November 9, 2005

Budhia, the three-year-old marathon runner.

Sold by his poor mother for 800 rupees, the tot is famous now in India. He's run 33 miles in 6 hours. Child abuse? Or is this some super boy?
[His mentor] Mr Das, a judo coach, noticed Budhia's talent when scolding him for being a bully.

"Once, after he had done some mischief, I asked him to keep running till I came back," Mr Das said.

"I got busy in some work. When I came back after five hours, I was stunned to find him still running."
I would like to believe in Superboy, but I think something is very wrong here.


downtownlad said...

I dunno. Sounds better than piano lessons . . .

Menlo Bob said...

Could be a protege of Doug Forrester.

Goesh said...

Yeah, the truth be known, master is probably on a scooter behind the boy prodding him on with a sharpened stick...they are an odd bunch over there. They burn widows and worship rats some of them - give me a man nailed to a cross any day. The kid is probably Jessie Owens reincarnated.

lindsey said...

I forget where but I've heard that marathon running can actually be really bad for your body. I can't imagine what it would do to a small child. I agree that there's something really wrong with this.

Also, I don't think they burn widows anymore. I suspect.

SippicanCottage said...
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vbspurs said...

Child abuse? Or is this some super boy?

Who cares!

The real story here is that his mother sold him, can you imagine that?

That reminded me of hearing that Jackie Chan's parents sold him at the age of 10 to a Chinese circus...

Sometimes, just sometimes, I want to thank God on my knees for having such awesome parents.

Life is truly a lottery, and that kid got the turnip prize.


Steve Donohue said...

I believe 33 mile in six hours, is um, walking, actually.

Hardly. 30 miles in 6 hours would be five miles an hour, which is a light jog for someone of my height (5'8"), but for a three year old, this is an all-out run. This kid would have done it in under five hours- that's pretty impressive.

Furthermore, his average mile is about 11 minutes. I remember from my cross-country days that there were teenage girls running at city qualifiers that couldn't handle three miles at a pace under 12 minutes a mile. To take 33 miles at that pace is astounding for such little legs. I do worry about the stress he's putting on his heart though at that young of an age.

FXKLM said...

Sounds like a hoax to me. The article didn't say much about the evidence to support the story.

SippicanCottage said...
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price said...

There was a family of marathon runners on the Amazing Race this season, including two small kids. Adorable, all four of them.

My parents taught me to swim by throwing me in the pool. Shouldn't they have been arrested for that? I certainly think so.

Albatross said...

I gotta agree with fxklm. I suspect this story is a hoax. Or at least the supposed trainer is simply trying to build some hype for his little runner by claiming extraordinary feats.

But, then again, I'm just cynical.

John Althouse Cohen said...

I don't think they burn widows anymore.

Well, read this.

vbspurs said...

I don't think they burn widows anymore.


I always thought that banning the odious practise of suttee was one of the greatest legacies we left in India.

But with the recent rise of Hindu religious nationalism (as opposed to the secular variety), women have been paying an awful price of late -- including suttee.

Well, read this.

Yes, burning the faces and bodies of Indian women for bigger dowries is a big problem (still the largest population of inflicted burn victims in the world, second only to Cubans...the latter do it as a suicide attempt though).

Not sure if you saw this, but recently on Dateline (was it?), there was a special on how a village full of women saved themselves from burning by their abusive spouses, and generally marauding males, by being given and then being taught how to use handguns.

Not one incident, not one, has been reported since then.

Second Amendment, I love you.


Finn Kristiansen said...

SippicanCottage said above:

I was an unexceptional runner as a teenager. I ran marathons under three hours. I then walked home. Five miles.

I know how this is, cause sometimes I have fantastical dreams too, where I have sexual stamina like Sting and am able to give my wife Julia Roberts and her best friend Vivica Fox pleasure for hours and hours. And I could swear I am not dreaming. But I am, like Sippican is.

Kumar said...
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Kumar said...
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Kumar said...

Apologies for the long post: Most of my comment concerns 'widow-burning' in India. First, though, I hope the child is not being exploited but I have my suspicions as well. I am looking forward to the state govt's investigation.

