Sunday, March 30, 2008

A Boycott in the Name of Buddha

The ongoing crisis in Tibet seems to have taken a bitter turn of events with the protests aiming the Beijing Olympics as a hostage. The latest headlines in this matter revolve around the Indian American Intellectuals Forum urging the United States to boycott the coming Olympics intending to send a message to Beijing that Washington would not tolerate suppression of and brutalities against peace-loving Tibetans.
Narain Kataria the President of the Indian American Intellectuals Forum justifies the demand for the boycott saying ''Hindu people in India even believe Lord Buddha to be an incarnation of Hindu God Vishnu. There is a symbiotic relationship between Hindus and Buddhists and hence, the Hindu people are very concerned about the miserable plight of Tibetan civilians at the hands of Chinese army.''
With due respect to the Tibetans in exile and the inhabitants of Tibet, and in no way diluting the expression of dissent over the Chinese atrocities in Tibet, the question is whether boycotting the olympics (although a strong and effective form of protest) is the right thing to do or whether it is like burning the house over to kill a few termites?
What Kataria seems to forget here, is the very motto of universal brotherhood that Olympics stands for "Citius, Altius Fortius'-"Swifter Higher Stronger". He is also forgetting what the US boycott of the Moscow olympics due to political disagreements did - prevented many great athletes from appearing in both the '80 and '84 Olympics. These competitions were marred by both the United States and the Soviet Union -- the U.S. boycotting the 1980 Summer Games and the Soviets following suit at the 1984 Summer Games. Intended to be a source of universal brotherhood amongst people from all around the globe, the people (especially the athletes) were the ones punished by these entirely political actions... not the opposing governments. China for one has been a country in today's world moving Swifter than most economies, stands Higher than most countries as far as their trade status goes and remains Stronger than most to withstand global economic catastrophes. China as of today is the future where the world is heading towards. It might be safe to say that what happens to China, decides the future of the world.
Hindus do believe Buddha to be an avatar of Lord Vishnu, but Kataria seems to forget that Buddha symbolises universal brotherhood, precisely what the Olympic games stand for. The solution to the aggression against Tibetans is not to boycott Olympics, but to conduct more symbolic events of brotherhood starting with that of the Olympics. The US and the rest of the world should politically and diplomatically ensure that China ceases its atrocities. Surely Lord Buddha himself would approve of that!


Sita said...

Yes, I also feel that boycotting the olympics is not the right solution for this problem.

As the Dalai Lama said, the grief of the Tibetans can be put across in a more peaceful and non violent manner.

The whole world will soon join in to address this issue. India, who has been very diplomatic in this whole affair till now as she does not want to spoil her relationship with China, should play an active role.

Boycotting the olympics will not help.

Hari said...

I feel Religion and Sports should not mix for the vexed interest of politician (makes money position ) placing other in the fore front. good post nicely put.