धर्मकाँटा

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राजा मेरा गज़ब का, किये थे अद्भुत काम
सागर लंका धाँस दी, पाप मिटाता नाम.

उस दिन तेरे देश भये सुखी सभी सुबः शाम
न्याय, सत्य, और प्रेम ने किये कुशल व्यायाम.

याद बिसारी तुने तब, जब पड़ी तेज है घाम
लेकर तेरा नाम यहाँ मच रखी घोर संग्राम.

नज़र बिराजे रामचन्द्र, अधर निहारे दाम
आयुध तानी फैज़ पे, और किया घोर बदनाम.

Time magazine on Sachin

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Sachin Tendulkar

“When Sachin Tendulkar travelled to Pakistan to face one of the finest bowling attacks ever assembled in cricket, Michael Schumacher was yet to race a F1 car, Lance Armstrong had never been to the Tour de France, Diego Maradona was still the captain of a world champion Argentina team, Pete Sampras had never won a Grand Slam.When Tendulkar embarked on a glorious career taming Imran and company, Roger Federer was a name unheard of; Lionel Messi was in his nappies, Usain Bolt was an unknown kid in the Jamaican backwaters. The Berlin Wall was still intact, USSR was one big, big country, Dr Manmohan Singh was yet to “open” the Nehruvian economy.It seems while Time was having his toll on every individual on the face of this planet, he excused one man. Time stands frozen in front of Sachin Tendulkar. We have had champions, we have had legends, but we have never had another Sachin Tendulkar and we never will.”

Image source: Google Images

On Celebrity Social Responsibility

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The do’s and dont’s of a citizen’s action list can fall in two categories – what she must do and what she should do. The ‘must’ is largely related to legal duties such as paying taxes, abiding to civil and criminal laws, following traffic rules, respecting the liberty of fellow citizens, and so on. The ’should’ list includes what a citizen does beyond the ‘must’ list.

The ‘must’ list appears very important because we, the Indians, mostly donot understand the difference between freedom and liberty, and also rights vs duties and what others should do vs what we should do. We are very intelligent and rational as individuals but pathetic while collaborating and cooperating. If each of Indians only take care of this ‘must’ list, the country will change and see its pinnacles. The interesting part is that the ‘must’ list doesnt require us to sacrifice much of our resources, money, or time. This is a part of the daily life chores and only ’self regulation’ can make this possible.

The ’should’ list is optional, depending on one’s own choice or discretion – by not doing which one’s not legally or morally wrong/irresponsible. This list is not even required to discussed if everybody is self-regulated and takes care of ‘must’ list for oneself. This list is being discussed only because ‘must’ list is ignored by one part of the inhibitants and the apathy of those who sould have taken care of the ‘must’ list. And thats where the celebrities, corporate, or somehow privilaged section of citizens come into the picture.

A celebrity can be anybody because, according to me, a celebrity is a person who has ‘an area of influence”. A common man can influence herself, however a celebrity can influence a group of people. The larger the area (of influence), the bigger the stature of the celebrity. When a common man starts this mission (in the form of social or political activism), she has to first work towards increasing her reach and the area of influence. A celebrity gets this by default, so, when a celebrity enters in the arena of activism, she starts with the immediate action. And when a bigger celebrity comes in picture, she can immediately make many people acting on that task. So, the celebrity stature gives a person an edge, which is mostly the power to influence and width of her reach.

I think this is the reason people raise their heads towards celebrities. But that doesn’t mean a celebrity must do it, definitely not. In this sense, everybody fall in the same pool, hence it is pretty senseless to criticize a celebrity (or for that matter, anybody) if she doesn’t do it. If she takes care of the ‘must’ list, doesn’t influence others to go against it using her reach, she is already a responsible citizen. What more, she is an excellent professional which is already somehow contributing to the development of the country. If somebody leaves her profession (no matters how lucrative or profitable it is), then it is way too great; if she doesn’t, it is still great. We founded one such organization called ‘Dream India Project’ two years before and during last 2 years, much more people joined DIP and involved in debates and activities. Most of us are excellent professionals and are contributing to our professions very well. I am running my own company and when I spend my time, effort, and money with DIP, it is totally my choice and interest. Same goes with fellow DIPians. Even if we don’t do this, we are responsible citizens and contributing to the development of the country with our works in our professions (and this is already beyond the ‘must’ list). Cribs never help, acts do. And I have found that most of the cribs and complains come from those who don’t act. I feel very great that these kinds of topic are being discussed very widely nowadays.

