Sport and Tourism: Two Living forces For Mutual Understanding Culture And The Development Of The Societies

“We of the world, world ours”

“Everyone of the world, wherever he is, is mutually connected with each other.” This epigraph expresses the spirit of nature, transcending boundaries of colour, creed , gender and geography. The concept of¬† “vasudhaiva¬† kutumbakam“, the world is a family ; also the same that is common in human nature . By virtue of natural attributes each is related to all. Two people living in two ends of the globe may have the same blood group. They of different countries, colour or religion might not ever meet each other. Thus despite such distances and inequalities their thoughts, behavior and even face might be similar. This proves that nature has bound her entire creation with an invisible thread.

Indian culture since the beginning has propounded and nurtured the concept of world fraternity. This feeling not only spreads the sense of natural kinship of the world but is also capable of eliminating completely many man -made problems on physical and geographical level. But development has its own value and meaning. Since the earliest times as man distanced himself from nature,the gulf between men widened. Distances of various kinds – geographical, social, political, emotional and ideological – separated him from his creation and root.

The web of self made material development not only affected his natural capability but also unfortunately decayed human values. At times despite the rapid pace of development the results manifest slowly after centuries; now man has reached that point. He possesses numerous accomplishments, means of comfort and infinite power; yet he is not happy, for he has paid much more than he has achieved. He has inherent love, faith, belief, peace and the gift of nature, fellow-feeling which is the ultimate possibility of world welfare. The situation is worsening because of fanaticism, hostility and differences. The result is terrorism, the biggest casualty after decay of human values and natural fellow-feeling.

That is why civilized society is today looking for a means to unite the world and bind it with a common thread, so that all people are brought together. Man lives on hope. This streak of light is found even in darkness. Now when we become conscious of promoting human values, we find many things that can do the task.

Two such things are: Sports and Tourism. Recognizing whose efficaciousness the Madrid-based World Tourism Organization has chosen them as theme for 2004. This is a meaningful choice. This year’s Olympic Games were organized in Athens and the world has realized the potential for the two to promote human welfare and development.

Actually sports and tourism have similar objectives: Mutual understanding and Fellow-feeling. They erect bridges between different cultures and stimulate feeling of peace and goodwill in the world. They not only entertain but promote relaxation from daily stress and strain. This brings peoples closer. Games and sports since dawn of civilization have helped man relax. Whatever age the Games have nurtured healthy minds. The basic spirit and game bring people togather on an emotional plane. Victory of one party is inevitable, yet the defeated try to overcome defeat in the next games. Both parties respecting each others feeling; trying to give the best performance without any malice. They happily accept unbiased decisions of the referee. The defeated congratulates the victor and the victor inspires the latter to try again. Rules of the game have to be observed. The games teach players to be disciplined, restrained and unbiased.

Tourism creates the feeling that wherever we are, we are not separate from others. The tourist leaving his country and culture comes to a new country and society that opens his mind and heart. Coming to a new place, seeing a world out of his own, gives a new dimension to his perception and sensibility. There might be individual differences even in the same family yet there are universal feelings and love. This truth is unraveled by tourism.

Some times a tourist visiting a country of totally different culture identifies himself with it. This is clearly seen in Varanasi where a foreign tourist performes his marriage according to Hindu rituals or decides to live at ghats for spiritual gains. Searching for years, they found it here in no time. This is the basic feeling of tourism linking hearts and transcending geographical boundaries and cultures. That is why man today is resorting to games and tourism for world welfare.

These two can eliminate the negative aspects of world civilization; the two are actually complementary and supplementary to each other. International sports events promote tourism for professionals and fans. They increase the tourism potential of a country and also generate employment, economic resources and certainly entertain. They build infrastructures of various kinds, like hotels and restaurants give help to various tourism related employment.

On one hand tourism brings peoples together, on the other hand it generates the feeling of world kinship, tolerance and goodwill.

The World Tourism Organization and International Olympic Committee are performing important roles in this direction and several concrete measures have been taken. Both organization are helping mutual understanding and world welfare.

Every year on 27th September we celebrate the day for bringing the world closer. Games can bring countries closer, even hostile countries. What could be a better example than India and Pakistan? Cricket could do what diplomats could not in many years. Come let us bind the world with thread of human values and loves through sports and tourism. Let us reap the benefit of world welfare through entertainment and make full use of the two edged sports and tourism. Long live world peace and fellow-feeling among all.