Team India vs. Other Indias

I want to applaud Narendra Modi. Inadvertently, he has shown up the fake liberals for what they are. The Gujarat government decided to give Yousuf Pathan and Munaf Patel one lakh rupees each. Javed Akhtar has been quoted in the newspapers as saying onine (I assume a tweet), “All State are rewarding their World Cup winners by at least 1 crore but the rich Gujarat is giving 1 lakh each to Pathan and Patel. Great!”

Great, indeed, that it is now about the states and “their” winners. It reveals that it is not about India, but about Mumbai (which is a state within a state, of course), Kerala, Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Jharkhand, Gujarat. Isn't it like the IPL?

If these liberals are alluding to the communal aspect, then there are many reasons to take up the cause; this is hardly it. The team has members from different communities and faiths and we rarely notice who is from where. This and the manner in which the post-match circus has unfolded only revels in regionalism. There was a time when selectors were quite partial to people from certain states, but that was more about patronising their own and often not without merit. Jagmohan Dalmiya and Saurav Ganguly come to mind.

It is a different game now. Everyday we are witnessing crores coming out of government coffers for our World Cup winning players. I can understand the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) doing so, but why the government? These guys played for India - that is their job. It is not some favour they have granted us. And it is rather shameful that many cricketers openly said they played for Sachin Tendulkar.

His greatness as a sportsman apart, this sounds quite like the “Indira is India’ obsequious slogan. It is okay, though, that they carried him on their shoulders. It is about camaraderie and that he may not be available for the next World Cup. But why is captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni pleading for a Bharat Ratna for Sachin? Think of the names in public life who have contributed so much and are honoured in their dotage or not at all. Of course, Tendulkar remains 'modest'. His dream of some academy or the other will come true. These are people who make loads of money in endorsements; they should be putting in their own earnings to start the business of ‘teaching’ since they won’t be training anyone for free.

The deification can reach weird heights. On Gudi Padwa one pandal had his image as Lord Vishnu. Why has no one objected in a country where there is always a noise about hurting religious sentiments? I understand that a polytheistic faith may not have problems with such portrayal but we really need to leave the gods alone.

It is impossible, though. Dhoni shaves off his hair as an offering; others go to temples, dargahs, gurdwaras. These are places where the poor sit and wait for someone to drop some coins or a roti, but our heroes visit with full security despite being pumped with ginseng in some product they advertise.

The public has reason to be happy, but those in responsible positions will not dole out money in crores as readily for welfare schemes for the other Indias.

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