Doomsday!

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In an effort to make a bridge across fake destinations, this world has become a flock of floating stones. Shallow existence, debased wanderment, going places within and beyond every moment, momentous deeds, symphony of requiems. No height, no depth, no layers. Unquiet, impatient, indoctrinated, titivated, crawling and howling souls. No stomachs, only intestines. No humanities, only humans. No religions, only gods. No earth, only lands. No Is, only YOUs. The world of undefined variables. The shameless variables jumping out of classes and creeds, objects and subjects, functions or processes.

May the dinosaurs laugh soon on you, the extropians!

Mi Vilasrao Deshmukh Boltoye!

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Now, this one is really a classic case. Seemingly too much frustrated with the corruption and bribery in government offices, Sanjay Dhotadmal, a man in Pune, applied for ration card and got it issued in the name of Maharashtra’s CM Mr. Vilasrao Deshmukh. After feeding 2000 bucks to the ration officer, it is indeed not a difficult task to get a ration card in the name of whosoever your choice is. IBN Live reports:

Sanjay had actually visited the office to get a copy of his original ration card which was in a poor condition. But when he was asked to pay up for it, he decided to expose the officials. “I wanted to test how sincere the officers were, so I gave Chief Ministers name,” says Sanjay.

And this is what the Divisional Commissioner of Pune Division had to say on this:

“Here something has gone wrong, because we have checked up with the card that has been issued, there has been exploitation of system, money has been paid therefore we have put two people under suspension,”

Such fun and WTFness! But, all the way, this is not something which should surprise us. Corruption is everywhere, at each place and almost everyone in the government offices is corrupt. What matters is the level of work and person who has to be sucked out by the babus. This is known to one and all. However, such cases come to the media only with the occurences of serious or humourous cases. For example, the bribery related with political ghotalas or something like passport of Abu Salem. But, in those cases, the client and moolah both are high and mighty.

Even Rs 2000 isn’t something cheaper bribe of sorts. I have seen policemen and panchayat sewaks asking for Rs 2-10. RPF jawans in Passenger trains or state police on the street markets or traffic police don’t ask for more than 10 Rs or so. This happens everyday, everywhere. And this is something which is very much impossible to curb. The ground-level corruption will always be inevitable.

Another WTF News: NRAI President Digvijay Singh slams shooters Abhinav Bindra and Jaspal Rana for not acknowledging the system’s contribution to their success. He said that the success of Bindra and Rana had been possible due to the system set up by the Indian shooting federation but it seems to have gone to their heads and their statements betray arrogance. (source) (more on Abhinav bindra)

Okay, I am safe, but 20 of us have already died!

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I was about to leave my home to go to Hotel Park, Janpath (behind, Connaught Place) where I was scheduled to have my last dinner with my 3 partners (till yesterday). It was sort of a farewell for me after I ended the four years of collaboration. Just then, I got a call from my senior partner, Rajiv, that we need to cancel the booking at the Park and look for some other place nearby which will be much safer. My another partner, Vijay, was still in Janpath, waiting for us to join him. Rajiv asked me to inform Vijay that 4 bomb blasts have rocked Delhi and he must leave the place asap. Like Rajiv, I tried calling Vijay but couldn’t make it done for next 5 minutes. All telephone lines were jammed. Finally, Vijay got the call and so, I informed him about everything. He started moving from CP but stuck in the way. The traffic was terrific. People were fleeing from entire circle in trauma. Anyways, he reached and we went to PSK to have our dinner. That’s where we sat for the last dinner together. After the end of 4 years of collaboration, I will not be available to attend such official dinners after tonight. Obviously, it was a bit melancholic for me. We had the dinner and we talked about the event. Nevertheless, I was still in shock due to new terror attacks at Delhi. It is 7th year of mine in Delhi and this was the second serial bomb blast in the capital. First time, when it killed almost 80 people in 2005, I was returning to my home from my office and I was only 2 kms away from Paharganj area. I was a survivor. This time, I was 30 minutes late to reach the victim place and I survived again. Many people survived, but not everybody managed to continue living in the city. This feels more horrible when it comes to my mind that I could have been one of them. Yet, the city of DJinns will manage to get the ever-growing speed and I will continue to live my life until the next terror shocks us again. Yet, we will hope for the dawn chorus forever, on the blood-stained streets and ever-laughing ghosts of the terror. Life goes on, isn’t it?

