million speakers, has more Wikipedia articles citing its mention than all Indian languages (close to 1.3 billion speakers) put together. English has more than five million articles, Vietnamese has more than one million, while Hindi has 1,00,000; other Indian languages have it worse.

Indians seem to find it difficult to take charge, complaining perpetually that the government has not done this or that.

Indians seem to find it difficult to take charge, complaining perpetually that the government has not done this or that.


But where the government is not an issue, as in the creation of material on the volunteer-based Wikipedia, Indians are not interested.

Hindi ranks around 60 in the list of Wikipedias ranked by the number of articles. Is it just a coincidence that India is currently ranked 61 in the medals won at Rio Olympic Games?

Indian universities do not figure in international rankings. Indian movies are sloppily edited; Indian designs are generally hackneyed.

India has some of the greatest monuments but their upkeep is terrible. No wonder, the whole of India gets only about 7.7 million international tourists (most of whom are NRIs) whereas Europe (which is comparable in size) gets 458 million. Considering individual countries, Spain gets 65 million, the Russian Federation gets 33 million, and the relatively small Turkey, in spite of its unsettled conditions, get nearly 40 million.

Indians blame the government, the communists, and enemies in all corners of the world for not doing things well.

Before Independence, we blamed the British for perpetuating their rule by what was called the policy of divide-and-rule. But why were we getting divided? Why couldn't we form alliances with each other with policies that were beneficial to all?


A few years ago, Andrew Young (an associate of Martin Luther King and American ambassador to the United Nations) told me at a meeting, where both of us were speakers, that the central lesson that the American Civil Rights movement learnt from Mahatma Gandhi was to see one's own responsibility in one's situation. Specifically, it is pointless to put all the blame on the oppressor. If the oppressor is riding you, why are you letting him do so?

India will not be competitive internationally unless we learn this lesson of Gandhi.  

Rio is just a symptom.

Last updated: August 21, 2016 | 14:54
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