By Citizen Journalist Avinash
What comes to your mind after hearing words like passion, ardor, drive, fervor, initiative, moxie, spunk, zeal, etc.? These are all intestinal fortitude. I am sure that all of you are acquainted with the power that these words possess. The first thing that comes to mind after hearing these words is something positive, i.e. virtue is going to be rewarded, because all of these are virtuous words and we know that virtue pays off. Let us understand the word, “passion”, which also means “fire in the belly”. It is a powerful emotion, if one aspires to gain or achieve something. But instead of gaining or achieving something, what if this passion turns out to be a night mare? What if this “fire” turns out to be a curse, instead of being something rewarding?
They say, if you are passionate about something, you achieve it for sure. But at times, passion alone does not achieve all the success and well-being. Evils like politics, ego, arrogance, lack of opportunity, lack of infrastructure, together with misleading the youth, exploiting their innocence, red-tapeism, racism, favoritism, and so on gain momentum. Our youth is very innocent and it is sad that the evil-minded men take advantage of their innocence to fulfill their selfish ends.
Let’s take you all to a locality in Jammu, called Krishna Nagar, which is the football hub of the city. There lies a dark underside to the history of the place. This place was earlier referred to as the “Chambal Ghaati” of the city, owing to its criminal history. There was a time when most of the youngsters hailing from the place indulged in bad habits of drinking and smoking and were ill-famed for being involved in gang wars. Most of the youths chose to be thieves or goons, because of lack of opportunities for education and employment. The youth lacked direction. The only thing that remained at the core of their hearts was their die-hard passion for football. It was in fact football, which came to the rescue of these spoiled youngsters.
Football, which became a revolution, started their reformation and changed their lives from bad to good. This particular locality is known to have produced many outstanding state and national level players.
But then, politics played its dirty hand, when everything was going well down the lane. Politics of a few at the helm of affairs, cast a spell on the footballing atmosphere of this place. The sport, which earlier provided them livelihood, became merely a bait to lure these youngsters, playing into the hands of politics and bureaucracy. The sport, which was a source of joy to these young chaps, lost its sheen. These very politicians, not by profession, but because of their political temperaments, not only defeated the very purpose and spirit of the sport, but also undermined their morale and rendered them passionless, aimless once again.
They say that our nation is blooming on the world stage of football, but can the sport really flourish in such a situation? So, in order to make the state and nation shine on a global platform, it becomes, important to remove every stone from the path of these youngsters so that they can traverse along their path to achieving their goal sans hindrances.
We all are aware of the prevailing discrimination among the three regions of our state. Football, too, does not remain untouched by this bias. All power lies with Football Association, which is headed by Kashmiri bureaucrats.
Discrimination has its roots here. Every football team of the state, whether Government or private, is biased against players from Jammu. Teams of JKP, J&K Bank, AG Office, JKSRTC, etc. have majority players from Kashmir. JK Forest has only one player from Jammu. This trend is not because players from Jammu aren’t competent enough, but the reason being that the Association will content themselves with an average player from the valley, but would not give a chance to an excellent player from Jammu. Recently, a new football team, called JK SDPC, was disassembled for reasons best known to the Association. As a result, many capable youngsters are forced to give up their passion and struggle to earn a living.
I request the authorities to pay heed to the matter and take necessary steps to engage these youngsters in this field and provide them with employment opportunities in the sport to which they are attracted to like a moth to a flame, so that they don’t have to return to the infamous professions that once lent them a notorious image.
Inputs for the report have been taken by personal conversations with football players from in and around Krishna Nagar
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