And at 10.45 of night, with a very sad heart, I had to bid farewell to my 3 partners and my 20 fellow citymen who passed away today evening.

Google’s Chrome and everything else

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So, before Oracle launches its kit for web and desktop, Google has announced the launch of its own browser – Chrome. Heavily using the technologies from Webkit (Apple) and Firefox, this browser will be open-for-source. But, the question is – why another browser?

I think Google now arrogantly realizes that the ‘web’ and especially the ‘search’ territory are mostly monopolized by Google Inc’s products. In addition to the search business, Google has worked quite aggressively, during last 3-4 years, to capture other territories which have larger hit counts. For example, blog, docs, payment gateway, social networks, mail, chat, open source codes, albums, news, software packs, and most recently, Knol (Google’s version of Wikipedia). Google has been exclusively promoting Firefox browser (as referrals or Google packs) since few years. So, Google has realized, assuming that netizens worldwide use Google products extensively, why should they use other browsers and why should Google still promote Firefox. Additionally, when Microsoft launched IE 7, it explicitly promoted Windows Live Search through its web browser (quite natural to Microsoft). Though, later Microsoft had to accommodate other providers after Google cried out loud. Now Microsoft has launched newer version of Internet Explorer, IE 8, which is Beta 2 release. In Internet Explorer 8, the search box has two listed search providers – MS Live and Google. But, the default search provider is the Microsoft Live. If a user is such naive that she doesn’t care about which provider is she is using and she only cares about searching the web, she will obviously use Windows Live Search instead of Google Search. Though Microsoft doesn’t violate the legal matters here, it definitely tries to outcast other competitive products in its own products. In recent times, Google-Microsoft war increased more after Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt offered his open support to Jerry Yung, during the much louder episode of Microsoft’s bid to buy Yahoo. With the launch of Google’s own web browser, one can expect this tussle to continue further. For now, I will wait for the responses of Microsoft and also, Mozilla. Also, how much hiccup is coming on the way of developers who will have another browser in which to test their web applications to make sure of browser compatibilities.

There is one pretty interesting part of this launch. For the first time, I have seen an entire comic book launched to promote a product and make users understand all know-hows of it. Google’s Chrome comic book describes most marketable features of the browser graphically. And I think it is really interesting. Read the Chrome comic book here. This is one such cool strategy which is going to be really popular in the marketing world.

As far as the coolness of Google is concerned, not everybody is impressed with it. One of them is Sergey Solyanik who just left Google to join Microsoft after his one-year stint at Google. After he left Google, he wrote a post about it on his blog. Here is what he has to say about the coolness at Google:-

The culture part is very important here – you can spend more time fixing bugs, you can introduce processes to improve things, but it is very, very hard to change the culture. And the culture at Google values ‘coolness’ tremendously, and the quality of service not as much. At least in the places where I worked.
Since I’ve been an infrastructure person for most of my life, I value reliability far, far more than ‘coolness’, so I could never really learn to love the technical work I was doing at Google. I was using Google software – a lot of it – in the last year, and slick as it is, there’s just too much of it that is regularly broken. It seems like every week 10% of all the features are broken in one or the other browser. And it’s a different 10% every week – the old bugs are getting fixed, the new ones introduced. This across Blogger, Gmail, Google Docs, Maps, and more.

So, let’s see how this coolness-vs-reliability works with the product where it matters the most. Here is the download link for the Chrome browser.

