Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tharoor's exit

The exit of Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor shows that while insensitive remarks of a Minister on sensitive issues can be tolerated, improper conduct cannot be. His credibility would have been enhanced had he batted for more funds or campaigned for more industries in Kerala. Taking a spurious version of cricket to his constituency with all attendant drama has cost him dearly. The Tharoor episode has ripped apart the IPL fa├žade. What one wants is pure sport, not a cocktail of speculation, vulgarity and corrupt practices on and off the field.

G. Gokul Kishore,

New Delhi

Friday, April 16, 2010

IPL Stinks

Just a few days before reservations about IPL were expressed by us. The whole story is now stinking in public with all sorts of drama being played out – of course, of no use to the malnourished or starving millions. This is about paper millions of the avaricious and not about hungry human millions. The glee of media is all too evident. When money, women, conspiracy, politics, bribery et al all combine, no other news is a news.

While news reports point to Lalit Modi having been charged and convicted for drug peddling and kidnapping while he was a student abroad, Shashi Tharoor does not believe in practising what he preaches. He can use his oratorical skills to hoodwink the elite and use his high profile connections to enlist the support of those in power or those who are powerful. But, with so much of stain at his back, he is morally bankrupt to comment on any of our great national leaders. The Mahatma did not think that there can be two different values or ethical framework for public and private lives. But here is an imported Minister who never misses an opportunity to take a dig at the Gandhian values. His official responsibility includes Middle East where his close friend whom he is stated to wed, has business interests. Discussing Cabinet issues in highly irrelevant virtual social networking sites is certainly not the hallmark of a Minister of the Indian Union.

Fans in virtual social network are not the masses for whom and by whom a Minister has been chosen to serve. National leaders of yesteryears did not serve the nation through bits and bytes but by sharing the heat and agony of their suffering brethren. They did not expect encomiums for their erudite speeches. The case of Shashi Tharoor is a classic manifestation of convulsions of our democracy.

The entire episode often reminds us of our mentor Baluji’s skepticism over the educated elite as he says that it is the educated elite who are more corrupt, scientifically.- GK

Saturday, April 3, 2010

IPL – Don’t lose heart

Indian Pathetic League – Indian Prurient League – Indian Plunder League – One can term IPL in so many ways but the undeniable fact is that IPL represents the deadly cocktail of vulgar entertainment, gambling, speculation, alcoholism, etc., to the total exclusion of sport as it is traditionally understood and practised. All things associated with IPL are natural as the whole show is a high voltage corporate marketing glitz. There were some angry voices when price tag was fixed on cricketing demi-gods. But, it was touted as their NAV and not lease money. When the organizers thought that icons alone cannot lure crowds but you need girls in their self-demeaning attire to get the cash boxes ringing, then why not intoxicate the crowd? Vices attract and one is glued to everything else except the game of cricket. Support was also enlisted from new vocabulary – sportainment. Unfortunately neither sport nor entertainment remains – what one gets is casino effect. Branding has reached ridiculous levels and desperation is showing up. Sport is a religion and the rigours of sports are more arduous than penance. When sportsmen party hard, flirt and rock till dawn getting drenched in alcohol, the hands can hardly sustain the craft of reverse sweep or swing in the morning.

Tobacco companies sponsored the game in yesteryears but one could have hardly heard of Benson & Hedges Nights – but IPL nights are here to ‘entertain’ our tired young heroes wielding willows for the nation. IPL corrupts cricket and the masses. Devotees of the pristine game are taken to illusory land of enthralling and explosive show. With night comes darkness and for the dawn, one has to wait. After all, booming IPL is just a business and bust is logical. Let us wait till we can applaud gentle strokes and wonderful strikes in broad day light – no paraphernalia of jerseys, contests, SMSes, branding of anything under the sun. Let us retain optimism - a Benaud will appear and transport us to the pitch rubbing shoulders with those gentlemen.- GK