About 'widow-burning':

goesh wrote "...they are an odd bunch over there. They burn widows and worship rats some of them - give me a man nailed to a cross any day."

And lindsey responds "Also, I don't think they burn widows anymore. I suspect."

To which John Althouse Cohen wrote "Well, read this."

Mr. Cohen: 'They' in this context is very much a stereotypical 'they'. You know, those strange Indians. Your linked story cites some Indians who, shockingly, commit criminal acts under Indian law. But the mere fact that some Indians commit crimes does not underwrite goesh's stereotypical and disdainful reference to all Indians. In any case, these are dowry murders and not 'widow burnings'--the husband is very much alive and often the perpetrator. I will expand on this point in my response to vbspurs below.

vbspurs: You are mistaken in suggesting that sati has become more prominent with the rise of the 'Hindu nationalists'. First, dowry murders are not sati--the latter is an explicitly Hindu religious act that involves (self)-immolation of a widow on her husband's funeral pyre. Sati, as such, was committed only a handful of times in post-independence Indian history.

Dowry murders are not Hindu religious actions and are not viewed as such by either the perpetrators or the state: Notice that in the story Mr. Cohen linked, the victim is a Sikh woman (Charanpreet Kaur). An increase in Hindu religiosity, in principle, can't be the basis for any alleged rise in dowry deaths.

In any case, there is no evidence that there has been a significant increase in such murders. To the contrary, the report Mr. Cohen linked to suggests that dowry deaths actually slightly decreased from 6,851 in 2001 to 6,285 in 2003--the very years of heightened 'Hindu nationalist activity'.

Finally, the British Empire was not the first to ban sati on the Indian subcontinent. Such bans were enacted somewhat earlier by two Indian 'kingdoms' (one Muslim; the other Hindu (Maratha) ).

A related point: Talk of 'legacies' left by the West is apt to irritate many Indians, principally because such talk tends to undervalue the blood and toil of Indians in creating and sustaining our democracy.

Ideals, after all, are not material possessions that can be passed on to others relatively easily. Our next-door neighbor Pakistan disproves the sufficiency of a Western ‘legacy’: Dictatorial rule, interrupted for a few years by democratic rule.

We Indians took/adopted/kept ideals and institutions from the West that we found useful. We Indians are the ones who built and kept our democracy, imperfect though it is.


Julian Morrison said...

Has anyone seriously measured the ability of children to run marathons? I think he's out of the social norm enough that it's impossible to tell if he's out of the physiological norm. That could be a normal ability of three-year-olds that nobody had yet noticed.

Goesh said...

I guess I would rather worship a rat than be one of those snake handlers like we have here in America in some places. I've seen a video of these snake handlers. This one guy,who by the way was missing most of his teeth, had a rattler in each hand and was dancing around in some kind of trance. People were waving their arms in the air and clapping and jumping around, all in a big fervor. Rat worship is more sedate - you give 'em a snack, say a quick prayer and go home.

John Althouse Cohen said...

Kumar: I know they're not the same thing. I thought Lindsey was essentially saying, "I'm sure those kinds of things don't happen anymore." So I thought the link was relevant.

SippicanCottage said...
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Ann Althouse said...

Sippican: The 4 mile an hour speed is called the "Boy Scout walk." It's a fast pace, faster than I could make myself walk. I walked a mile and a third to work for many years, and it took 25 minutes. I could push myself but still not get to 20 minutes. I couldn't achieve the 4 mile an hour pace. I tried and timed myself thousands of times. And I'm 5'5" tall. Leg length matters. The ordinary adults you see walking around are not going 4 miles an hour. Even at 4 miles an hour, the 3 year old would need to be at least jogging.

Is it a hoax? The BBC is lame to report it if it is, because it sounds unbelievable on its face.

SippicanCottage said...
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jeff said...

Please don't judge Christianity as a whole on the practices of a (very) few...

OddD said...

Nah, it's not that big a deal. Seems like every time I post here I go back to, but I believe they do a basic running program of a mile per year, i.e., a 3-year-old runs for three miles. I forget the time but it's 12 minutes or less.

Yeah, that's short of a marathon, but then they're not training runners. (The running is part of their larger program.) Point is, children are a lot more physically and intellectually capable than we allow them to be.

sameer1975 said...