As of now, when I am using Google Chrome, it seems a nice experience. Let me summarize the features of Chrome that I experienced so far. Very sleek and cool design, faster, doesn’t cover too much window space (vertically you only have two rows of controls – one for tabs and another for address bar et al, in spite of other browsers where the toolbar stuffs eat almost 25% of your window’s vertical space), and so on. In terms of coolness, Google really rocks and Chrome holds the similar promises. Nevertheless, the first thing which catches you eyes is its design and transitions. Other nice features are – download files feature, incognito window (no cookie or history will be recorded for a site opened in this window), developers panel, address bar which also works as search bar and taking suggestions from history/bookmarks/Google suggestions, etc. Furthermore, the greatest of them all is that all tabs run as different processes (or programs). This significantly improves speed and security. Speed because you can monitor and manage which tab is consuming much CPU and memory. The task manager of browser shows the CPU and Memory usages of each tab (hence, website opened in those tabs). In your ‘windows task manager’ also, each tab appears as different processes. So, you can kill those killer processes anytime you feel some trouble. Security because, the tabs are not allowed to communicate with other tabs or the computer. This means, all malwares will have no ability to enter into other territories. For the rest of the user experiences, I found many of the features of Safari and Firefox in Chrome. But then, Google has already announced that it has used Webkit (mother of Apple’s Safari) and Firefox quite extensively. So, for that, we can forgive Google.

Indeed, there are also some lack of features for users and hiccups for developers. From user’s point of view, bookmark manager, full screen control, and page magnifier are absent. As far as the technical hiccups are concerned, its too early to find them out. But, within two hours of usage, I found two errors and both of them are related this blog of mine. First, the double click dictionary feature (after you select a word and double click it, a window opens which go to freedictionary explaining everything about the word, ie, dictionary, synonyms, history, abbreviations, etc). Second, FCKeditor, a very popular and free web-based text editor, which I used in my blog’s admin module, doesn’t work at all. When I opened the admin part, I could see the text area where it supposed to have the editor in place. These are only two as of now, but again, these were quite trivial to me. And that results to that I can’t scrap other browsers and use Chrome only. I am sure I am going to find other bugs or limitations in the browse as I use it more in coming days.

On the other note, here is an interesting comic book series, Silicon Apartment, featuring Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and occasionally Steve Ballmer. Pretty hilarious, must read!!

Talking of Bill Gates, let’s refresh our memories, laugh off, and call it a day. Heh!

BSOD - 1

BSOD - 2

Chrome logo source: Google. BSOD Images sources: Google Images, dansdata.com

“I” or “i”?

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Weeks before, I read few pieces where some writers used “i” instead of “I”. I was highly intrigued with this usage of personal pronoun. I even had a discussion with my tech writer friend that whether it is the correct use or not. We had indeed no answers, so, we came to a conclusion that this might be rather a modified kind of literary usage and there might be no grammatical suggestions over exactly which one of them to use.

Me, Myself, and I

An article on NY Times clears this dilemma. No other language or dialect capitalizes personal pronouns and, even, English language used dotted ‘i’ (though, the word was ‘ic’ insted of ‘i’) till the 13th century. According to “The Barnhart Dictionary of Etymology “:

Modern and Middle English I developed from earlier i in the stressed position. I came to be written with a capital letter thereby making it a distinct word and avoiding misreading handwritten manuscripts. In the northern and midland dialects of England the capitalized form I appeared about 1250. In the south of England, where Old English ic early shifted in pronunciation to ich (by palatalization), the form I did not become established until the 1700’s although it appears sporadically before that time).”

How does that make any difference? Caroline Winter says:

It’s impossible to know, but perhaps our individualistic, workaholic society would be more rooted in community and quality and less focused on money and success if we each thought of ourselves as a small “i” with a sweet little dot. There have, of course, been plenty of rich and dominant cultures throughout history that have gotten by just fine without capitalizing the first-person pronoun or ever writing it down at all. There have also been cultures that committed atrocities even while capitalizing “you.”

Read entire piece here.

Image Source: NYTimes

Geothermal Energy and EGS : New frontiers of global energy quest

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While the Indian government is striving to get nods of NSG to make its nuclear energy dreams come true, the quest for renewable energy options have encountered another significant development. Google.org (the philanthropic arm of Google) has decided to invest $10.75 million as parts of its RE<C (Develop Renewable Energy Cheaper Than Coal) initiative, whereas the Australian government is going to invest $ 27 million for a similar kind of goal. These initiatives are aimed to grab the heat, called geothermal energy, out from deep underground of earth, covered by kilometers of rock layers. Google is funding three diffirent organizations for the R&D and development of advanced EGS (enhanced geothermal systems) which would be much efficient and less expensive. Guardian explains EGS here:

Traditional geothermal technology harnesses naturally-occurring pockets of steam or hot water that rise from deep underground, bringing with them the energy stored by the rocks there. EGS allows those traditional techniques to be applied almost anywhere. By drilling deep into the Earth and pumping water into the hole, the underground hot rocks fracture, allowing the water to circulate and be heated. The hot water comes back the surface and is then used to drive turbines and produce electricity.

