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Sunday, April 20, 2008

Tibet and Olympics: The return of the torch

For many things that were so common in the 80s, obituaries for their mass use have already been written; for all such things as telegrams, typewriters, matches, safety pins, and torches. Yes, torches, one no longer buys them in developed countries unless they are working for Jeff Corwin’s crew. But suddenly, torches have been in the news as the Olympic torch was being carried all around the world amidst violent protests. Several protesters came out in the streets to fight for the freedom of Richard Gere, Sharon Stone, Harrison Ford and Tenzin Gyatso as they tried to throw the torch relays into disarray.

Predictably, in India, Sachin Tendulkar got an injury before the torch run which was being explained by some as a subtle political message. But the fact is that Sachin was never known to have any political views and is known to have got injuries before critical events consistently. All the same, the Olympic committee selected a totally wrong set of people to carry the torch. For instance, in India, they should have selected the lead characters of the tele-novellas to carry the torch. Come on, who can match the immense experience of the likes of Tulsi, Kksusum, Prerna and Parvati of the Saas-Bahu serials in protecting the flames of diyas (lamps) in front of El Nino and Hurricane Katrina?

Outside India, the Olympic authorities could have tried working with Facebook. One torchbearer could have “passed on the torch to you” to the next bearer, all over Facebook without giving a chance to disruptions. If things really got desperate, they could have sent spam scare mails with pictures of the Olympic flame saying “Pass this mail with the picture to 5 people you know within three days, else your mother-in-law will become alive”.

All the same, the Tibet issue is a difficult one. Are the protesters fighting for a just cause or are they looking to re-establish a feudal order? Is Tenzin Gyatso the true representative of the Tibetans or is he just a glorified person selected through an obscure and irrational dream-based procedure that is far from being democratic? Were the reports of the Tibetan riots in the western media unbiased, if so why was there so little coverage of the initial riots when Tibetans reportedly damaged properties of ethnic Chinese? And with most of the leading characters associated with the freedom movement being foreigners, there is skepticism over how much the movement is in touch with the reality in Tibet?

Anyway, the moot point is that torches are back in the limelight and the future is promising for them. One just has to view any movie from the Star Wars family to know that the battles of the future will be using torches (Lightsabers) only. The skirmishes over the Olympic torch relays just prove that point.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dalai Lama rules... you dont know our pain.. The chinese are spoiling our culture and economy every minute