Friday, May 17, 2013


A look at the world of politics, statecraft, diplomacy and books The recent expose has of course, shocked everyone. Each time a juicy scandal breaks out and the heart wrenching dirges that are sung about betrayal reminds me of the famous line in Casablanca when the police officer says, "I am shocked that gambling in goin on here" even as he pockets his earnings. Sreesanth has been caught largely because he is an outsider and a marginal member of the Indian test team. In fact, right from the time of Kapil Dev Indian cricket has been bedeviled by allegations of match fixing and Mohammad Azuruddin the Hon'ble member of thew Congress Party and an MP to boot from Rampur, UP was even convicted of match fixing. Unfortunately, the man went on to become an MP and thus prove to the whole country that even if you are caught in a scandal the political class is above common consideration of decency, loyalty to country and dignity. In fact Indian cricket is a mirror of contemporary India in which fixers of every kind, colour and shape thrive. Just see the shenanigans of the Congress Party over the Coalgate Scandal and the involvement of the Law Minister in the whole affair. Cricket has had a rich and colurful history. Ranjit Singh documented his life in cricket in the Jubilee Book of Cricket. India unfortunately has not produced a single historian who has been able to write the history of the game as a reflection of social, political and cultural trends. The last great cricketer which India had was Gundappa Vishwanath, a stylish batsman who displayed both verve and style on the wicket. Now we have corrupt clowns masquerading as national icons and the decline began, yes, with Sachin Tedulkar. The clamour for giving his a "Bharat Ratna" is indeed obscene. Beyond a Boundry by C L R James is one of the best books on cricket that I have ever read. I have read Neville Cardus and the like but James is able to interweave the history of cricket in the West Indies with social history. The racist society of Jamaica and Trinidad did not allow the blacks, the descendents of slaves who worked on the sugar plantations any venue for social mobility. C L R James write the history of west Indian cricket as a social history of the blacks trying to assert their identity in the face of intense institutional racism and marginalization. Obviously with such a history, you are not going to see match fixing and and like. Every lover of cricket must read this book.

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