Bhaichung Bhutia not to carry the Olympic torch

The controversy surrounding the Beijing Olympics refuses to die down. Now, the Indian football captain, Bhaichung Bhutia has refused to carry the torch citing solidarity with the Tibetean cause.

bhaichung bhutia

“Decision not to carry Olympic torch is entirely personal, not political. I am not doing this on behalf of any organisation or group. I’m not even asking others to join me. Not carrying the Olympic torch was an obvious decision for me as I am against the violence and oppression in Tibet,” he said.

Meanwhile, another controversy is brewing as Aamir Khan has been roped in by Coca Cola to carry the torch. The Tibeteans in India are warning that they will commit self-immolation if Aamir Khan goes ahead with the torch relay.

aamir khan

I am no one to tell any group of people how they should conduct their struggle. I am not part of it and am not going through what they are going through. But my heart goes out to them.

I request those of you who have asked me to stay away from the Olympic Torch Relay to understand that when I do run with the torch on the 17th of April it is not in support of China. In fact it will be with a prayer in my heart for the people of Tibet, and indeed for all people across the world who are victims of human rights violations.

Meanwhile the German chancellor Angela Merkel has indicated that she will not attend the Beijing Olympics and the French President Nicolas Sarkozy maintaining that he might boycott the opening ceremony of the games. More fun 😉

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  • lazybug

    I think both Aamir and Baichung are right in what they are doing. It’d be stupid of the Tibetans to commit self-immolation over such an issue.

  • hari

    Bhaichung is brave and I feel proud to see his action. We, in India are closest to the Tibetian people and have expressed little. Sad.

  • Liju Philip

    @Akhil, true. As much as we should respect the right of protest by Bhutia, we also need to realise that Aamir has his rights to get involved with the torch relay. We are a democracy and everyone has his rights to get his/her point across without getting violent. That’s what makes our democracy so vibrant and strong.

    Or else, there is no difference between us and the Chinese.

    @Homemaker, to each his own. I put both the points cos each one is within their rights to express themselves. Even i would have wished Aamir to boycott. But then he has his own mind.

    @Hari, we have given the Tibeteans so much rights in our country and also protected them. I think, we have done more than enough. Ideologies shouldn’t cloud simple economics. India needs China more than Tibet.

  • Amit

    Bhaichung’s stand I can understand but Aamir has nothing to do with it. You can’t stop Aamir to carry the torch just because it would “look” like he is supporting China. That’s ridiculous.

  • hari

    Personally, I do not mind being poorer supporting Tibet. After all, we sound very brave when showing how we can do without the west and blast them at short notice on various accounts, but have little to offer when it comes to people we have offered our home. In my view just because we have offered them our home we have a connection to them. There is a Chinese saying, ” Do not save someone;s life if you cannot be responsible for it.” So, is how I personally view things.

  • Indian Homemaker

    I also feel we should do s little more for Tibet, I respect Bhutia, I am proud of him. Can’t say the same for Amir Khan. ..nice words, but Tibet needs more than a prayer in Amir’s heart:( We are all humans and we cannot ignore China’s poor human rights record.
    Just because we are not the victims we cannot act so indifferent!

  • Liju Philip

    Even i sympathise with the Tibetean cause, but i more than that respect the choice of an individual. The very basic premise of democracy is the free will of a person to make his/her choice and pursue it. As long as they dont break the laws of the land. India has friendly relations with China and we are free to toe or to oppose the govt of India’s point of view. Bhutia has his reason. Aamir has his reason. Both are correct at their own stand.

    Another thing that i cant understand sometimes is that we forever complain that other countries poke their nose in Kashmir and that its our internal matter. Similarly, i believe Tibet is an internal matter of China for them to sort out. We gave the Tibeteans refuge from terror because its the policy of our country to give refuge from oppression. But to use our soil to foment any sort of aggression against any other friendly country is something iam not in favour of. Then we lose the case to object against any other country’s interest in Kashmir or for that matter any other place in India.

    The Tibeteans are free to go to China and pursue their cause and cause whatever mayhem they want, but please don’t use our shoulders to fire their bullets. That’s precisely what pisses me off about the Dalai Lama. He’s turning out to be nothing more than a “free loader”. Enjoying our hospitality and working against our country’s interests.

    Another thing i cant understand again about the same people who fight for the Tibetean cause, why dont they raise their voice against the mass murders caused by Modi, Bal Thackeray, Advani and the rest of the chaddi gang? Or the growing Islamic fundamentalism that is threatening us or the christian separatists who are working in the north east of our country?

    Why this selective belief in human rights?

  • Chintam

    We are all good natured human beings, otherwise we wouldn’t have been talking about such issues, that including Amir Khan But, that’s not enough. Very true that we shouldn’t be firing bullets on their behalf, but token protesting it at the right time(when it matters) to send China a strong signal is what matters.

    Although we should be respecting an individual decision, it is only possible to some extent at the individual level to take such a stand as when it comes to Govts, it gets very complex (Economics etc. as you mentioned). Amir Khan is not an oridinary person to take any oridinary decision. What one should be saying here is, it would have been nice if he had taken the stand to say ‘No’. There are plenty more ordinary persons to say ‘yes’ and carry the torch and ‘yes’, one shouldn’t mix politics and sports (USA and Russia is it?) and players(or Nations) should carry on participating to make it a grand spectacle. The difference is when an individual is making a choice, one needs to (or can) take a bold stand unless it mattered to him/her. I would look at it as an opportunity to oppose as opposed to grabbing it as a chance, for one’s glory(and may be cashing on it???) is just being ‘selfish’.

    Yes, one should be protesting regardless of where it is happening. It reminds me of England giving a warm welcome to Fiji’s President/PM(?) who has got the same track record as that of Zimbabway’s Mr Mugabe, only difference being ‘white’ farmers in the latter case as opposed to Hindu farmers in the earlier case. Agreed, that was at the Nation level and things get very complex. But, an individual can keep things cleans as far as he/she is concerned.

  • Chintam

    Philip, i know, ‘sorry’, some of it was repeat of what you said bit before “Even i would have wished Aamir to boycott. But then he has his own mind.” – an oridnary mind to have taken the decision he had taken. I wonder what those (I mean real reasons and not the ones they say inorder to make us believe) reasons are for each of them to have made 2 contradicting choices.

    Of course, one should be repecting the individual’s choice. That is only masses who are trying to force Amir – threating self immolation blah blah

  • hari

    I support the Dalai Lama because his the only peaceful movement I have known off. I cannot relate with most other movements. I also typically voice against, in my little way, all other items you mentioned. Also, there can always be somethings you feel for more than the others. The whole idea about speaking about something you believe in is hoping others feel the same too. Just as much there maybe a cause you feel about and I cannot sense well and you happen to influence me. Dalai Lama is not a free loader in my mind. A person like him is special. And I feel happy he is here in India, whatever he is doing. Besides I do not think its about telling China what to do, but to provide moral support to someone near us. There is no reason for us to be scared about that step? But the way Indian government has behaved has made it look like that. At least allowing them to carry out their rallies without fear, since we are a democratic country?