Speedy Singhs

Uncut hair, comb, bracelet, sacred knife, sacred shorts — and a hockey stick.

Sandeep Singh, Rupinder Pal Singh, Sardar Singh, Manpreet Singh, Gurbaj Singh, Kothajit Singh, Dharamvir Singh, Sarvanjit Singh, Gurwinder Singh, Shivendra Singh. That almost makes an entire Indian team.

They keep on coming and it seems there is no dearth of talent in the northern state of Punjab, one of the more wealthy states in India.

Last year researcher Namrata Vadhera, at the Punjab University, came out with a study on the background of hockey players of Punjab. She concluded by saying that “both hockey players and their families belong to lower strata of society in terms of education, occupation, income, per capita income and land holdings,’’ and most of them were unmarried and came from rural areas. The study found the families of the players were engaged in government services and parents were earning about 20,000 rupees a month.

Not that revealing, except they belong to what she calls the “lower strata of society.’’

I am tempted to say I agree with her.

Let’s go back to some of the top sportsmen and women we have produced and may fall into this category of the author’s definition. Running sensation Milkha Singh and P.T. Usha, India’s former football captain Baichung Bhutia, boxer Vijender Singh, cricketer Kapil Dev, badminton ace Prakash Padukone, former archer Limba Ram and wrestler Dhara Singh. The list goes on and cricket’s Indian Premier League has a bunch of lads who are from small towns.

Rich people rarely have the urge to excel in sports. For them sports is an activity to be indulged in. The lean and hungry are keen and want an opportunity to prove and earn when government jobs are on the decline. They grab when and where a chance is available.

Since I am mentioning “lower strata’’ I know there are lot of Singhs out there who want to take a shot.

When they do, the upper strata get to watch them on their big television sets.

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