Sunday, December 18, 2005

One of those cricket rants

Another mind-colonizing controversy erupted last week - one so insidious, that the stream of rhetoric flew in its aftermath that even repeating its name is putting off: The Dropping of Saurav Ganguly (all puns and allusions intended.)

You've heard this before. Sneered at the statistics, wondered what doddering old men were getting so worked up about, and muttered a few obscenities if caught in a traffic jam caused by His Dadaness' crazed followers. Muttered, because 'Dada' is the reigning deity in Calcutta. Muttered, not uttered, because despite the spin Austin, Habermas or whoever put to the idea. Ideal speech, bah.

But what surprised me most was one particular element of the "let me do my part to reinstate a great cricketer by venting on TV so that the ignorant selectors know that the power is with the people" circus that was broadcast on the airwaves. And it was (hold your breath), in the words of one supporter, "As a Bengali [insert anxious pause] I feel he shouldn't have been dropped. It is an injustice." (sic)

[It's hard not to enter into laborious and acrimonious debates on the relationship between the particular and the universal, 'what is a thing' etc etc.]

The catchy part of such statements was "As a Bengali." Politician after politician, and even hallowed (or, 'hollowed'?) parliamentarians were crawling out of the woodwork, out of their heated rooms, and launching into inanities like, "this is an insult to/of Bengal."

Just fucking back the truck up.

How exactly did Bengal get insulted? No one posted a letter to it... Or spat on it... Or sat on it... Wait, here's the answer, Bengal-as-spirit was kicked right in the goolies.

As spirit? The extent to which these people are metaphysically challenged amazes me. "Insult to Bengal"? How, an insult, and how, this conclusion? I'll tell you... through the logic of identification, which these people take to be the logic of identity. They identify with him, not because they wish they were him, but because they think they are or can be him.

From personal experience (i.e. one very crazy and psychotic grandparent, amongst other similarly psychotic relatives) I've learnt that those who habitually buy tickets on the Insult Express: a) are pathetic fools, (but isn't everyone?) b) have unresolved existential issues, (but doesn't everyone?) c) this existential anxiety they are riven by keeps them from being able to examine their situations. This is (say in a Chris Rock voice) "the worst thing about" them.
"If ever a man was hoist by his own petard, it is Sourav Ganguly. All this talk of his being forced out of the team due to ‘politics’ is both ironical and hypocritical as it was the self-same BCCI politics that saw him push his way back into the current Test series in the first place.

Going by his form over the past 18 months and the poor results of the Indian side under his captaincy in the same period, Ganguly owed his place solely to the fact that his benefactor Jagmohan Dalmiya was ruling Indian cricket. For his backers now to cry hoarse about his victimization under the new dispensation that has taken over the Board therefore smacks of double-standards."

Read the rest, here
The bugger's performance (batting, bowling AND fielding), and attitude did him in. Notice this: the really good players persevere, by correcting their mistakes/flaws and minimizing the imbalances in their game. Dravid might have once said, "on the off-side, there's God, and then there's Saurav." However, anyone who's seen Ganguly giving himself the middle finger when a ball was pitched short, or delivered on the leg side, can tell that that Dada Dearest just wasn't able to (or didn't care to?) change.

So, enough of this bullshit, about "insult to Bengal."

Maybe the person who really needs to get fired is Navjot Sidhu, NDTV's in-house expert. Why? Cramming witty retorts does take as much effort as timing their delivery. Often, it makes for - or can be interpreted as - 'good TV'. But practically denying other speakers a change to express themselves? Maybe he's mistaken his job profile for trying to score brownie points with the chat show anchors...

Will the nightmares never end?
Srinagar, November 17: "When Nazir Ahmad Wani finally returned home, enveloped in a blood soaked blanket, a dozen men encircled the body as they placed it in the compound.

Then they hurried to bring dignity to the corpse, by tying the pieces together with white gauze.

Nazir had left for office in the morning. After five hours of searching, his nephew found him in the police mortuary. His eyes and the wedding ring on his finger were his only identification.

Like dozens others, Nazir's journey reached an end, outside the entrance of J-K Bank's corporate office at 10.08 am.

Within a fraction of seconds, he was blown up into pieces. A lone militant drove an explosive laden car, parked it on the edge of the road, exploding it within a minute. The bomb shrapnels killed three others, including a bank guard and wounded more than 50, making it a third day of death and mayhem in this uptown stretch of Srinagar city.

"My son. My son. Why am I alive to see this day?" wailed Nazir's 80-year-old father Abdul Ahad Wani. His snow-white beard soaked with his tears, as he sat alone in a corner. "He is my only son. I didn't even say good-bye to him in the morning. I didn't know he was leaving for ever." "
I haven't read an article as moving as this in a long time. :-(


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