Almost a fortnight ago, I blogged about Andy Dunlop, president of the World Egg Throwing Federation, heading a team of top English egg throwers bound for India for an acclimatisation period before Team England (surreally including a Scotsman) faced the might of India in a historic First Indian Test Match in the Russian Egg Roulette Series.
They cracked it.
Andy and the team have now returned to Britain in triumph.
You can see the BBC TV report here.
Yesterday, constantly interrupted by calls from the BBC and other media outlets desperate for puns about sporting eggsellence, he told me what had happened in India…
We went to India for a couple of reasons.
To teach 1.2 billion people how to play Russian Egg Roulette.
And to assist/promote the campaign to end polio.
The former we excelled at, though we may not have quite reached our target figure.
The latter… we are getting there.
This is likely to be the 3rd year with no new polio cases in India, but there is still work to be done in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria. Over 20 innoculators have been killed this year in those countries due to religious-based fear, so they are going to be difficult to crack.
Our Indian trip took us Delhi, Lucknow and then to Amritsar. In the course of 10 days, we see-sawed from Upper Class opulence to the depths of destitution. You have to see and smell it to really experience it but, even then, you can’t with your full belly and the knowledge that, soon afterwards, you will be back in a 5 star hotel supping a beer which would cost the locals a week’s wages.
In Dehli we took part in pre-event publicity for the polio National Immunisation Day, when 172 million children under the age of five would receive 2 drops of vaccine in their mouths.
Then on to Lucknow, where we did more press and then went out into the Muslim community to assist the local teams. We were clad in bright yellow polo shirts adorned in Polio symbols, getting people into the booths, stopping traffic and explained that we weren’t there as part of a US-led conspiracy to sterilise the kids but to rid their community of polio. Suspicion, though, was deep and was openly displayed.
On our second day there, we did mop-ups: going from house to house, knocking on doors, child catching anyone who couldn’t reach over their heads to touch their opposite ear (a sign that they are under five) and didn’t have the little fingernail on the left hand painted purple.
When that process finished, we were whisked off to a Rotary-sponsored orphanage to see how they look after the abandoned children. Two of the youngest babies there had been brought in the week before after being found deposited on a rubbish dump.
A hundred or so tiny kids were being looked after and were looking after each other. The blind and autistic were being led by the able-bodied. Great work was being done, but we noticed there were only three girl children.
It seems that girls are usually killed before being dumped… but the papers report that female infanticide is reducing.
In Amritsar, we marvelled at the Golden Temple and the volunteer teams who run the kitchens which enable 45,000 visitors to be fed for free each day.
We learnt about the massacre in Amritsar in 1919, about Udham Singh, freedom fighters, revenge and modern day terrorism.
They didn’t mention the last, but the armed guards in the streets, the arrests and recent events told us we were in place of potential danger.
They didn’t mention the anti-Sikh riots which killed 3,000-4,000 in recent times, nor the fact that the 1919 massacre was carried out by local Sepoys and Gurkhas under the command of the Brits.
We visited the memorial to the 1919 massacre but we were not shown any memorial to the 1984 massacres.
Wikipedia currently has a page listing some of the massacres in India. So it goes.