This fucking planet...!
Alright so ever since I wrote that Times of India rant, I've started to see just how deep seeded the whole problem really is. See back then I thought the media was too afraid to do anything but feed the masses. Not that that is any less true but I've realised just how screwed up the masses really are to begin with.
In India there is a strange notion of patriotism. It's something we saw at the time of paritition and indeed relied on to reach even that stage. It's the concept of a mob. It's the reason a group of 50 will lynch people in Bihar(not even just once...) and it's the reason Ram Gopal Verma had to stay indoors after 'Aag.' But this mob mentality is most blatant in the one place it really has no right to exist in...sport. More honestly, just cricket.
This isn't about the fact that the football and hockey ('National' sport) teams have acheived proportionately equal significance in the past few months and have still been completely ignored minus a few headlines. This is about the fact that cricket is this population's vague excuse for patriotism. There is this bizarre notion that by supporting the cricket team you are in turn supporting your nation and that therefore makes you a good citizen, no matter how much you bitch about the government in your arm chair and litter the streets.
Sport is about the human spirit and physically and mentally hitting places you've never hit before. It's about strategically outdoing an opponent for the sake of testing yourself. Sport is beautiful and that's why people follow it. That's why the Gunners never lose fans and Chelsea only sell shirts. But for some reason in this country sport is an excuse for either extreme - savage lynchmob, or obsessive cult.
A few weeks ago after the Indian team brought home the title of world T20 champions, they drove past my college and I saw something I've neve seen before. Lakhs of people surrounded the bus and hundreds of educated students shrieked as the buses drove by. 'I SAW SREESANTH!' 'DUDE, I SAW ALL OF THEM!' That entire day we barely worked because everyone was awaiting the bus. Politicians shook hands with them and crores were spent in felicitation. I understand the concept of escapism but how can you burn a man's house one day and then sing songs about him the next? Why is a team that is essentially a sporting outfit the hope and pride of a nation while millions of us are dying of tubercolosis and diarrhoea? Why will we refuse to organise ourselves and force the government to get going but mobilise ourselves the second the cricket team wins or loses? Does everyone truly understand the sport they claim to love?
Is it all the media's fault? I don't know. Can the media fix it? Damn straight it can.
Elsewhere Sepp Blatter made some grunting noises to the basic effect that he wants all football clubs to have quotas for players from the respective nations they're participating in. This by the way, is a man who has always expressed his desire to banish racism from the game. Beautiful.
You know, whatever despairing need the nation may feel towards cricket, it is certainly not about sport. It's rooted in this bizarre feeling we all have about belonging to one country. It doesn't matter whose economy gets richer whenever you drink Pepsi or Thums up. Borders were made for administrative purposes. To make it easier to control a group of people. Not to segregate and glorify. The point of any government isn't to make itself better than anyone else, but indeed to just make it's people as comfortable in their personal growth as possible.You want something to belong to? Try the fucking planet!
I'll tell you what, in a few years time when we've effectively melted the planet, and we're all either drowning or burning, will it really matter whether you're Indian or English?
<The other day I came across the closest to honest patriotism I have ever come across. I had asked a friend of mine if I could crash at his place for a few days. Instead of saying "Mi casa es su casa" this guy just said "Arey, Mera ghar tera ghar!" To me, this was beautiful because of how natural his response and that's what real patriotism should be. Comfort.>