Monday, April 19, 2010

IPL: The Indian Phony League

The history of every country is measured by what it has attained as a people in terms of something. This something is different in varying situations. India is no different from others. We have non-violence and ahimsa as a measuring stick to observe what we have attained. Then we have violence and protest to attain equal grounds to play in a level playing field. A third form is the middle path which uses both of the above. Now India is experiencing the fourth wave. This is crude greed for wealth and power through any and all means. This fourth wave is the IPL (Indian Premier League). While we lowly ones sit on the edge of our seats watching minnows beating the giants and excitement in every ball and second, matches are fixed and money is exchanged under the table.

The IPL has claimed its first major casualty in the form of Shashi Tharoor, the by now former minister of state of the Ministry of External Affairs in India. It is reported that the former minister’s alleged friend Ms. Sunanda Pushkar was helped by him to get an equity worth 70 crore rupees in the newly formed Kochi IPL team. Tharoor has maintained all along that he has not done anything wrong and that Ms. Pushkar is a professional who has been given a stake as part of the services she will offer to the Kochi IPL team over a period of ten years.

The media went all out to get pictures and stories of the couple. Ms. Pushkar came out with a statement that the media did not have the right to harass her like this and the stake (sweat money) that she was offered was taking into account the services she had to offer as a professional. But who cared? Sunanda has been placed by the media in the middle of Lalit Modi and Shashi Tharoor, as if to suggest that the two are fighting over her. One almost got the idea of Ms. Sunanda being portrayed by the media as a pin up cheer leader who was cheering for a high profile minister who was trying his best to get an IPL team for his home state Kerala. Sunanda has been treated with disrespect in a fight between two men who think the IPL is the bench mark in India.

Shashi Tharoor need not bring in the Kerala factor and the importance of what he was trying to do by bringing such a team to Kerala. In his first interview after winning the Trivandrum Lok Sabha seat he said that his priority was to his voters and not being a minister in the government. The people of Kerala do not benefit by getting an IPL team. Their needs are rather cheap drinking water, electricity, jobs and roads, just to name a few. By thinking that the IPL is more important he has betrayed the trust of the people in him. All is not lost yet though as he can use his resignation as a time to get back to what matters. Twiterring is good but only when it is matched with work at the grass roots!

The Indian Premier League is a blow below the belt to the Indian Poverty League. What does it benefit the ordinary people of India when companies can invest in a sport and make money out of it? Why should our children pay exorbitant amounts of money to sit on a seat and watch a game when they should have free public parks and grounds to run without reservations and break free? Why should I support Chennai and curse Bangalore and Calcutta when I love all three? Will cheer girls, music and booze eradicate poverty in my country? I feel sorry for Sunanda because she has got a hard deal from the media. I feel sorry for Shashi because he has got carried away with he, him and himself. I feel sorry for Lalit because he has stamped on himself by stamping on the poor of this country.


kunnampally said...

Acha, excellent critique, I don’t know my comment would fit here, however let me put it here. Tharoor out: Tharoor had a place in my mind for his voice for the landless and underprivileged people. It was some three years back, if my memory is true, he was criticizing media for the enormous space and coverage given for the economic boom and consciously ignoring a big agitation held in Delhi by the landless and the marginalized people for land and their survival. But his involvement in IPL proves that he is hypocrite and he has no room in my mind anymore.

Fr Jerry said...

Thanks for the comment achen. Very good observation. Going along with your thought, Tharoor seems to have become different from what he was. I don't know why he had to get obsessed with the IPL and how he could be so naive as to get involved in the Pushkar sweat equity. There is so much he could get involved with in Kerala and people could benefit from him. Maybe this is a time for him to introspect.

andy said...

Well, I take your point Jerry, BUT, I think the people also have certain responsibility towards this state of affairs in every walk of Indian life. IPL(by the way I like the Indian Phony League) is nothing but another form of Bollywood production, with imported cheer leaders and players! Modi and Tharoor are just producers who would like to make some bucks. I am more worried about the Indian,(mostly men salivating at the sight of dancing girls) who are willing to shell out their hard earned money for this drama, produced to the 'T', just like a SRK film, were he tries to transform India! India as a whole has to change its way of thinking and living. Otherwise how can there be 4 Indian billionaires in the top ten of Forbes list? representing a country that has 60% of people falling under the poverty line?

Fr Jerry said...

Point well made Andy. Thanks. For me the point of contention is the new age politician, cricket administrator and even theologian for that matter. Modi made a serious sport into a circus. Tharoor thought that an IPL team would bring cheer to Kerala! My God, I don't know what he was thinking. I find it unfair to bring in Sunanda Pushkar but what on earth is Tharoor trying to prove.
This suggests old wine in new bottles. Corruption and money laundering found a new accomplice, cricket. There is an effort to show that all Keralites are supporting Tharoor and saying that he has been wronged. Tharoor has even played the regional card, going on to say that one's blood should boil when hearing the name Kerala!
Modi made the Indian Premier League into his own league. He has made his own country into his brand! Speaks volumes about him!
It is true that Indians,(especially men) have to change. But we can't be fooled by people who say that we are in a new era (while they are up to old tricks) and we should therefore support them.
Theology in India is going through the same phase. The old are replaced by the new but corruption, power games and groupings are brought to the forefront and we are asked to 'do the new.'

RGB said...

The drama is not over yet. One tweet has kicked up a racket that only seems to be getting bigger by the day. One guy down, one lady backed-out, the other guy on his way out. And Lord knows, what's coming our way!

btw, IPL seems to be true to its name - Indian Premier League, Indian Political League, Indian Paisa League and like you said Indian Phony League!

Fr Jerry said...

Its so true that it isn't over yet. But I wonder why Modi risked everything and tweeted at Tharoor! Maybe he felt the IT sleuths were onto him. This one incident gives much to study for people like me. The twitter rage in our country and its impact, cricket losing its innocence and the 'sab kuch paisa hai' lives that we live.
Amidst all this the media is serving its own masters. Your comment on one lady backing out is interesting. But did she back out completely? I must say that I find her quite strong. Unfortunately the media does not think so. For Sunanda's side of the story see