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Swami Vivekananda's 150th Birth Anniversary




Swami Vivekananda’s 150th Birth Anniversary – Table Tennis Federation of India’s Platinum Jubilee and my Big Table Tennis Dream
by Sri Probir Mitra



It is Celebration time.
It is Festival of Light Within.

It is wake up call for the youths of the country “To Arise, Awake and Stop Not Till the Goal is Reached”.

It is Swami Vivekananda’s 150th Birth Anniversary which is being celebrated throughout the length and breadth of the Nation commencing 12th January 2013 and spread over the year and beyond. 
INDIA is Blessed and Initiated by Swami Vivekananda to exploit its full potential – the Demographic Dividend of the Nation.

INDIA is the Youngest Nation in the World with over 70% of its population within the age group of 25-40 years.
Swamiji is Leading the youths of the Nation with His Voice without a Form.

His mortal body has left His Soul on flight after 39 years but His Youth Inspiring Spirit and Power continue to Inspire and Motivate the INDIAN and GLOBAL Inhabitants of all age groups to become Handsome by doing Handsome Deeds “Handsome Is What Handsome Does” Swamiji’s immaculate utterance.

The concept of ‘Divine Discontent’ is the seed Swamiji plants in the minds of the youths to pursue Perfection. His Revolutionary Utterance “You can reach Heaven quicker by playing Football than by reading Geeta” has Inspired the young freedom fighters pre-Independence and it is continuing to Inspire the Indian Youths to break the shackles of post-Independence maladies of greed, corruption and crime.

Every Man is Potentially Divine and can reach God within through its manifestation.

Swamiji defines HUMAN ARCHITECTURE – Islamic Body and Vedantic Brain. Harmony and Peace in the World is its Only Home.

The 150th Birth Anniversary of Swamiji is falling in the same year when our beloved Table Tennis Federation of India will be celebrating its Platinum Jubilee. This beautiful celluloid game which we hold close to our heart is an Intellectual Sport. It has the utmost potential for the young athletes of the country to excel in their reflexes, intellects and character building by integrating 4 YOGAs – KARMA YOGA, BHAKTI YOGA, GYAN YOGA and RAJ YOGA in their life and career.

This is Swamiji’s Prescription for providing Spiritual Coating in the Human Mind and Soul so that elements lower than the truthfulness is never allowed to stick in the minds of the youths.

I am personally close to Federation’s age and am witness to the Federation’s History of rise and fall.

I have seen collective organizational excellence at its peak when we conducted 33rd World Table Tennis Championships in Calcutta in the year 1975 which included construction of a World Class Netaji Indoor Stadium within an unbelievable  6 months effective day and night human endeavor.

The marvel of Engineering Excellence through its precast structure is standing tall and chanting unspeakable joy of soul fulfilling melody – a TTFI symphony of dreaming and achieving.  

The 5th Asian Table Tennis Championships in Calcutta in 1980, 39th World Table Tennis Championships at Delhi in 1987 and 19th Asian Table Tennis Championships at Lucknow in 2009 are all manifestation of Divinity in the body, mind and soul of our Federation.

It is Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore’s statement to Romain Rolland – If you want to know India, study Vivekananda. In Him it is everything  positive and nothing negative.

Therefore dark spots of power hankering, various shifts from detachment to attachment, corruptions and scams and temporary dislocation of the development growth through sub-standard human activities are negatives which will not be allowed to stain the organizational fabric of our Federation.

When we board the flight in the Platinum Jubilee year in pursuit of limitless aspiration totally devoid of any expectations and low cunning, we must consciously remember that we must not preach what we do not practice and young athletes can only light the International sporting Horizon if we provide them the physical, intellectual and spiritual platform as an integrated whole in their Pursuit for Excellence and Perfection.

Our collective flight is not from error to truth but from lower truth to higher truth.

I fondly remember during Asiad’82 , the Indian Team comprising of some of the brightest young athletes – Kamlesh Mehta, Chandrasekhar, Manjit Dua, Manmit singh, Sujay Ghorepare in the Men’s squad and Indu Puri, Monalisa Barua and Sailaja Salokhe in the Women’s squad.  – I was In-charge of the Team as Manager and motivated the athletes to explore 7 Planes of Human Mind through Meditation and Yoga.

For 7 playing days, I wrote 7 pieces :-

  1. MULADHAR  at the Base – symbol of Gratitude and contentment to Almighty
  2. SADHISTHAN in the 2nd Plane controlling 6 sense enemies in Human Mind
  3. MANIPURA in the 3rd Plane depicting ego refinement through surrender
  4. ANAHATO in the 4th Plane depicting spontaneous love and compassion  
  5. BISHUDDHASTHAN in the 5th Plane to keep the mind temple clean and stainless
  6. AGWASTHAN as the 3rd eye in the forehead as the light of knowledge and then pursuing –
  7. SAHASRARA as the 7th Plane  Home of Salvation and Emancipation

Kamlesh was sharing room with me and was taking a lead role for the morning Meditation. Indu was a spiritually illuminated soul on her own right.

Spiritual Coating that Swamiji created in the minds of these young athletes was a soul fulfilling prize for me.

