Place : Ahmedabad Speech Date : 20-11-2010
- The Khel Mahakumbh will play the role of a catalyst and in days ahead will guide the state to greater heights.
- Under a single banner, under a single arrangement, if 16 lakh players exercise their sporting skill, all in a month's time, it could probably be the largest, far-reaching event happening in the world.
- This Khel Mahakumbh would result into a massive talent-search in all the villages of Gujarat.
- Be it town or village, educated or untaught, rich or underprivileged, every single individual should have fair, impartial opportunities, which is why we have striven to encourage the Khel Mahakumbh as an enduring, potent force of Gujarat.
With due respect to each luminary seated on the dais, all illustrious sportspersons of our country who have graced the occasion today to encourage the blooming sports talent of Gujarat, all the dear children who have filled this ceremony with colourful vibrancy- this day stands as a momentous occasion in the history of Gujarat. Whenever there is a scenario of contests and games in our country and when Bharat does not win laurels or medals, there emerges an atmosphere of speculation, criticism, abuse and inaction. And amidst this, a distant questioning voice emerges, why isn't anything constructive done in a nation with a population of over one hundred crore? The question is belittling, the thought is instinctive & the pain experienced is natural, but are we to shoulder this pain passively? Will we continue speculations over our players, or would we make an auspicious beginning somewhere?
Brothers and sisters, our dreams are lofty, but let us make a modest beginning. I do not assume that the Khel Mahakumbh will usher in an immediate noticeable change. Neither does my government hold such a view nor has any intellectual stated a similar opinion. But we can take, at the least, a single step in the right direction. This Khel Mahakumbh is a stride on the path towards attaining the tremendous dream.
In life, if games do not become an integral part of our being, if games do not become a tradition of social life, mere activities on the play ground, good practice, resources and rules will not create players. A true player is born in society's sports culture. The event of Khel Mahakumbh has been initiated as an effort to give birth to this sports culture. It will be poised as a momentous event in the chapters of world history. The entire Gujarat will play- with various competitions in more than 1100 slots. Even before the event was launched, residents of 18,000 villages got together, conducted competitions of each game and made a representation of their team. The teams selected from each village will take part in 1100 specific contests. So, more than 16 lakh players will be participants at the Khel Mahakumbh. Under a single banner, under a single arrangement, if 16 lakh players exercise their sporting skill, all in a month's time, it could probably be the largest, far-reaching event happening in the world.
Brothers and sisters, a sound, healthy nation is not born unless there prevails a spirit of sportsmanship in society. Sportsmanship is neither an asset of players alone nor a quality to be found in competitors solely. The essence of true sportsmanship should be mirrored by an entire society and this virtue will not be born if sporting events and activities do not take shape. When competitions are held, it gives birth to team spirit- tournaments become the creator. A striving spirit and grace in losing is nurtured from the womb of competitions. Hence let an ambience of team spirit pervade all over Gujarat. The Khel Mahakumbh will play the role of a catalyst and in days ahead will guide the state to greater heights.
Brothers and sisters, there are regular dimensions of progress which are discussed worldwide- good roads, sturdy buildings, establishment of factories, construction of airports- development of this kind remains incomplete when citizens do not advance in values, when their personalities remain restricted, when the consciousness of an entire humanity is not enkindled. And so for development, we would like to build roads, establish industries, generate energy, we would like to scale and cross new heights of development. But that is not the end. They are only the means- they are our resources on the path of progress. I wish that our 5 crore citizens achieve new horizons. May every single soul in Gujarat be filled with energy, radiance, and an inner strength, may everyone be blessed with a dream, and have the strength and will to accomplish those dreams. To build up this potential and channelize it the right way we shall have events- we had events like Gujarat Abhiyaan, Khel Mahakumbh, even the world's largest chess tournament & Gujarat Tweej - all in an effort to bring changes in each and every life. Hence we have initiated to steer this work in the right way.
