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A Modern Day Eklavya

A Modern Day Eklavya

6 mins 370 6 mins 370

History repeats itself. This notion is there for quite some time. Many recorded events bear testimony to this fact. Although there are also many events or happenings that have not been recorded or their comparisons searched for. But still a matter of interest is created when similarities do crop up between events long gone by and current happenings that make people lively and energetic. They find time to write and discuss on the events. It becomes the subject of hot discussions and there are animated participation all along where these are undertaken. People ensure to carve out quality time to participate and get across their points.

Our own Rishi is one such example that reminds one of the characters from the epic Mahabharata. The character of Eklavya. Everyone knows of the supreme sacrifice made by him to repay his debt to his teacher, the guru, Dronacharya. More of it later.

Rishi was a young and promising athlete. His talent in the sprint events was noticed very early in the primary school stage. Although he came from a middle class family, he was lucky to get timely support at every critical stage. His schooling was sponsored by scholarship. Every one knew that Rishi would do very well on the biggest stage and do his country proud. He got all the modern training facilities and his coaches were also very updated and knowledgeable. He did exceedingly well at every stage. Be it the district level, the junior level or the national level, Rishi's performance was beyond words. All the coveted laurels were there for Rishi to take home. Rishi was the toast of town. He was the conversationist 's delight and no talk without any reference to him was complete.

Then the biggest challenge came knocking at Rishi's door. Till now whatever event Rishi participated was held domestically. He had not seen the global stage.

Selections were being held for the national team representation. Till now Rishi did not face much of a contest and his selection for participation was almost certain. But this time things were different. Athletes were being selected to represent the country. In all the sprint events that Rishi use to contest were being fought by very formidable candidates. Only three runners would make it to the final list to represent the country in foreign soil.

There was lot of talk amongst the selectors. Meetings and discussions were now routine to decide upon the final trio. The sport's body was a very powerful organisation. For being selected as the final candidate the performance was not the only criterion for making the cut. Candidates with powerful and wealthy backgrounds were always given the weightage. Rishi's performance may be good but his background was not very stable. Whereas his competitors of which three in number were of good financial and powerful political backgrounds. To get a chance to be selected, Rishi had to displace at least one. But to make it to the final selection, something more than mere performance mattered. There was hardly anyone to lobby behind for Rishi. Whereas others had good backing and support. In the races, Rishi had done exceedingly well coming in the first two. There was a group within the sports body who were bent in getting Rishi out of the final squad. Because giving Rishi the final ticket for the international passage would not benefit any of the organisers personally. Whereas giving the ticket to the contestants with powerful backgrounds would give rich dividends to the organisers both individually and collectively. Plus the top organisers would get a chance to visit the foreign locales by way of full paid journey and many other mouth watering benefits. Rishi's performance at the Selections was a medal winning one and the nations medal tally looked bright. But this Rishi had to be axed. The personal interest was way ahead of the narions' for these organisers. But some scheme must be adopted to oust Rishi once and for all. He should be implicated in such a way that his athletic career is forever doomed.

So after the final racing event all the participants were subject to a doping test. Then whatever happened was a totally managed one. Rishi, who never knew what performing steroids were, was implicated in having used banned substances. The supreme governing body immediately suspended Rishi from participation till the final reports were out. As the final results declarations would take time, the international meet would be over and Rishi would be out of the way. The cost and perseverance to fight his case would be testing for Rishi, so this would pave the way for the other contestants to go ahead with their events.

As expected, the situation proved too daunting for Rishi and gave up the fight. There was no support for him. For few days some sports journalists wrote about wrong being done on Rishi. A bright prospect was being dumped to satisfy the greed of some corrupt officials. But after few days it was all forgotten by a gullible public.

So this incident of Rishi was some what similar to what had happened to Eklavya many many centuries ago during the Mahabharata times. Eklavya was an archer par excellence. He was from a poor background so he could not afford to be tutored. He had learnt about the great Guru, Dronacharya, the great archery teacher. As he could not afford to be tutored by Dronacharya, Eklavya made an image of the Guru and learned the craft of archery all by himself, keeping the Guru's image in the background. Slowly Eklavya mastered his craft and his feat and achievements spread far and wide. The great Arjuna who was a great archer himself was Eklavya 's contemporary and was tutored by Dronacharya. On hearing Eklavya' s exploits, Dronacharya became worried for he wanted his student Arjuna to be the greatest archer of all time. So Dronacharya called upon Eklavya and knowing that his image was being used by Eklavya as a prop up Guru, demanded Guru dakshina or solatium from Eklavya. Being obedient and grateful Eklavya obliged and asked the teacher to name the solatium. Then the demand that Dronacharya made shifted the land away from Eklavya's feet. He had not dreamt this even in his wildest nightmares. The Guru had demanded the right thumb from Eklavya. Incidentally, the right thumb is the main fulcrum to facilitate the discharge of the arrow from the archer's palm. Without the thumb the archer's archery dream is finished. Eklavya, being the obedient and cultured that he was, relented and resulting in the end of the archery life of probably one of the greatest archers the world may have not witnessed.

So a repeat of the life of Eklavya in some respects was being enacted through the life of Rishi. History may have repeated itself.

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