Peace and non-violence: Gandhi, Teresa influence in Mexican wave
By Swaroop Swaminathan | Express News Service | Published: 13th October 2017 08:56 PM |
GUWAHATI: The Mexican Under-17 team has not done much travelling on this trip to India. Be it in Kolkata or here, their routine has been monotonous in the extreme. Hotel, training, hotel, match.
The Mexico coach, Mario Arteaga, who held a pre-match press conference at the venue on Friday, said the status quo will continue. "Sightseeing and looking at the cities can wait," he said. "It's very important (for the boys) to focus on the tournament as much as possible." That much is clear. Mexico needs to beat Chile by a massive margin to even have an outright chance of qualification.
However, Arteaga hoped that his charges will get to read up on Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Teresa by the time they head back to their homeland. "Lots of important personalities have emerged from India but as far as Mexico is concerned, two of the biggest are Gandhi and Teresa," Arteaga opined.
His candid admission with regards to Gandhi and Teresa's place in Mexican culture caught a few reporters off-guard. In fact, the bit about Gandhi wasn't even part of his original response to a query on whether the team's support staff have taken the boys out to experience the 'Indian way of life'. He spoke about what Gandhi symbolised to the people of Mexico. "Both Teresa and Gandhi represent the India we admire throughout the Americas, especially in our country."
A quick google search validates the coach's claims. There are roads, avenues and college institutions named after the 'Father of the Nation'. The Central American nation had even released a stamp (see pix) on the occasion of his 100th birth anniversary. Both Teresa, who started missions in places like Tijuana, and Gandhi also have statues in the country. One thing best explains the love the people of Mexico have for Gandhi — a chain of bookstores named after him. Yep, you read that right.
The first "Gandhi (see pix)," Bookstore was opened in the early 1970s and since then, more stores have been opened across Mexico City and elsewhere. As of date, there are more than 30 'Gandhi' bookstores making it one of the largest book chains there. Mauricio Achar (who passed away a few years ago), the man behind it, had a fascinating explanation behind the naming of the bookstore. Alberto Achar (Mauricio was his uncle) told this to Publishing Perspectives, a well-known trade magazine. "My uncle fell in love with Gandhi because he thought it was amazing that he was able to achieve independence for his people through intelligence and not violence. Although it's not the most appropriate name, in the sense people might see us as an Indian bookstore, he decided to take the risk and run with it. Forty-five years later, the risk is still paying off."
The coach's first task at hand is to prepare his team to score as many goals as possible while remaining sturdy at the back. That's the only way they can qualify from the group stages as one of the four best third-placed teams. If they do happen to do that, Arteaga's homework to the players might include one more thing. "Learn more about Gandhi and Teresa."