They burn must be reading 150 years old history book..
I am an Indian and living in India for last 31 years. I havn't heard of any such instance. There were very rare instances in Rajasthan..
Hey my history book is just 40 years old..I heard in USA blacks are not allowed to vote, they have seat at back benches in Bus, they can't get elected. And they don't have woman president in 300-400 years of history...

fishi said...

Budhia is Extraordinary. Running 33 miles at such a young age is phenomenal, no matter at what speed. Look at any toddler and you will see that it is only him that can go the distance and in fact run it. Most 3 year olds are just discovering balance, motor skills and are completely dependent on adults. Running miles on end alone does not seem to me like an ordinary activity by an ordinary child. It is a sacrifice for maybe his coach or mother. What ever the reason is, a three year old does not decide to do this but the ones around him…

Akhil said...

Quoting a certain "British Gentleman" whose delusions of grandeur have pompted me to write this piece..

"I always thought that banning the odious practise of suttee was one of the greatest legacies we left in India."

Now of course the benevolent gentleman was nice enough to do this for us poor Indians, without him having personally taken matters into his own hands, Indians would perhaps have still been living in caves, lighting their fire with flint and stones, eating raw meat, probably communicating by drawing animals in the dimly lit cave walls..

Mate while you are at it.. perhaps you can enlighten us poor, dumb Indians on a few things...

1.) My feeble Indian brain tells me that a certain contry used to burn women not so long ago believing them to be WITCHES... Now which Continent could that be?

2.) Some Idiots who claimed that the world might not be flat but was Round, That the EARTH is not the Centre of the Universe, That the Sun does not revolve around the Earth.. Were called Heretics.. Burned Alive/Killed.. Now which continent could this possibly have been?

3.) Some Countries were involved in Slave trade not so long ago.. now which continent could these people have possibly been from?

I can go on and on.. BUT THE POINT IS that this blog was about a CHILD WHO CAN RUN AND RUN AND RUN AND RUN... Not about Criticising anyone's country, there might be a thousand problems with my country, BUT DO NOT FORGET It is the same India that most countries from your continent wanted to trade with. It is the same country that a certain Spanish wanted to discover an alternate route to... and he ended up discovering America.

The Bible dates Creation to be about 5000 years before Christ?? Well India had a civilisation that had a Language, Culture, God, Coins (and thus economy) at that point of time.

In todays global village a person like you with such narrow views about race, religion and people can only be pitied. Therefore my "British" mate.. I Pity you.. Perhaps in your next birth you shall be born with an IQ of an Ostrich... at least you will be smarter that you are right now..



bloggie said...

And don't you have references to nuclear weapons and advanced aircrafts being used in the ancient Indian religious texts of 'Ramayana' !

'Vimanas' is what they called the airplanes back then. There are description about how a pilot must fly them, the various manouvers, the fuel used, etc.

At one point in time, 'Rama' - God travelling in a 'viman' eplains to his wife why the sky has turned from blue to black and stars have appeared in day.

This suggests that not only 'vimanas' were planes they were probable spacecrafts !

All this and more points to a very advanced civilisation that existed more than thousands of years ago !

bloggie said...

Ancient Indians were an advanced people with great scientific achievements, some of which surpass even the achievements of the modern society. There are many evidences which indicate that they were very knowledgeable in astronomy, aeronautics, mathematics, marine, metallurgy and medicine. British historian Grant Duff once said, “Many of the advances in the sciences that we consider today to have been made in Europe were in fact made in India centuries ago.” For example, the velocity of light was known to the ancient Indians for centuries while their western counterparts believed that light traveled with infinite velocity (even Newton assumed so) until 1675 when Roemer determined its exact velocity. The law of gravity was known and mentioned in the Vedic literature. Isaac Newton only rediscovered this phenomenon. The Puranas speak of the creation and destruction of the universe in cycles of 8.64 billion years, which is quite close to the currently accepted value regarding the time of the big bang. Aryabhatta propounded the theory that the earth was a sphere in the 5th century while Brahmagupta correctly estimated the circumference of the earth in the 7th century. The binary number system, hashing, various codes, mathematical logic or a formal framework that is equivalent to programming all arose in ancient India. A most advanced calculus, maths and astronomy arose in Kerala several centuries before Newton. The cast-iron pillar at Mehraully, which has not rusted for centuries, speaks volumes of the metallurgy practiced by the ancient Indians. History reveals that India was the foremost maritime nation 2,000 years ago. India's maritime history predates the birth of western civilization. All this is well known and acknowledged by scholars all over the world.

