Sunday, April 10, 2011

Indian Cricket Mania -- A Phenomenal Self-Delusion

After the cricket WC, Indians now regard ourselves as world champions. The front page of The TOI Bangalore screamed " The World at our Feet" . Indians celebrated as if they had won WC Soccer or Volleyball or a dozen Olympic golds. Indians are in a grand feel-good conspiracy. We have created a fictional world where we are the World's Sporting Champs. The facts are otherwise. 1. Cricket is unknown in roughly 190 countries. On the other hand, soccer is the most popular game in these 190 countries. In 190 countries, when people say "The World Cup", they mean the Soccer Worls Cup"
2. More than 100 countries, including India, play in the qualifying rounds of the Soccer World Cup. 32 countries play in the finals. The competition is extremely tough.
3. Cricket is the most popular game only in South Asia. In England, Australia , S.A. and NZ, Soccer is the most popular game, followed by rugby ( and Aussie football in Australia) and cricket in that order. Soccer is the No 1 game in the Carribean countries.
4. Cricket is well known ONLY in S.Asia, Britain, Australia, NZ, S.Africa, and the Carribean. 6 of the 14 teams in the Cricket WC are included just to give an illusion of a
world-wide event.
5. In India, great non-cricketing sportspersons, except for a few like Milha and Usha, are unknown to most Indians, and given very very poor coverage by Indian sports journalists in  Indian newspapers. Most of my colleauges have not heard of the following greats :
Aashwini Akkunji, PT Joseph,Prakash, Malleshwari, Sushil Kumar, hockey greats from Dhyan Chand to the present stars, Krishnan family, Amrithraj family, Monohar Aich,Jimmy George, Sriram Singh,Shivnath Singh, G.S.Randhawa, Bahadur Prasad,Anju Bobby George, Yohannan......

Let us admit to the above facts. Its OK for people , or an entire region , to fall in love with a game, and win a Cup in that game. But its not OK to lie, especially to our kids, about the magnitude

and scope of our acheivement.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Sue Indian Cinema Producer and Director

-- An Open letter to the President of the International Rugby Board .
( A satire on unrealsitic scenes in Indian cinema ).

Indian Cinema has grieviously insulted and outraged the sensibilities of all Rugby players and fans . In a Tamil hit movie,the lead actor plays the role of a person of slightly above average height and physique . He is portrayed as singlehandedly tackling an entire Rugby team, sending the Rugby players flying one by one, causing them serious injuries, and emerging triumphant.
Anyone with an ounce of common sense knows that a Rugby player is 5 times as strong as an average adult . And he is much fasterthan the average man. And a master of zig-zag running . A Rugby player can scatter 10 guys like me , like 10-pins in a bowling alley. Ditto for , say , 6 ,well-built modern actors, or modern young men of slightly above average height and physique. Perhaps a Karate black belt might be able to take on a Rugby player or 2. But certainly not an entire Rugby team.
This is a gross insult to the glorious image of Rugby players. I request you , the President of the IRB, to mulct themalicious producer and director of the pathetic movie, in substantial damages.
A Sports Fan.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Merciless belabouring of pick-pockets

