India can’t seem to get enough of Neeraj Chopra. On Saturday morning, the 7th of August barely anyone knew who he was and by the evening the same day the whole nation was chanting his name. All the news channels are raving about him, top leaders are tweeting about him, states are giving him large sums of money and the social media is rife with his victorious images. He is undoubtedly India’s biggest superstar at the moment and will continue to be for the next few weeks to come. Producers might already be gearing up to make a biopic of his life.
It is definitely not wrong to give a person praise and glory. Their hard work and talent deserves to be recognised and praised. But events like these show us the disproportionate amount of praise and glory we give a person when they win. It is breaking news on every channel and all other issues seem bleak at the face of this victory. The victory becomes much larger than life and Neeraj Chopra becomes an overshadowing figure of the Tokyo Olympics for India.
But there were 127 participants for the Olympics from India. Apart from the few that won, barely anyone will know the names of the rest of the participants who dedicated their lives to represent India at the Olympics. They too gave their all to respective sport. But events and situations did not seem to favour them with victory and hence no media is going to write about them, no politician is going to tweet about them and their return is not going to be triumphant. Well, I guess that’s just the way of the world. We are all drawn to victory in such a magnetic way that those who don’t accomplish it fall by the wayside.
In earlier times a person who did not get the victory they strived for was called an unfortunate person. A person to whom fortune had not been favourable. It wasn’t completely the persons fault but parameters beyond them had not gone in their favour. In the Olympics, we saw that it was the tiniest things that led a person to victory while simultaneously pushing others to defeat. Many factors had to come together and not just skill or personal talent. But society only sees the end result, they by and large cannot see everything that goes into it and the factors beyond that pushed a person to victory or defeat.
But it is utopian to think that a society will glorify people fairly for their hard work and dedication. A society picks on moments of success and feeds on it until it has exhausted it and then moves to the next. Society isn’t designed to factor in the complexities that lead to the results, they are only taken up by the results and ride the victory wave. They can only take a small section of a person and their victory and glorify that particular aspect of the person. And whenever that happens, it is bound to be disproportional.
Interestingly when the priest Samuel goes to anoint the next king of Israel, he focuses on particular aspects that he feels has the necessary qualities to be a victorious king. But God leads him to a very unusual person and the phrase in the Bible says, ‘Man looks at outward appearance but God looks at the heart.’ What the verse says is that God is able to factor in greater parameters together when He looks at a person and not just a small cross section of a person. That He can see through all the appearance of victory and look deep within and relate from that position of knowledge. If that is true then only God can give a person the right amount of worth and glory which the person deserves. Society will understandably give too much glory to one based on the result and probably nothing to another.
So, there could be a two-pronged lesson here. Firstly, a person who gains victory should not be too swayed by the glory society given the person, because it is but for the moment and will soon move away. The person should anchor their worth and glory to an absolute beyond society. secondly, we as a society should strive to look at greater parameters than just immediate results and be able to distribute our adoration accordingly.
Image source: Olympics.com