There is evidence of nuclear war in ancient times. Most radioactive skeletons, on a par with those found at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, were found at Mohenjodaro during excavations by archaeologists. Ancient cities whose brick and stonewalls have literally been fused together, can be found in India, Ireland, Scotland, France, Turkey and other places. There is no logical explanation for the vitrification of stone forts and cities, except from an atomic blast. Even Dr. Robert Oppenheimer, scientist, philosopher, who was familiar with ancient Sanskrit literature, and the Supervising Scientist of the Manhattan Project, while giving a lecture at Rochester University only seven years after the first successful atom bomb blast in New Mexico, gave a strangely qualified answer to a student who asked, “Was the bomb exploded at Alamogordo during the Manhattan Project the first one to be detonated?” The answer was, “Well - yes. In modern times, of course.”

Ancient Sanskrit literature is full of descriptions of flying machines - Vimanas. From the many documents found it is evident that the scientist-sages Agastya and Bharadwaja had developed the lore of aircraft construction. The "Agastya Samhita" gives us description of hydrogen balloons - the process of extracting hydrogen from water is described in elaborate detail and the use of electricity in achieving this is clearly stated, and parachute like aeroplane, which could be opened and shut by operating chords. Vaimaanika Shastra by Maharshi Bharadwaja deals with aeronautics, including the design of aircraft, the way they can be used for transportation and other applications, in detail. He also described the construction of war planes and fighter aircraft. Along with the treatise there are diagrams of three types of aeroplanes - "Sundara", "Shukana" and "Rukma". Evidence of existence of aircrafts is also found in the Arthasastra of Kautilya (3rd century B.C.).

SR said...

Here we need to put our thoughts down about the 3 year old who ran a marathon...this is not a forum for pointing fingers at others' countries or religions.
Making insulting remarks about Indians and their practices by some narrow minded people is absolutely uncalled for. First clean the rubbish from your own backyard before criticizing others.

The boy is amazing, this running MIGHT be a little risky for his health, but I hope once he is recognised by Guiness Book of World Records his coach will put a stop to the boy's long distance running.
People do absolutely crazy things to get into this Book of records (like climbing skyscrapers on hands, eating raw chillies...), so why not encourage this feat? When the boy grows up and realizes his achievements of his young age, he will be proud of himself and will surely thank his coach.
So what if the boy was sold, his coach is taking good care of him - this is better than selling oneself in Vegas or Bangkok. This is just a case of,the mother of the boy being given some money in return for adoption.

Puneet said...

With reference to the comments posted by vbspurs, I would like to point out that if people in the Western world think selling children in India for money is a heinous crime, I would have to say I agree with them. But I would also like to point out that it is a much better alternative to give your child to someone who can take care of him/her than to leave them in alleys amid garbage dumps to die - a phenomenon that is not rare in countries like the USA. Parents who do this are often on drugs and alcohol and take no responsibilty whatsoever of the life they have brought into this world. Parents who sell off their children in India are driven to do so by abject poverty and helplessness. I am not advocating one part of the world against another; I am simply saying that a certain trend like "selling of a child" might shock us enough to write about it in italics and capitals and make it the focus of the issue of the child prodigy/exploited child- but what we don't realise is that so much that happens around us is equally, if not more, pathetic.



Gabby said...

I have just watched this programme through a waterfall of tears! Are other bloggers mad-this is quite clearly child abuse through and through! If only this poor boy had the safety legislation and children's rights of the western world! I was disgraced and just hope somebody will save him soon!

MattieG said...

I watched the programme on Channel 5 last night and I was horrified the over the course of the run he was given no water and his coach actually used it to entice him to keep going. it was a disgrace and the Indian authorities should be ashamed of themselves for letting this happen. I was also in tears watching it and I hope that the little boy can be saved soon.