When policemen catch a pickpocket, they first thrash him severely in public, and only then do they arrest him . When a group ofIndians catch a pickpocket, they furiously belabour him until a policeman arrives on the scene .The policeman lets the mob thrash the pickpocket until the mob stops to rest their aching arms.
This is illegal . The policeman can only arrest a pickpocket and book a case. The members of the public can only hand over thepickpocket to the police. In the US or UK, a policeman would be suspended and face an enquiry for such a barbaric act. The entire world press would splash the event on their pages as an example of racism.
Pickpockets are very poor people who are uneducated , are under the full control of a criminal gang, and who would starve if they didnt steal.They steal to survive. They have no alternative career path.
Now I am of the tiny minority opininon that such beatings are not only illegal, but highly reprehensible , grotesqeulycruel, and should be stopped altogether . To try to convince you, let me list out some crimes/criminals that I feel are much more evil , and all of which deserve 100 to a million times more severe punishments. After you beat the following guys, you could turn on pickpockets:( Note : 1 crore = 10 million )
1. Politicians. They wont starve if they didnt take a bribe or swindle the treasury . But they swindle crores of rupees. A pickpocket may rob Rs500 from your pocket, once in your life. Lets say a certain politician earns Rs x crore illegally, India's population is 115 crore . This guy has robbed Rs x/100 from your pocket. Now multiply that by the number of Indian politicians. The reason is , that only 2 or 3 pickpockets may rob from you in your lifetime. But whenever anypolitician swindles money, he robs you of Rs x/100 .
2. Ditto for all stinking rich tax evadors. Again, calculate the amount of tax evasion in India , and divide it by 115 crore.That is the money that these tax evadors steal from your pocket.
3. Ditto for ALL bribe givers and takers. ALL corrupt people . Calculate total bribes / 115 crore.
4. If India had less corruption,we would have less power breakdowns. Corruption is responsible for inferior materials used in all stages of power distribution . We would not have to suffer mosquito bites in sweltering heat at 2 am.
5. All who play dirty politics in every office in the world. When you lose a job due to office politics, you lose money every month for the rest of your life -- a huge amount. Or you may get less increment, or miss a promotion.
So this is my request to you . Once all the above-mentioned blokes have been thrashed in proportion to the amount they swindle, if you still have any energy left, you could think of punishing pickpockets. Till then, just hand them over to the police.
Please sensitize all those you come into contact with , on this issue . I mean , say , the watchman in your building, the guys at the nearest auto stand, peons, etc. Let them laugh at this idea, but it might germinate.
We also need somthing like the SPCA, say an organization for prevention of brutal battery of pick-pockets. This organization would pressurize the Govt to stop all extra-judicial assaults on Pickpockets and petty thieves , by the police or lay public.
Jai Hind.
Footnote : no one can lift a finger against the corrupt people mentioned above. Nor against organized crime . A few of them do get arrested and jailed now and then . We can only try to better the lives of the rest of society. So I am actually requesting : DONT thrash petty thieves, ever . And we need to spread this idea all over the place including villages.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Slumgod Millionaire wins local awards in a remote area

First of all, let me clarify that i rarely see movies. I havent seen SM . I dont know whether SM is one of the greatest movies ever, or a cheap blockbuster masala type. For all i know, it may deserve all the film , or even many non-film, awards that exist today. But I do know something abt international, national, regional , town, and street level awards. And we have google handy to look up anything whatsoever, in this case , the Oscars.
So I repeat that I am not in anyway criticizing SM or the ppl involved in producing it. Only the reaction of Indian ppl , media, and politicians to any award from any foreign country.
The Oscars are NOT INTERNATIONAL awards, like Olympic medalS , or Nobel prizes, or international film festival awards. They are American awards, for English movies only, also awarded to non-Americans based on certain restrictive rcriteria. Giants like RAY, BENEGAL, KARANTH, and KARNAD never won an Oscar. It is absurd for ppl , and PARLIAMENT and the PM, of all ppl , to go ga-ga over an Indian movie winning the Oscars. The Indian press has blown up this matter out of proportion. But it is very easy for some Indians, who are well-connected with the media, to exaggerate and project any award of any country as a world-wide award. Hence , a better yardstick for SM would be: has it won any of the prestigious awards won by the gr8 giants' movies or directors or personnel ?
We can see another example of this in South Asia's most popular game, cricket. Many Indians actually think that cricket is a truly international game, and as popular world-wide as it's in S.Asia. .
Another kind of example: in sports like boxing, billiards, etc, where there are 2 parallel sets of tournaments for pros and amateurs. Indian winners of amateur world tournaments, are projected - not explicitly, but in a very cunning manner - as the world's best . In such games, there is a huge gulf between the amteur and pro standards.
Another example : in the 70's and 80's , i have been greatly misled by bold headlines proclaiming "India beats Iran" , "India beats xyz " ( xyz = an European country ). At that time, we used to host international tournaments in volley ball and soccer. The noble idea behind this - to give our players international practise in the convenience ( or hardship ) of our home conditions was often nullified, bcoz strong countries would send a collecion of amateurs, or a club or institutional team. The newspapers would mention this in fine print towards the end of the article. This continues these days in hockey , but very few Indians folllow hockey news, and those who do are very knowledgeable abt sports and games.