January 8, 2008

India, Cricket, Racism, and a longish post

As the events unfolding over the last two days have shown, it seems that India is mostly, if not only, about cricket.

In the recent Test match between India and Australia, India lost to Australia. The main reason for the loss was biased umpiring by the two umpires Steve Bucknor and Mark Benson.

In an statement issued today, ICC chief Malcolm speed said, "It is accepted that Steve, and his on-field colleague Mark Benson, did not have good games by their very high standards and we feel that given the added pressure and attention Steve's presence would have at the third Test, it is better for the match and for Steve himself if he does not take part."

So, in a politically correct way, even ICC, the apex body in international cricket, has accepted that there was something wrong with the umpiring in the game.

To add insult to injury, the Australian cricket team had complained against an Indian player, alleging that he was guilty of using racial comments against one of the Aussie players. It is alleged that Harbhajan Singh called Andrew Symonds a "Monkey". Harbhajan Singh was subsequently banned for three games, though the match referee had said after the game that there was no evidence of the Indian player having said anything racial. So, the Indian team appealed to ICC against the ban which was accepted, and now the player can keep on playing until the appeal is heard by the ICC.

That was a brief narration of the events that have occurred in the past two days.

So, a wrong was done and India lost to a team that wanted to win by all means, right or wrong. But, the kind of reaction it spurred in the Indian media and among the Indian masses was surprising, at least for me. Why do we keep forgetting that at the end of the day it is just a game? India, right now, has so many problems on the macro, as well as the micro, level and yet thousands of people forget everything and talk only about how the bad umpiring and the unfair banning of the player should be treated as a direct insult to the country.

I am all for supporting the players, and backing them up till the end. But that does not mean that I get the right to go out there, and start abusing the Australian cricket players.

I am not a Gandhi fan, and yet it I feel that some of his ways were really good. And, the media in India never stops bragging about how proud we are of the legacy that the Mahatma has left us. Yet, a news anchor on an prominent Indian news channel was proudly claiming ," The time when we offered our other cheek if someone hit us on one cheek, is gone."

Cricket is indeed a religion in India, and Religion, when it turns into fanaticism, is never good.

For now, the Indian Cricket team is in Australia, though the future of the current tour depends upon the decisions of BCCI and ICC. I hope that the current crisis is resolved in as amicable a manner as possible and my best wishes are with the Indian Cricket team.

1 comment:

The Chef said...

I would like to put a different perspective to your post. The media is here to make profits (mission of corporate bodies) Now they can acheive that by showing the very thing that makes them revenue.

if you talk about Ethics/social responsibility then it is something that needs to be followed not only by media but a host of other stake holders( primarily poiticians and the general public) to check the macro/micro problems India is facing.

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