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Arise. Awake. And Stop Not’. (1/1/2007)
--s2h team
‘Arise. Awake. And stop not till the goal is reached’. This is how Swami Vivekanand thundered at the World Religious Congress in Chicago a hundred years ago, in order to bring awareness amongst the Indians, who seemed oblivious of their heritage and culture.

There is no better context than now to remember those words which acted as catalyst in bringing much needed social reform to colonial India.

Against the backdrop of hockey being butchered by habitual goons, the time has come for those connected with not just the sport but also those who care to uphold the spirit of ancient land of our ancestors, the Indian sub-continent, to stand up and count.

India is the world’s biggest functional democracy. Despite having a vast demography, a billion over population, presence of every religion in millions in count and at least 20 major languages spoken, this country sustains a working democracy. Probably an Eighth Wonder of the World, indeed.

Public opinion is the last word in every democratic society. We have seen, in particular, in the last three months how public opinion can shackle rigid legal system, bring unbelievable results in its wake. As the lower court acquits a daylight killer, who is son of a sitting cabinet minister of a State, of a bar-tender, public rose in anger. Candle light shows, signature campaigns, television media’s constant - even bordering irritating levels of -- repeat shows, worked wonders. A quick appeal led to the killer given a life sentence in the high court. Nitish Katara case, and the one involving Mattoo too were in public domain and heightened awareness campaign helped to overcome rigid and insensitive justice mechanism into judicial activism.

In the same category goes two high profile politicians fate. A sitting cabinet minister of Central Government was sentenced to life time imprisonment and another sitting Member of Parliament (he is a former Test Cricketer too) was found guilty in a road rage case. It took time for the courts to deliver these verdicts, but at the end of the day the high-profile personalities could not escape from being punished by the process of law. The independent judiciary thus proved yet again the pillar of democracy.

Another pillar of democracy of course is fourth estate.

We have seen a couple of years back how public opinion reflected through media brought all towering Gill, the IHF chief, down to his kneels. When he very cleverly tried to dug the issue of including Dhanraj Pillay in the Athens Olympic probables list, trying to fool the public with his much wonted vocabulary and gift of gab, the media played its role to perfection in equal measure. Fuelled by former players’ outbursts, a couple of member of parliaments’ press briefing and a demonstration held down under the premise of Indian Hockey Federation, Gill’s ego was blown into the smithereens in the matter of a few days. Despite general election for Central Government was underway, the injustice meted out to a legendary player was made noticeable on a scale not known hitherto in the hockey annals.

A person who castigated the press, former players, well-meaning citizen, almost senselessly, ever since the controversy broke out, lost no time to bury his head like an Ostrich. Within four hours from the Delhi demonstration, which was telecast live by Aajtak, NDTV and Star News, he called a news agency to his house and briefed how he was misunderstood by the media! And, stated in unequivocal terms that Dhanraj Pillay is in the probables list.

In a NDTV’s chat show in the same night, Gill was not his usual upbeat, his moustache was not upright as used to be every time ever since he ascended to the IHF chair. He was downcast and eyes did not sparkle. The shrewd anchor asked Gill inter alia will he contest another term. Surprise to everybody, the ‘iron man’ replied: ‘No’.

This clip was aired number times, the whole nation saw it n number of times. And, of course, you and I heaved a sigh of relief. Like a third rate politician this highly decorated and more than life size public figure, forgot soon what he said to public on that day. His double tongue and double game was exposed. He appeared not a national hero, which he briefly was, but less than even a corporation level politician.

The reason behind chronicling these events is to bring home the point that how public opinion can change things drastically for the better. How the mighty looking Gill became pigmy against the onslaught of public opinion.

This is here I call upon media brethren to ‘awake, arise and stop not till the goal is reached’.

The FIH president has given enough proof how the present IHF is a rank bad administrative body. Her views, though reflects reality, is slur on the face of a nation. If Gill is a honest administrator, he should have refuted her public statement with the support of facts and figure or should have resigned fro

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