An open Letter to the President of India for suspension of Dronacharya Award

Ref: JHRM/PI/2013/04 Date: 29/08/2013

Sri Pranab Mukherjee,
President of India,
Rashtrapati Bhavan,
New Delhi – 110004

Sub: Requesting for suspension of prestigious “Dronachaya Award” under the purview of the Supreme Court’s judgment, which is given for excellence in sports coaching in India.

Dear Sir,

With due respect, we would like to bring your kind attention on the matter of prestigious “Dronacharya Award”, which is presented by the Government of India to the excellent coaches for their excellence in sports coaching. The award comprises a bronze statuette of Dronacharya, a scroll of honour and a cash component of Rs.500,000. The award was instituted in 1985. However, it should have been suspended from 5th of January, 2011 under the purview of the judgment of Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in the special leave petition (Cr) No. 10367 of 2010 Kailas & others Vs State of Maharashtra).

In the above said judgement the Apex Court has stated that the injustice done to the tribal people of India is a shameful chapter in our country’s history. The tribals were called ‘rakshas’ (demons), ‘asuras’, and what not. They were slaughtered in large numbers, and the survivors and their descendants were degraded, humiliated, and all kinds of atrocities inflicted on them for centuries. They were deprived of their lands, and pushed into forests and hills where they eke out a miserable existence of poverty, illiteracy, disease, etc. And now efforts are being made by some people to deprive them even of their forest and hill land where they are living, and the forest produce on which they survive.

The Court has said that the well known example of the injustice to the tribals is the story of Eklavya in the Adiparva of the Mahabharat. Eklavya wanted to learn archery, but Dronacharya refused to teach him, regarding him as low born. Eklavya then built a statue of Dronacharya and practiced archery before the statue. He would have perhaps become a better archer than Arjun, but since Arjun was Dronacharya’s favourite pupil Dronacharya told Eklavya to cut off his right thumb and give it to him as ‘guru dakshina’ (gift to the teacher given traditionally by the student after his study is complete). In his simplicity Eklavya did what he was told.

The Apex Court has further stated that it was a shameful act on the part of Dronacharya. He had not even taught Eklavya, so what right had he to demand ‘guru dakshina’, and that too of the right thumb of Eklavya so that the latter Eklavya may not become a better archer than his favourite pupil Arjun?

The Apex Court’s observations make it very clear that Dronachaya was an assassinator of excellence rather than protector of it therefore; giving the excellence award for sports coaching in the name of Dronacharya means insulting the excellence coaching in sports and also humiliating the Scheduled Tribe/Adivasis (the Indigenous People) of India.

However, despite the Supreme Court’s strong observations and comments the Indian Government has been giving awards to the sports coaches in the name of Dronacharya. Therefore, we humbly request you to suspend the Dronacharya Award immediately to uphold the dignity of the Scheduled Tribe/Adivasis (the Indigenous People) of India and in respect of the sports coaching.

We hope to hear your positive response. We shall be highly obliged to you for the same.

Thanking you.

Yours sincerely,

Gladson Dungdung, Sunil Minj,
General Secretary, Chairperson,
JHRM, Ranchi. JHRM, Ranchi.

3 thoughts on “An open Letter to the President of India for suspension of Dronacharya Award”

  1. But what was the offence of Dronacharya? He just asked for the the thumb of Eklabya.?..but for what? All we know actual process of Archery is use of first and middle finger …not thumb….All tribal brothers do so… today international rules is also that. Dronacharya intent to correct Eklabya..but Dron was a royal master ,he had a contact with royal court ,he could not teach any others except the members of royal family. Asking the thumb of Ekllabya through his jesture Dronacharya made the correction of Eklabya…thumb is no use in only use childrens…here thumb is symbolic…Dron asked it from Eklabya as gurudakhshina for Eklabya does not use it in archery…it was just wrong..

  2. On second thought, I think Dronacharya may have noticed the flaws in Ekalavya’s archery so to correct him he asked for his right hand thumb. Since it is believed that Dronacharya had obligations towards the royal family and he was “Raj Guru”. Ekalavya was a tribal so he denied him education. Dronacharya had also denied Karna for the similar reason as he was not belonging to royal family.

    Having said that, it doesn’t dilute the fact that tribals were exploited degraded and deprived of their very own rights. That still continues today. We’re still being suppressed at various stages. So called higher breed upper caste people keep ranting against reservation but they’re still not ready to consider us equally.
    But we should also take pride from the fact that Govt of India has constituted Ekalavya award. Sports persons who come up higher in their respective field without any support are also recognized.

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