Here is a video which explains EGS technology:

To see how it works, here is the animated video of EGS sketchup model:

This development seems quite promising as most of the power plants have been using coal and there is not much worldwide development in other energy sources which could be renewable and eco-friendly. These most common energy resources, coal and gas, are not renewable and not widely available. Also, the natural reserve of coal is going to deplete very soon. Estimates of the world’s total recoverable reserves of coal in 2004 were about 998 billion short tons. The resulting ratio of coal reserves to production is approximately 164 years, meaning that at current rates of production (and no change in reserves), coal reserves could theoretically last for more than one and one-half centuries. Besides coal, oil and gas are only option which is being vastly used. But the availability, total reserve, and prices of oil are some factors which further add the requirement to look for other energy sources.

Nuclear energy is one such energy source which also depends on limited global reserve of natural resources required and it is arguably the most expensive form of energy. However, the continuous reduction in global coal reserve and rising prices of oil and natural gases leave no other options. As far as the expense is concerned, the scientists are continuously working on to reduce the cost in the fourth generation nuclear power technologies. It is the setup cost of N-plants which makes nuclear power plant sound unviable to many, however the running cost is quite lower. Besides, if this source will be used round the globe, the chances are that further developments will lead to reducing the costs. If these two hurdles – cost and complexity on agreements due to defense sector use of nuclear technology – could be broken or minimized at some extent, the nuclear power has the potential to provide energy security for the world. Besides, there are no many options left to the countries than utilizing this.

Now, the focus arrives at the renewable and climate-friendly energy resources. Nuclear power is also climate-friendly energy option, but not renewable. In the coming decades, the spotlight will be heavily and rigorously targeted at these sources. One, and most important, of them is “Solar Energy“. Swaminathan A Aiyer argues:

Decades of research have improved the energy efficiency of silicon-based cells from 6% to 15%. Crystalline silicon is expensive, but its price is predicted to crash in two years. Meanwhile, thin-film solar cells using other chemicals are being developed. They are less efficient but much cheaper. Another thin-film technology called CIGS promises to be both efficient and low-cost. The Economist magazine suggests that solar electricity will be competitive with coal-based power in three to eight years.
The sun provides more energy in one hour than the world consumes in a year. But this is a much diluted form of energy that needs to be collected over a large area. The roofs of buildings are obvious sites. We also need to seriously consider covering farmland. I suspect the future is solar.

Geothermal energy has the same potential and qualities. Not only it is renewable and climate friendly, the earth has stored much heat inside its body to make this energy options most promising. An MIT report discloses that tapping just 2% of the EGS resource between 3km and 10km below the surface of the continental USA could supply more than 2,500 times the country’s total annual energy use. On the other hand, Australian experts believe that tapping just 1% of the potential geothermal energy in the country could provide 26,000 years of energy supplies. What more, according to Google, all 50 U.S. states, Europe, Russia, China, and India all have substantial thermal resources accessible by EGS.

As part of RE<C, Google aims to trap the vast opportunities to produce large amount of energy sources via three main alternate renewable energy sources, which are: solar thermal, wind, and geothermal. According to Google.org,

it is confronting the climate crisis on two fronts: We’re working on developing utility scale renewable energy cheaper than coal (RE<C) and accelerating the commercialization of plug-in vehicles through the RechargeIT initiative. Our over-arching vision is that one day a large portion of the world’s vehicles will plug into an electric grid fueled by renewable energy.

These developments surely promise to keep the mankind away from energy blues.

We shall never forget you, Abhinav!

