Monday, June 04, 2012

my firstpost piece laments that anand's genius goes unrecognized by indian govt, media

jun 4th, 2012 CE

and we all know why. there's not much opportunity for the kkkangress to loot in chess. the russians have it all wrapped up.

and also, anand has the wrong name. if he were to change his name to viswanathan anand gandhi, he too would get a bharat ratna and get into the rajya sabha.

anyway, anand has the wrong name. 

Indians have become so accustomed to mediocrity that they don’t quite know what to do with a genuine hero and a real champion. The culture of chalta hai and taking short-cuts and muddling-through that Indians, as it were, absorb with mother’s milk, prevents people from recognising true merit and stupendous achievement. And there are also the usual suspects — the media — who would not recognise genuine-ness it were handed to them on a platter, and it jumped up and bit them on the nose.

Here is Viswanathan Anand, world chess champion for the fifth time, someone who stands at the very pinnacle of the sport. Tell me, in which other sport does India have — or has ever had — a world champion, especially one who dominates the field as Anand does? It is true that there have been occasional world champions in billiards and women’s weightlifting and women’s boxing, but they, too, have been slighted.

But chess, now that is the ultimate sporting test, the test of strategic insights and the endurance and fortitude in tough times: indeed, war by other means. Come to think of it, maybe that’s precisely why Indians don’t appreciate chess, because after all, these are the very areas where India is most deficient. Strategy? Hardly. Endurance? Hah! Fortitude? No, India is full of cry-babies, asking for privileges where none are due. And despite the valour of the armed forces, India has cut a sorry figure in its more recent wars, mostly because of a total lack of strategy on the part of the netas.

There is no appreciation of how difficult Anand’s path has been, and the odds that he has overcome to be the best of the best. AP

Thus, there is no appreciation of how difficult Anand’s path has been, and the odds that he has overcome to be the best of the best. First of all, there is the old Soviet/East Bloc stranglehold in chess: they do not like interlopers, as they see those from outside their system (that applies especially to non-whites, I would imagine). Second, Anand has achieved all this with absolutely no support, and in fact hostility from Indian apparatchiks.

So poor Viswanathan Anand, sort of like Abhimanyu in the chakravyuham, has had to, all by himself, fight the Soviets in their own den on their own terms. The fact that they are not keen on his winning the world championship yet again was highlighted when Anand played Topalev of Bulgaria a couple of years ago. European air travel was shut down because of a volcanic eruption, yet they wouldn’t postpone the championship; so Anand had to drive some 3,000 miles to get to Sofia, Bulgaria. But he had the last laugh: he won.

And what did Indian officialdom do to Anand? The Kapil Sibal HRD ministry alleged in 2008 that he was a Spanish citizen (because he spent much time there), and spoiled the award of an honorary doctorate to him (actually why should citizenship be a criterion for awarding a doctorate?). Most countries are delighted to grab a world-class chess player — see how Gata Kamsky moved from Russia to the US; Boris Gelfand from Russia to Israel, etc. — and here is Anand, who would be welcomed as a hero in at least dozen chess-loving nations, being actively encouraged to give up his Indian citizenship by these brutes in the HRD [sic] 



seadog4227 said...

Everything would have been okay if he had visited M F Hussain, or visited him when he was alive or paid "floral tributes" at his grave, like some recent Rajya Sabha entry!

Unknown said...

This is getting ridiculous. Chess is a not considered a sport in most parts of the world. It is a game that is very difficult for amateurs to follow. Most of the time the average onlookers do not know who is winning or losing.
It is a game where even the very best cannot afford to be professionals. This is across the world. In such a global atmosphere, Anand has been receiving steadfast support and sponsorship and constant press since 1986. Let alone making a living, he has made millions. And the support has been there for several decades. Both from the private sector and from the government. An entire set of tournaments came up in India in his wake. He has received a hero's welcome, win or lose, whenever he has returned. To compare everything with cricket and to cry about it is just the Indian crab mentality at work. Chess is an elitist game by its nature, and top level chess is not fun to look at most of the time.

san said...

Chess is still nevertheless a deeply mentally-challenging sport, and one which was invented by India. It's good to see Indians bringing the seat of excellence back home, to where it all began.

Mentally-challenging pursuits shouldn't be branded as elitist, but rather as a sign of mental prowess. Otherwise we're just popularizing idiocy by default. Goodness knows India has enough of that.

Julian said...

"and top level chess is not fun to look at most of the time."

haha and cricket is?

Jimmy Carr Talking About Cricket And Paralympics