You can make anything by writing – CS Lewis
“I was not fighting against any specific person or federation but against the things which were not in favour of the players. I felt it was wrong so I stood up. It was in 2006, telling you the truth it was not easy to quit something completely which you love the most. I had a hard time cutting myself out from the league”, says the thirty-six year old ace marks-man Jaspal Rana. “Come on! We are the ones who bring laurels to the country, do not treat us like terrorist. If you cannot get hold of the real culprits then why treat us bad. Rules were made so difficult for the players that we can’t even travel from one place to another.”
However now there is change in the heart, as he has taken up shooting again. Jaspal Rana is been appointed as the Chief Coach of Indian national junior shooting team by National Rifle Association of India this October. “Yes, I have been appointed as Coach and I take pride in this responsibility which is given to me. And I will be available for anybody who is in the welfare of the shooters.” All the time he was on the other side of the fence but what made him sing their song. “Telling you the truth, things are getting better. These days’ players are getting facilities that are all up to international standard. I think earlier it was not enough but now government is seriously into it. Now its time for the senior players and those experience guys, like me to come out and help juniors.” One interesting fact according to our reliable source, internet, his salary will be around Rs. 50,000 per month.
Like all the recent sportsperson he is also full of praises for one man, Ajay Makan. “Here we have to agree that our Youth Affairs and Sports Minister (now Housing and Power alleviation Minister) Ajay Makan has done a tremendous job. He went out of his way to give the best to players whether they are playing here or abroad. And we can see the result in the recent games.” Indeed, there was increase in the India’s medal tally. Though, we are way behind then the much smaller countries and which is a big question we need to ponder. “It is worth spending crores even if it’s about a medal in Olympics. We cannot compromise in anything, whether its equipment, training or living standard. It’s a long process, champions don’t just come up in one day.” With a sudden pause, “because of the Common Wealth Games we got many world class facilities. So I am happy that it happened and also sad that so much of money get wasted,” says the champion artilleryman.
So that is the deal! Federation is doing good job and Jaspal Rana is happy and back in the job. “I have no strategy or to-do list as a coach but surely will do whatever is required. I have achived more then what I wished for and country has given me alot. The only thing that I want now is to give back to the sports and to the nation. It will be more then enough for me if I can help bringing even one medal for India. It’s not about just knowing your rights but responsibilities at the same time.” As we talk about his achivement, Jaspal Rana came into limelight with gold medal in World Shooting Championship (Junior Section) at Milan and Asian Games at Hiroshima in 1994 in Center Fire Pistol Category. And again with three gold medal and one silver in Asian Games 2006. By the way, we have not mentioned all the wins in his career that will be tiring to mention all. But what worth mentioning here is that he is an Arjuna (1994) and Padamshree (2002) awardee.
Now that things are settled, one thing that comes up in the mind, how will he balance between his political career and sports? “Yes, I am into politics from my native place Uttrakhand. I was with Bharatiya Janta Party but it did not turn out the way it looked. So i quit, here again I am not blaming anybody. Now I am with Congress, I have joined politics to help people of my state. Moreover, I think its related, sports and politics. I will try to do things for sports as a politician that I could not as a sportsman.” Not just that, Jaspal Rana runs a coaching center in Dehradhun, Jaspal Rana Institute of Education and Technology. “Everything is done by me, it’s like my baby, my dream. I bought the land, gave my equipments and spend all the money. But that’s not enough, I am looking for sponsors, who can bring in some money. I want to make it the best, a place where a person comes in with nothing and go out as champion. There are no criteria to be in this institute but just be there.”
Generally, the phrase is ‘born with silver spoon in one’s mouth’ but in the case of Jaspal Rana, it is, born with guns in hand. Just give a thought, what will a person become if all the family members are shooter. “Yes my father, mother, brother, and sister are shooters. My sister took part in world cup and she was rank fifth at her time. My father Narayan Singh Rana was in BSF, so we grew up with guns around. Initailly like all the kids I was confused, so my dad pushed me into shooting. Latter on, I realised that this is what I want to do.” If that was not enough, his wife Reena is also a shooter and kids are taking interest in it. “My wife is a national level shooter, now working in media. My daughter Devanshi (13) and son Yuvraj (7) are showing keen interest in it, and they are good. I would love them to take it up as career and me giving my expertise. But I won’t force them into anything, it will be wholely their choice,” says the dotting father knowing that better days are here!
(Published in Society Dec ’12, Page No. 24)