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Back to those days, when Indian shooters have started featuring in international tournaments, an era had started striving to culminate some day. And this was 1994 with Commenwealth and Asiad games. Before that, I don’t think anybody had expected us to do anything in shooting. After the ups-and-downs of Indian hockey, there wasn’t many hopes left. In the 90s or few years before that, lifters, first men and then women, had started emerging in many game events. Olympic was still a dream for every and all. Weightlifters performed quite well in the 90s, snatching many medals at Commonwealth and Asiad, later with a bronze by K Malleshwari at Sydney Olympic. Shooters were also participating and winning medals sometimes, but it was the mid-90s when they came on the forefront. Led by Jaspal Rana and Mansher Singh. Rana was miraculous and very popular among Indian sports enthusiastics. This was the sign of emergence of Indian shooting when the name of Rana, from an unconventional sport, begun mumbled by the common Indians. So, when the hockey was shrinking and track-and-field was still in far horizons, these new-gen sportsmen (and women) were new hopes for Indian sports. I remember people, who used to shout hockey whenever Olympic got mentioned to them, making predictions for medals and counting names of Rana and sports like shooting and weightlifting. From that time, it remained the same for more than a decade. In general, there is nothing much special about it, but if we look at this again, it is no doubt a tremendous developement. Ofcourse, a nation which doesn’t think of anything except Cricket and whenever it came to non-cricket, it was India’s ol’ days hockey stincts and Milkha Singh’s loss by 1/10 seconds. Besides these, there were occasional talks about Kabaddi (at Asiads only) and Tennis. Billiards, Badminton, and Long Jump were mentioned with their lone riders. Except that, I am not able to recall anything from my childhood memories which is broadly concerned with my seniors from that time and newspapers eteceteras.

It was 1994, when India grabbed 3 golds in the commonwealth (5 in total) in shooting, featuring Jaspal Rana with 3 medals. Since then, Rana overshadows Indian shooting till 2006 Asian Games. Mansher Singh and Samresh Jung complimented Rana in Pistol events for a long time. Samresh Jung’s failures at Olympcis, now and then, can’t defy his talents that he posses and has shown at times. It is unfortunate that he is yet to reckon in the frontline. Among the females, there were two noteworthy players – Usha Unnikrishnan and Anjali Vedpathak (Bhagwat). Commonwealth 2002 was the culmination of Indian shooters (and weightlifters). Indians almost swept both categories with 24 medals (14 golds) in Shooting and 27 medals (11 golds) in Weightlifting. Mansher Singh and Usha Unnikrishnan had retired till then to give places for other future players. Many of them emerged as the stars of Indian shooting. Some of them were Anjali Bhagwat, Rajyawardhan Singh Rathore, and a young chap called Abhinav Bindra.

Indian Shooters at Commonwealth 2002

Gold

Mens 25m Standard Pistol – Jaspal Rana
Mens Centre Fire Pistol – Jaspal Rana
Mens 50m Rifle 3 Position – Charan Singh
Mens Double Trap – Rajyavardhan SinghWomens 50m Rifle 3 Position Anjali Bhagwat
Womens Air Rifle – Anjali Bhagwat
Mens 25m Standard Pistol (Team) – Jaspal Rana, Samresh Jung
Womens 50m Rifle 3 Position (Team) – Anjali Bhagwat, Raj Kumari
Mens 50m/Free Pistol (Team) – Samresh Jung, Vivek Singh
Mens Air Rifle (Team) – Abhinav Bindra, Sameer Ambedkar
Womens Air Rifle (Team) – Anjali Bhagwat, Suma Shirur
Mens Centre Fire Pistol (Team) – Jaspal Rana, Mahaveer Singh
Mens Rapid Fire Pistol (Team) – Bhanwar Lal Dhaka, Mukesh Kumar
Mens Double Trap (Team) – Rajyavardhan Singh, Ali Khan Moraad

Silver

Womens 50m Rifle 3 Position – Raj Kumari
Mens 50m/Free Pistol – Samaresh Jung
Mens Air Pistol – Samaresh Jung
Mens Air Rifle – Abhinav Bindra
Womens Air Rifle – Suma Shirur
Mens Air Pistol (Team) – Jaspal Rana, Samresh Jung
Womens Air Pistol (Team) – Sheila Kanungo, Shweta Chaudhary

Bronze

Mens Air Pistol – Jaspal Rana
Mens Clay Pigeon Trap – Anwer Sultan
Mens 50m Rifle 3 Position (Team) – Charan Singh, Subbaiah Airira Pemmaiah

Among the weightlifters, the star medalists were- Kunjarani Devi (3 golds), Kunjarani Devi (3 golds),Shailaja Pujari (3 golds), Pratima Kumari (2 golds, 1 silver), Thandava Muthu (3 medals), Sunaina Sunaina (3 medals), Prasmita Mangaraj (3 medals), and Neelam Sethi Laxmi (3 medals).