For an entire month, I have been keenly aware of the complete commitment put in by our friends of the concerned department, working day and night for the Khel Mahakumbh. Their heels have taken momentous effort to reach the pinnacle. And I did realize that had the Khel Mahakumbh not been organized, there probably would not have been such a mass activity of capacity building. Each and every village should have a ground for games; with a right plan regarding size, sketch and profile, implementation of rules and regulations and an umpire to co-ordinate each of these aspects. There should be a clear idea as to how resources should be procured. I realize now, how the Khel Mahakumbh has strengthened efficiency in various facets. There has been tremendous capacity building in the government machinery, in the sports field, among those who have been assigned to do every single work. The quality of processing has improved much. This has made a sweeping change in society and will ensure quality work outright for centuries to come. This way, all ensuing works becomes easy, for they become subdivisions of the main task.
Brothers and sisters, there was a time, when in the field of sports, opportunities went only to the children of influential homes of big cities. But since few years, in every sport, we find the youth coming forward from even the remotest village of every city. Recently, our daughter Lajja won a medal in the Common Wealth Games. I went to their home; it is in a very small village. It's a small family- a family that lives in a single room. Brothers and sisters, children born in underprivileged homes have greater potential than we can imagine. I wish to extend sports and the spirit of participation from influential households to these modest, common homes. I want to take games to the households of the underprivileged; discover latent talents hidden in their families and help their skills bloom… And this Khel Mahakumbh would result into a massive talent-search in all the villages of Gujarat.
The government will make a complete scan of the dispersed talents in villages. My desire is to have an atmosphere of sportsman spirit in the entire sports village. Let the spirit of participation, fair play, victory and defeat in sports be accepted as part of life. In this entire Khel Mahakumbh, let the focus be on talent search and discovery of ability.
In the entire course of this Mahakumbh, let new records be made breaking the old ones. In this way if all 16 lakh participants stand united, along with the 1.5-2lakh people entrusted to manage the players, this convoy of around 20 lakh people can ensure a solid foundation for Gujarat for the following century. And today, from this sports arena, it is this message that will echo forth. The way children demonstrated the Yogic Asanas today has been commendable; children from Gujarat have earned fame, both in India and the world around in Yogic competitions, earned name in skating, have shown flair in swimming; they have taken their stride in chess. Brothers and sisters, we have to move ahead in every field and have to help each youth from Gujarat to pace forward. The rising generation of Gujarat has to be given a fair chance. Be it town or village, educated or untaught, rich or underprivileged, every single individual should have fair, impartial opportunities, which is why we have striven to encourage the Khel Mahakumbh as an enduring, potent force of Gujarat.
On the occasion of the Mahakumbh, I wholeheartedly felicitate the 16 lakh participants, my heartfelt cheer to them. It's a matter of joy for me that young girls from even small villages have taken an initiative to be participants in the Mahakumbh. To those daughters, those women who are the divine symbol of motherhood, I salute them from the depth of my soul. My deep regards to those mothers, who have been determined to send their daughters to the sports field. Those mothers who are encouraging their daughters are worthy of greater respect. Let everyone, be it son or daughter, join together in the sports arena with equal, consistent effort. With renewed energy and resolution let us create new avenues, let the entire Gujarat have an opportunity to be part of the Khel Mahakumbh. I have a request to the promotional media; this is an occasion for the young blooming buds; do encourage them in any possible way.
I welcome you to be the partners in the progress of Gujarat in days to come. In this journey of progress, I invite you all to be my companions. Gujarat's growth will strengthen our dignity and glory and hence, I extend my heartfelt congratulations and wishes to this Khel Mahakumbh. I firmly believe that this month of competitions to follow will turn out to be a month filled with power, a month which will take life to cross greater heights of power and strength. Probably it was unimaginable that a fete like this could ever happen in the history of Gujarat. A ceremony like this has taken place after hundreds of years. Let us use this opportunity in the most fruitful way…and along with these, the very best of my wishes.