Indian Navy: "Sneezing is news, conquering Everest is not" |
Jun 4, 2004 11: 52 EST
Yes you've noticed; the latest survivor contestant gets more headlines than the new line on Everest North Face.
The world is jaded, journalists are bored, and quick fix news replace the real thing. Well, turns out it's a global issue too. The Indian Navy sounded off to their local paper NewKerala:
Sourav sneezing is news, conquering Everest is not
"When cricket captain Sourav Ganguly sneezes or actress Aishwarya Rai breaks her ankle, that's news for India, not the conquest of the highest point on earth," laments the leader of a team from the Indian Navy that has become the first navy in the world to conquer Mt Everest.
Commander Satyabrata Dam, 38, also told IANS:
"Of the 14-member team, nine climbers attempted the summit and five succeeded, the first three reaching the top May 18 and the remaining two, including Dam, May 19.
"But the feat means nothing to Indians. The national obsession with sports like cricket and football is costing the country dear in other areas.
"Like in other sports, you have to catch mountaineers young too," says Dam, whose youngest team member was 23. "You have to give them good training, good equipment and then send them on actual expeditions.
"By nature, Indians are not very adventure-oriented. Parents would prefer children cramming for exams to climbing mountains!"
Lack of money is another reason that has prevented Indian mountaineers from becoming living legends like Italian Reinhold Messner or Austrian Peter Habeler, two Everest climbers who reached the summit without bottled oxygen.
"Equipment and training is expensive," says Dam who himself trains in the Alps. "A small peak alone costs about Rs.500,000-600,000 while Everest would require at least Rs.8 million to Rs.10 million.
"Indian climbers need serious funding from the ministry of sports instead of having it wasted on some other trivial sport."
Since mountaineering, despite building team spirit, is not a competitive sport, there are no eye-catching tourneys to promote it unlike the World Cup for football and cricket."
The Indian Navy team kicked off their expedition in early March off the coast of Goa in a Russian EKM submarine, 250 ft below the surface, with the defense minister of India in attendance to flag the team. Commander Satyabrata Dam was leading the 14-member expedition on Everest’s North side.
Image of Everest and Indian Navy flag from ExWeb files.