Commonwealth 2002 made Jaspal Rana and Anjali Bhagwt household names. Everybody knew about them back then and super-performance at Commonwealth pushed the expectations much forward. However, this glory didn’t remain luminous in the 2002 Asiad games. Shooters could grab only 2 silver medals, much below the earlier performance. But, the stints at commonwealth were enough to sparkle the hope for the fans. The target was already set and the aim was the olympic. In 2004 Olympic, Armyman Rajyawardhan Singh Rathore finally won the excellent Silver medal, in men’s double trap. This re-iterated the Indian claim in shooting. In the coming sports events, although the stage was not properly set at the international stage, the prime indian attention was mainly on the shooters.

After a mixture of success at Commonwealth, excellent entry into the Olympic, and failure at Asiad, the journey of shooter again started in 2006 which was much better than the earlier performances. The stardom didn’t remain the same, however.

Indian shooters at Commonwealth 06

Gold
Mens 50m Rifle 3 Position – Gagan Narang
Mens Air Rifle – Gagan Narang
Womens 50m Rifle 3 Position – Anuja Jung
Mens 50m/Free Pistol – Samaresh Jung
Mens Air Pistol – Samaresh Jung
Womens Air Rifle – Tejaswini Sawant
Mens Double Trap – Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore
Mens Rapid Fire Pistol – Vijay Kumar
Womens 25m Pistol (Team) – Saroja Kumari Jhuthu, Sushma Rana
Mens 25m Standard Pistol (Team) – Ronak Pandit, Samaresh Jung
Mens 50m Rifle 3 Position (Team) – Abhinav Bindra, Gagan Narang
Mens Air Pistol (Team) – Samaresh Jung, Vivek Singh
Mens Air Rifle (Team) – Abhinav Bindra, Gagan Narang
Womens Air Rifle (Team) – Avneet Kaur Sidhu, Tejaswini Sawant
Mens Centre Fire Pistol (Team) – Jaspal Rana, Samresh Jung
Mens Rapid Fire Pistol (Team) – Pemba Tamang, Vijay Kumar

Silver
Mens 50m Rifle 3 Position – Abhinav Bindra
Mens Air Pistol – Vivek Singh
Womens Air Rifle – Avneet Kaur Sidhu
Mens Rapid Fire Pistol – Pemba Tamang
Womens 50m Rifle 3 Position (Team) – Anjali Mandar Bhagwat, Anuja Jung
Mens 50m/Free Pistol (Team) – Samaresh Jung, Vivek Singh
Mens Double Trap (Team) – Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Vikram Bhatnagar

Bronze
Mens Air Rifle – Abhinav Bindra
Mens Centre Fire Pistol – Samaresh Jung
Mens Clay Pigeon Trap – Manavjit Singh Sandhu

Indian shooters at Asiad 06

Gold
Men’s 25m Centre Fire Pistol – Jaspal Rana
Men’s 25m Standard Pistol) – Jaspal Rana
Men’s 25m Centre Fire Pistol Team – JUNG Samresh , KUMAR Vijay, RANA Jaspal

Silver
Mens Clay Pigeon Trap – Manavjit Singh Sandhu
Mens 25m Standard Pistol (Team)
Mens Clay Pigeon Trap (Team)
Mens Double Trap (Team)
Womens 10m Air Pistol (Team)

Bronze
Mens Double Trap – Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore
Mens 50m Rifle 3 Positions – Gagan Narang
Mens 25m Rapid Fire Pistol – Vijay Kumar
Mens 10m Air Rifle (Team)
Womens 10m Air Rifle (Team)
Mens 50m Rifle 3 Positions (Team)

