Mar 142009

I have a theory … it is not very original, nor is it groundbreaking …but it is mine in any case

Nutcases – especially religious nutcases like the LeT or the Talibaan or the Ram Sene or the Bajrang Dal – have to go through a rite of passage. Both the Shiv Sena & the Ram Sene’s right of passage in modern days was violence against Valentine’s Day, Both the Shiv Sena and the MNS beat up ‘outsiders’ as their rite of passage, the smorgasbord of three letter acronym’s of Talibanesque idiots blow up the US embassy or beat up women or 5 star hotels as part of their rite of passage , and so on. For all of them the rite of passage is attacking the right to choice in the name of religion or culture, or both.

India, for all her faults, has allowed the bulk of its people to have choice – however rudimentary that choice may seem to those who want more rapid progress, and however rapid it may seem to those who want us to be stuck with the customs of the 18th century.

Now comes the biggest exercise in choice – who governs us …. and the choice before us manifold. I don’t think that there is any other DEmocracy where voters have so much choice between various people who claim to represent them. we can be cynical and say corruption, nepotism, etal … but the fact remains that choice has permeated down and local government, disadvantaged communities, minorities -religious, tribal, cultural, sexual, gender — all participate in the great mela….

And, then at the same time is IPL – a symbol of India’s emergence as the Mecca Las Vegas of cricket. Glittery, loud, fun, exhuberant and in your face … it represents, possibly, a different rite of passage … that of uninhibited consumerism … we no longer feel guilty about spending. For a long time we did.  ( as a kid i was told that burning crackers was like burning money and think of all the starving kids on the street – it was only when i grew up that i thought of retorting that me not spending does not mean that they will starve less unless i gave them the money ). It is a symbol of our being ‘important’ ‘global players’

The elections are going to be targetted as is IPL becuase the nutcases mentioned in paragraph 1 – want to make their name by attacking visible symbols of India and our way of life, and our right to choose. They will use different terms to justify it “Palestine” “Kashmir” “Cheerleaders” “against Indian culture”  “all of the above” …take your pick..the fact remains that these are soft targets.

No matter what we say, we cannot have blanket security -we are a Democracy. the security forces cannot be omnipotent or omnipresent. We are not doubting their capability, but do we really want an exhausted set of security personnel that is gazing at us through their obsolete gun barrels 24*7 ?

so something has to give – either the elections or IPL … and i would think that it is more important for Indian and Indians to elect the next government, in peace, than for some more 20-20 cricket. to have them both at the same time is going to exhaust our security forces and we will all bay for blood if a 26/11 or a Lahore repeat happens again.

But, it is not so simple. IPL is made up of franchises who have all paid shit loads of money when the market was at its highest for the rights to own teams. The market is now at its lowest, and there is only a small window when international players are available to play the tournament. so they are in a bind. Which is possibly why you have statements like this :

“it is a slap on the face of the Indian security forces and their courage if we feel they are not capable of defending the players or have no faith in the system.”

It is not about defending the players or faith in the system. It is because we have faith in the system that elections should not be pushed. And it is because we believe in the SEcurity forces that we believe that they are not cannon fodder or beasts of burden to be overloaded with so much security detail that they collapse under the strain.

Finally, IPL is a commercial venture. It is about making profits or losses. Why is the tax payer expected to subisdise security for team owners … Pay for it guys, there are agencies across the world who hire ex- military guys to provide kick ass security.Hire one of these agencies – get them supervised by which ever branch of Government is supposed to oversee it – and stop burdening the exchequer !! either that or push the Game…..