Monday, April 23, 2012


The slam bang veriety of cricket which goes by the name Twenty Twenty Cricket is back. It is sad that in this format where it is designed to badger the hapless bowler, the viewership seems to be good though not as it was last year. Most that pay exorbitant amounts of money to see this murder of cricket are young and I feel sad to see their hysterical behavior in the stands. Then there are the cheer girls with their skimpy dress or undress gyrating whenever a four or six is hit. What a weird spectacle!

A gentleman’s game to be enjoyed in leisure over five days has been reduced to this Jamboree of instant gratification!

 Are we seeing the last days of test cricket? I am afraid so.

Identity Crisis

We, Indians are called so by others. But those living inside the borders of the country called India have no single identity. We have many identities especially those of us who are grouped under a religion which goes by the name of Hindu. Followers of Islam and Christianity when asked their nationality if they are living in India are likely to say they are Christians or Muslims but ask a Hindu, he will confuse you by saying he is a Jat or Yadav or Curmi or a Reddy or a Gouda or a Vanniar etc, depending on where he lives and practices his caste. For this group of so called Hindus, their caste identity is more important than his Hindu let alone his Indian identity. 

We also suffer from afflictions of language. A person is likely to identify with the language he speaks and say he is Tamil, Telgu, Punjabi, Bengali etc. Again here, the Hindu is more likely to identify himself thus than others. This love of language can take extreme forms to be downright ridiculous. Considering we have twenty or so major and some thousand minor languages this attachment further divides us. I have seen people who speak a dialect, group together and from social clubs and exclude others and take great pride in doing so. This allegiance to language and caste is not only prevalent inside the country but is exported abroad too. Where ever there are a sizeable number of Indians living, you and be sure to find Guajarati, Bengali or Punjabi Association of [Indians]

When a human being decides to associate with another human being because he or she belongs to same caste and speaks the same language and not because of qualities of head and or heart, how do you expect progress?

To a great extent the ills we in present day India are facing is because of these strong multiple loyalties which blind us to the recognition of talent in those who don’t belong.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Rule of Geriatrics

Most countries retire those at sixty. Rightly so. Physical and mental decay begins about this age and the above sixty cannot perform as the below sixty. Brain degeneration makes them slow to react and they become indecisive. They tire easily their hearing and vision deteriorate. They have to go to the loo more frequently. They are more prone to arthritis, heart and lung ailments, cancer and auto immune disease. Therefore it is best they don’t work in responsible positions and endanger others. They can however contribute by being advisors to the younger decision makers.

This, at least in India, does not seem to apply to our politicians. Here Gerontocracy rules the roost. We have an eighty year old Prime minister, a seventy eight year old finance minster and an equally old foreign minister. Our defense minister is only slightly younger. The results of these tired old [not necessarily wise] men ruling the country is there for all to see. Their inefficiency is leading us from one scam to the other.

When they were moving from one scam to the other, on the way sweeping the other scams under the carpet, our army chief did not want to retire without bringing out the truth about the state of affairs in our defense forces. You can ignore any one else and get away with it but not an honest soldier who refuses to be bribed and adding insult to injury, wants to bring it into the open.

Our geriatrics are now stuck in a deeper mire.

Rise of field Hockey

There was a time we reigned supreme in this game. For over 50 years till the sixties we were unbeatable. Then started the era of decline. Slowly and gradually Cricket took over and Indians switched their loyalty and showered money, love and adoration to this game. But there were a few like me who continued to nurture our love for the game of Hockey. Hockey has some features which Cricket can’t have. It needs skill, speed and stamina. You cannot afford to loll at first slip or mid on and while away your time even if you are past 35 and your only qualification is that you are a good batter and the country loves you. I wrote about how the short form of Cricket, The so called Indian Premier League has sounded the death knell of the real Cricket, the Test Cricket. That this shorter version played in the IPL is hugely popular does not make my statement less true. Over the years we had to bear this pain of popularity at the cost of talent and merit. One look at our politicians and their popularity will make us wonder how these people can be popular. Look at the likes of Yeddyappa, Mulyamsingh and the Dalit Queen Mayawati, and you will understand what I say. This is also true to some extent as far as the twenty twenty form of cricket is concerned.

While I intensely dislike the abridged form of cricket, there is no chance of this happening to Hockey. Hockey, unlike Cricket has no abridged version. It is played over a period of 60 to 90 minutes and the result is guaranteed. India over the past ten years had a dismal record both the quality ofplay and its administration. We did not even qualify for the last Olympics. This time however we did qualify by beating France. I watched that game and it brought back memories of the golden era of Indian Hockey. This was followed by two weeks of scintillating Hockey which went by the name of World league of Hockey.

Taking the cue from the IPL the organizers of the World Hockey league divided the teams based on Urban centers and called the teams with fancy names. There were players from Australia, Canada, Pakistan, and Malaysia in this league along with Indians. It was a spectator’s delight.

That the Indians who played were not the best [as the top 20 who played for the country were not allowed to play in this league for the fear of injury keeping in view the forthcoming Olympics] did not matter. There were so many young Indian players with so much talent who played in this tournament that I felt the future of Hockey is bright.

That the league was a huge admin and financial success means a lot for the players who were treated so shabbily hither to. It is high time this happened to Indian hockey and the money and fame will surely lure our school children away from Cricket to this wonderful game.