No wonder, why the shooters were at the main target of any Indian who has anything to know about or do with Indian athletes and sportsmen at olympic, this year. The association also had said, before the cast and crew left for the big event, that the shooters, pugilists, and lee-hash are the super favourites this time and we are hoping for a better performance because the hockey has not overshadowed rest of the sports. I must remind that the 8-time Olympic gold medalist had lost the chance to participate in Beijing Olympics earlier after loosing badly in the pre-qualifiers. Anyways, the statement of association was kind of an exaggeration, as I thought at that time. I mean, okay, look at stats, what is India in Olympics without hockey! Man, we had Gold metals good 8 times. In the next moments, shooters gave me hope and it was for our good otherwise whats the use of sending Indian troop to China if our entire hope is based on sticks only. And anyways, there will be no Indian hockey in the olympics this time, so what!! what all they had been able to do since 1980. Damn 28 years!

Anyways, the Olympic started. All eyes were centered on RS Rathore. I don’t know about others but the other favourites must be Samresh Jung or Gagan Narang. And then, a guy came from nowhere. He struggled in the qualifier rounds and was at the 4th position among 4 qualified shooters for final round, but whom of us knew that he had saved his best for the best. And, then he shot and shot it all on the target. Much better then all the Rajnikanths, ofcourse! And what we saw next was a shing medal(Bingo, it was the gold) on the chest of a spectacles-powered spectacular handsome guy with the tricolors, waving humbly and proudly and hugging his female coach. What a moment! Just like a dream! It was clearly apparent on his face that he meant what he said earlier: “I believe in myself”. And it was a due from a guy with such talent, never a surprise! In the midst of this grand celebrations, there are still many unheard sounds which were delivered from the same guy whose gun roared before getting the gold. Those words were, I think, equally important as we must believe that our heroes posses much power in their minds and words, besides their guns and roses. Many of us – especially those who are extra-enthusiastics, like the association, politicians, and the ‘fans’ – will not like to hear and remember his other deliveries such as –

I would like to reiterate that everyone who represents India at the Olympic Games has put in years of toil and sweat. I ask the Indian people to support our athletes more. It is fine to celebrate our achievements but it is just as important to keep up the backing when we are not on top of our game.

It is important for India to do better at Olympic sport as these are the true measure of a nation’s sporting depth. I wish more private initiatives come up with corporate support apart from the backing of the government. The joy that the nation feels at my win is humbling. I just wish that this is repeated more and more often.

With our depth of talent and expanse of people I firmly believe India can be a world-class sporting power. What we need are precise systems. I will try to do my bit at grooming the next generation. I would like to appeal to each Indian to also do their bit in prodding us out of sporting complacency”

Which means why do we forget Ranas, then Rathores, and Bindras? How is it possible for us to flock in lakhs when our cricket team wins t-20 and after few months, throw stones at the houses of same players who lost a match or two after few months? How the first individual olympic medal winner of India died in poverty? It also says that why a nation of one billion population and billions of resources was unable to win single gold model? And how the same players thrived at the same occassions when supported by their rich parents (Abhinav Bindra) or supported by some private organizations (Saina Nehwal and Akhil Kumar, supported by Mittals)?

Abhinav Bindra

Abhinav Bindra is a hero but we didnt make Bindra a hero and nor did the government, no matters how much they scream. But, indeed he is an hero of one billion Indians, now and forever. And we could have more Bindras if we listen to that great boy! Had we given this flocking award money to the players like him during their training and preparations, we would have dozens of Bindra grabbing medals every olympic day!

As usual, everybody (our politician mai-baaps) was distributing our hard-earned money to Bindra (as if it was their own) after he returned India. The most amusing award was from Laloo Prasad. He gave one-year (or it was lifetime, I dont quite remember) free travel in Indian Railway’s AC coach. Mister! this guy had enough money to train himself in France, would you take him Paris on you railway coach!!! This guy has corporate value of over $ 20 million per year and his father already gifted him much than you could imagin! Now, please, give free rail passes (2nd class, not AC) to our rural sportsmen, they will get much more benefits!

And to Bindra, we salute your success and we are not going to forget you and your talent in this lifetime! And we have similar respects and appreciations for Saina Nehwal and Rajwendra Singh Rathore, Akhil Kumar, Jitendra Kumar, Vijendra Kumar, and all our other sportsmen! For now, I am going to cheer out loud for our rocking pugilists. Come on, guys, dikha do!

Images source: rediff.com; Commonwealth Data from thecgf.com