Monday, March 23, 2009

IPL, hate speeches, slumdog credits, and what not

So it's official now - no IPL in India this year. After dilly-dallying for two weeks, the governments hypocrisy/defensive stance has meant that the IPL, a domestic 20-20 tournament of India, will be heading out of India. Paradox? Yes, but then this is India, the land of paradoxes, the land of the Mahatma and the brahmastra (nuclear bomb), the land of the Buddha and the buddhu, the land of capitalism and socialism. Today's Times of India had an apt title - NRIPL. Opinions are following into various categories, with some angry, some resigned to this kind of a thing, while still others are glad it's not on during elections.

Personally, I wouldn't have wanted to have the IPL on during the election season for the simple reason that you cannot take the security men and women for granted. They are human beings too who are liable to commit mistakes when overworked, and mistakes made while providing protection during an election or a cricket match can be catastrophic. What saddened me was the fact that the Congress ruled states decided to play politics with Lalit Modi. Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh first granted permission, and then at the last minute pulled the rug from under the organisers feet. And then the opposition couldn't be far behind, asking what signals will this send out to the rest of the world about the security situation in our country. There was a point to be noted, although it wasn't echoed loudly enough. The IPL is a domestic tournament, so shifting it out to another country is a serious issue, irrespective of what the circumstances. On the other hand, the issue of whether the country's image takes a beating or not is completely different. The first issue, why shifting a domestic touney outside is an issue is quite clear - it's a domestic tournament, damnit, domestic. But moving onto the second issue, does the country's image take a beating, personally, I don't think so, and the reasons are pretty simple.

If there are people who equated the security scenario in India with that of Pakistan, then such people can be conveniently ignored. I don't mean any disrespect, for the fear for their lives must be respected, but the fact that they chose to disregard certain poignant facts means that there possibly would be no chance to reason it out with them. Elections in India are a massive task given the geographical diversity of our country, and for 62 years the Election Commision of India has been doing a fantastic job. Just the sheer magnitude of the excercise is enough to make this a logistical nightmare for even the best of event managers.

Now the security forces do a great job, but don't forget that they are human too, and if you overwork them, they're liable to commit mistakes due to fatigue, and a mistake during an election or a cricket match can be catastrophic to say the least. So why didn't the government make it clear from the very beginning that holding the IPL during election time is a near impossiblity, rather than dangle a carrot in front of the organisers and fans and then finally pull it back? The less said about this the better. But let me say this with full conviction - we may not have lost face by stating that elections are the foremost priority over cricket, but had we managed to pull both events of smoothly, we certainly could have enhanced our image in the eyes of the world, and that certainly is undeniable that we let a chance slip through.

Varun Gandhi: Varun Gandhi, like his late father Sanjay Gandhi, is turning out to be a maverick (at least, he's trying to). Since I strongly believe that the onus is always on the accuser to prove that the accused is guilty, I will give Varun the benefit of the doubt for the time being that the CD was doctored, because in all fairness to him, even when the video was played out, there is a word beeped out, and it's presumptious to say that the beeped out word was 'Muslim'. Why the mainstream media chose to ignore this baffles me even now. Are they in possession of the actual video where there is no beep? If so, what prevents them from playing that to the public? How can someone automatically assume that he was saying what he said against Muslims, and not against terrorists? If terrorist replaced Muslim in that speech, it would still make sense. Having said that, the remainder of Varun's speech was disgusting to say the least, for I'm sure I can pull out a hundred Hindu names that sound pretty funny and can be mocked. And I for certain wouldn't go about cutting people's arms off because they're anti social or whatever grouse Varun has against them.

Slumdog credits: How the Congress party chose to make a statement attributing the success of the movie Slumdog Millionaire to their rule at the center stills mystifies me. If a Hollywood movie, directed by a Brit, written by Brits, based on a novel written by an Indian who had nothing to do with the government (some might argue he wrote it in spite of the government!) can be said to have reaped the benfits of a 'prosperous' and successful 5 year tenure of the UPA (which hasn't the foggiest idea about movies and stories), then as the American's say, "I'm a monkey's uncle!". Even Dr Abhishek Singhvi's (Cong spokesperson) expression while making this statement showed he was embarassed, but was doing it purely for love of his party. I'm now pissed that the government didn't claim credit for Abhinav Bindra winning the gold in the Olympics, especially since they did not provide him with any practice facilities (he practices in his private practice facility created in his backyard). At least then we could give the government the benefit of the doubt and say that they were at least being consistent in trying to claim credit for something thet absolutely do not deserve.
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