Wednesday, May 24, 2006
he ran and ran and ran.the full distance of 65 kms from bhubaneshwar to puri in the state of orissa,india in 7.02 hours on may 2 . it seems that he has run this full stretch nine times in 2005 and that is nothing unusual if he was a normal runner. he wasn't. he is only 4 years young. some reports said his age is three and some said it is five. i chose to take the mean of four. an extraordinary achievement in the summer heat. it went straight into the limca book of records. the world was aghast.it has triggered flak from human rights activists. and many still believe it is a hoax.
the kid was unmaintainable by his impoverished mother who sold him for rs 800. the saviour and surrogate father one day asked him to run around a particular place as a mild punishment for some mischief that budhia had done. and the father forgot about it. when he came back after several hours he found the boy still 'on the run'.that was when the father,biranchi das,a local judo teacher, who became his coach discovered his unusual stamina and realised the hidden potential of a 'marathon runner'.
the rest is history.there was lot of media attention as usual.the state government stepped in and had him medically examined.then the orissa government announced that budhia will not be allowed to run given his poor health condition. and the father and coach swore to polish the uncut diamond and realise his true value.
a four-minute musical cd in oriya has been made in which he has been compared with lord krishna. and foster entertainment of hollywood has shown keen interest in making a movie on budhia's life. besides being shown by all news channels in india, a french tv channel has shot a documentary on budhia. touch production's ltd uk has invited budhia to london to produce a documentary on him. and for the moment budhia has been placed in the seventh heaven.
as expected there is a raging debate going on whether he should have run at all. what would have happened if he had collapsed and died. collapse he did when he reached the destination. how could the coach be so selfish and indifferent and put to risk the young kid's life? is he trying to attain fame and money at budhia's cost?
we must not get carried away by these insinuations and we must take an impassionate look and judge the case on its merits. firstly,it is a fantastic achievement.the crp personnel were running along with budhia and the record appears to be genuine. secondly,we must accept that there is the hallmark of a runner in him and take steps to encourage the growth of the talent. by giving him the material means for proper nutrition,comfortable living and the infrastructure for coaching and nurturing the talent.
here is a chance for a poor slum boy to make it big.for god's sake let us not play spoilsport .we must allow this extraordinarily gifted child to keep his date with history.
and even as la affaire budhia has not yet died down,the state of orissa has earned the unique distinction of having yet another child running 38 km from pipli to puri in about five and a half hours. dilip rana,12,is a class eight student of a local school. unlike budhia, dilip rana started running only a fortnight ago,perhaps inspired by budhia's exploits .he practised for nearly seven hours every day under the watchful eyes of his uncle and coach shaikh zakir. dilip took only water and grapes while he kept jogging the 38 km stretch and was accompanied by about ten youngsters.
orissa is now in the world map for not only its ironore reserves but for its potential marathon runners.