I was helped by Sri Shekhar Dutt – the then Director General of Sports Authority of India (SAI) & presently the Governor of Chhattisgarh and also Late Sri Mulchand Chowhan – the then Secretary General of Table Tennis Federation of India in pursuing a structured Centre of Excellence at SAI NSEC, Kolkata where Integration of Body, Mind and Soul was pursued among the young athletes through 4 YOGAS :-

  1. KARMA YOGA – physical exercise of different menu through Sports Medicine support and rhythmic detachment pursuit to excel in this performing art with Body Conditioning at its peak
  2. BHAKTI YOGA – Love, Compassion and Comradery among the players, coaches, officials and all around including the floor, tables and other playing equipments  where LOVE was the password to decode
  3. GYAN YOGA – knowledge unlimited. Books, videos, digital dissection, computerized monitoring of the athletes anatomy – physical, mental and spiritual.
  4. RAJ YOGA – Pranayam and Meditation to develop concentration and spirituality elevated attitude of staying at the peak without getting affected by the wins and losses where Divinity has a hand to hold.

This is the model for my Big Table Tennis Dream.

Legendary players and athletes of the 40s and 50s – Uttam Chandrana, V. Sivaraman, Kalyan Jayant, Ranbir Bhandari, Kumar Ghosh, K. Nagraj, T. Thiruvengadam, Sudheer Thakersey, Goutam Diwan, Jotirmay Banerjee, Dipak Ghosh, Jayant Vora, Syed Sultana, Meena Parande, – all have inspired the future generations and as a State Player-cum-Organizer, I had the privilege of sharing with some of them my spiritual aspiration and passion for the game. 

It was in my Elgin Road Heritage House Table Tennis Hall, Indu Puri showed up as a young colt in V. Sivaraman’s coaching class. Sivaraman’s hard and soft treatment plunged young Indu to overcome all her physical limitations in pursuit of perfection and excellence.

Players of the 60s and 70s – Farokh Khodaiji, Mir Kasim Ali, Jagannath, Kabard Jayant, Niraj Bajaj, Katy Chargman (now Khodaiji), Rupa Mukherjee (now Banerjee) – all have achieved International Flavour through their spiritual mindset.

Players of 80s and 90s – Venuy Chandrasekhar, Manjit Dua, Manmit Singh, Kamlesh Mehta, Chetan Baboor, S.V. Raman, Sujoy Ghorepare, Arup Basak, Nupur Santra, Soumyadeep Roy, Subhajit Saha , Soumyajit Ghosh, Mantu Ghosh, Anindita Chakraborty, Kasturi Chakraborty; then the long reign of two friends Poulomi Ghatak and Mouma Das with Sarath Kamal at the helm of a Crowning World No 39 achievement have all provided me with immense joy as an Integrated Fulfillment of Body, Mind and Spirit.

How can I forget , A. Amalraj first joining COE in SAI Kolkata and after few counseling sessions with me, making a deep and soul fulfilling statement in his stammering voice “Sir, I am committed to pursue peak of the world. I shall spend all my earnings to visit whichever International Academy Federation sends me – just give me a chance”.

Federation had to penalize him because of his emotional outburst after becoming National Champion but in my own mind, I had forgiven him totally with respect and love.

When Soumyajit Sarkar became Asian Cadetr Champion lately beating his higher ranked Korean opponent at Delhi, I was moved by his spiritual greet to fight back from an almost unassailable  position.

Such incidents confirm my Faith Driven surrender to Divinity.  

In the twilight years of my courtship with this beautiful celluloid sport, I will continue to live in the hope of realization of my big Table Tennis Dream by Federation performing under a collective leadership of all the stakeholders to pursue projects like :-

  1. Table Tennis Academy Project in PPP Model in every district as is being pursued by the Ministry of Sports – my pilot project in Vidyasagar Colony, Kolkata is in Dhanraj Choudhary’s possession.
  2. Different level coaching program in collaboration with ITTF with prominent inclusion of the 4 Yogas mentioned above.
  3. IPL League – which was hijacked by Cricket from Table Tennis – need to be structured and started during the Platinum Jubilee Year. Our Senior Players motivated me to start this pilot in Bengal which was immensely successful. I am sure players like Chetan Baboor, Vasant Bharadwaj who are living abroad can effectively interact with ITTF and other Top Table Tennis Nations to launch this in India.
  4. My Marketing Plan for TTFI which I provided to Mr. Chaturvedi as the Marketing Chair and of course Mr. Dhanraj Choudhary will be a fund focused valued document to pursue growth and development on independent platform without surrendering its soul to politicians.
  5. My document on increasing number of registered players upto the grassroot level with registration fees structure also technical infrastructure creation through trained personnel – umpires, referees, etc with incentives for professionals to take this as their careers can all be part of our Platinum Jubilee Celebration with focus on governance and accountability.

TTFI has rightly amended its Constitution as per Govt Guidelines and I.O.C. Norms. In sync with this, Federation must draft Uniform Constitution for all State and District Associations and make it mandatory for all States / Districts to adopt them with single point focus on governance and accountability to perform and deliver targets.

Let us celebrate the Platinum Jubilee with some high end unique projects which will provide light to the present crisis-ridden Indian sports to Dream, Scheme and Achieve Excellence and Perfection.

Our young athletes are poised to reach the Peak with Swamiji holding their hands not only as Players of Class but also as Human Beings of Highest Quality.

I end with a quote from Swamiji’s poem PEACE :

It is beauty never seen,
And love that stands alone,
It is song that lives un-sung,
And knowledge never known.

It is death between two lives,
And lull between two storms,
The void whence rose creation,
And that where it returns.

To it the tear-drop goes,
To spread the smiling form
It is the Goal of Life,
And Peace -- its only home!