Bhaji bashing and the politics of cricket

Pull out of the tour ? What nonsense ! Hey guys – cricket is just a game which we lost ! It happens all the time, bad umpiring or not. Australia is a damn good team and really hard to beat. But we are turning out to be such a nation of cry babies ! Now all the politicians in India have got into the ‘ cricketing’ act. “Get our team back”. ‘We will fight this insult”. Soon I guess the Indian parliament will be in uproar, forgetting deeper more important issues like ‘law and order ‘ in India, where lives of the under privileged are constantly treated with indifference. Where abuse is the order of the day. The answer to all this is to beat the hell out of the Aussie’s the next match ….. if u can !

and Harbhajan must have said something to Symmonds for everyone to get so upset. But the Indian cricketers have always faced racial insults too. So I do not know what the fuss is about.
Though we Indians are probably one of the most colour conscious and racist people in the world .. The north Indians have traditionally looked down upon south Indians because of the colour of their skin. Our best selling cosmetic is a skin whitener cream. Brides looking for husbands are routinely advertised as ‘fair’. Whe I was at college, St Stephens College in Delhi, some African students were completely ignored. In fact at lunch, if an African student sat next to you, other students would just get up and go to another table and not think about it.
But whatever this is about – this is not a national issue – it’s just a game of cricket – get on wth it and beat the hell out of the Aussies – if you can – and fly home happy .. that’s what to do.

18 thoughts on “Bhaji bashing and the politics of cricket

  1. The general consensus over here in Sydney, Australia is that the Indians have done the right thing!! Even the locals Aussies have had enough with the arrogance of the Australian Cricket Team!

  2. dont agree with you, sir. cricket is not just a game.
    if players are paid to underperfom -can you call it just a game?
    if bookies and underworld network threaten players-oh, it’s definitely more than a game.
    huge money is involved- and betting and match fixing and nexus with crime organisations and and – – – –
    regarding baaji affair, the issue is the fact that icci believed that it could get away with penalising an indian player WITHOUT EVIDENCE. everyhuman being is racial – no doubt about that- but singling out asian players/teams for taking arbitrary decisions betrays an extremely highhanded attitude on the part of a controlling organisation like the ICCI(to which India is a gigantic contributor). Cant think of a single reason why we should take it lying down.

  3. Dear Shekhar,
    They say that the most powerful weapon in the world is a human soul on fire. If the Indian team is fired up enough by the events of the last few days, I believe they have all the talent and the ammunition to beat Australia. They should take the next few days to look inward and focus on their strength, and keep the massive passion and hunger to win alive. If they do that even the Gods will come to support them, and the win would be theirs to cherish.
    Best Regards,

  4. I think thats it is a pretty big deal that an Indian player was accused of racist remarks. It is a good opportunity for every Indian to look inwards, like you have done and recognize that we do discriminate based on skin color, religion and caste. Once we accept that, we can begin to consciously questions our biases and take action after making sure our actions are not being affected by our internal biases.
    We should accept the ban on Bhajji, and going forward we should make sure that players of other teams are held accountable for racial comments that they make.
    Saying that someone else also did wrong is no excuse for your own behaviour. Two wrongs don’t make a right. Bhajji is an adult and should own responsibility for his act. He should be embarrassed that a whole nation has to stand behind him for his action, for which he, and he alone is responsible, notwithstanding the racial remarks the australians may have made in the past.

  5. What’s more important – The MEANS or the END ?
    At the end of the series perhaps this Australian side would set a new world record of 18 consecutive test wins. 5-10 years from now this side would be regarded as the best ever side to have played the test cricket because the statistics would tell that story. They will only tell what the END was.
    What they would not tell is HOW this END was achieved ?
    They would not tell what MEANS were employed to achieved this fabulous END. How the players didn’t walk when they were not out, How the captain of the team claimed dishonest cathces, How they mentally disintegrated other teams like Sri Lanka through racial slurs etc. etc.
    If we celebrate this Australian side then we are putting the END above the MEANS.
    It’s alright to say it’s a game of cricket and ” aur bhi gham hain jamane mein cricket ke siwa ..” but we need to be watchful of the fact that millions of kids watch the game of cricket on TV worldwide. By not codemning the way the Australians play we’re telling them that ENDS are important than the MEANS.
    If there is a sense of injustice that we carry I think it’s right to fight back. And it’s important to fight Injustice if we feel that’s the case. Then it doesn’t have to be only about poverty/underprivileged or gender indifferences.
    Every young kid needs to know that injustice needs to fought against. They need to understand that they need to stay put & fight for justice. And all samll & big incidents in history are sometimes just excuses to teach them that.
    May be for a lot of young people an incident on cricket field might be a better way teach about MEANS & ENDS and how to not take injustice if you feel it’s been done to you.
    And all this shouldn’t be dependent on whether we beat the Aussies at Perth & Adelaide.
    Because may be it’s not about just the game of cricket.

  6. Wohooooooooooo
    I only know how to play “Gulli Danda”
    Me dunno da difference between cricket and a dhobi ka danda!!

  7. Looool Shekhar sach….
    I could go on and on …on these marriage issues of Indians….
    If the girl is fair, she is considered a beauty..’Soni’, And the family members would lick that looooool, my god how paranoid abt colour….
    Brides and excuse me ahem! Grooms too….the needs go like this…colour, caste, age, manglik, income, hobbies, financial position, background, foreground, family history(a mystery lol),I mean no end to all this…i wonder if folks are getting married to these traits or the human itself…what a saudebaazi!!!
    Oh! yes I had a penpal while in school from Africa…and then one day dad realises who he is n pooof my mails addresses evrything vanishes, but my newyork gori chamri remained looool…
    I have wonderful memories of an afro american, gentleman…they are a beauty!!!They have spunk, and zeal more than any white person….
    But then Im being a bitchy racist here too…even the whites have beauty…by the way who made these rules of black n white?
    Hugsss shekhar….

  8. Dear Shekhar,
    I agree with you to a large extent.Umpires might seem partial to many agitated Indians, but it’s possible ( even in pure probability terms) that almost every time ( 7 out of 8) umpires committed an error, Indians were at receiving end. We have to give them benefit of doubt.
    Regarding Harbhajan, it’s perfectly possible that he -given his short temper- used the word ” monkey ” for symonds. Now, is that a racial slur or not is subject of one’s intrepretation.
    But, I would like to add here that behaviour of Ponting during the last day of the match was also unbecoming; He should have been also punished along with bhajji.
    I completely agree with you that we Indians get unnecessary conscious of our skin color at slightest of provocation and ourselves could be the most racist people-even among ourselves.
    As you said, the best way to go about now is to kick the ass of aussies in the next outing; And, Iam pretty certain that we do have the ability to turn the tables around.

  9. you wrote
    “abuse is the order of the day”
    I do not think that justifies your point of keeping politics away from sports.
    Also it is sad to acknowledge that people like you who have the power to change the system are actually giving into the system.

  10. shantanu, I am not joining the system (though what is the system that you are talking about) I am trying not to look at sport as a system. That is the point I am making. I know that as sport becomes big business, it becomes political in India and elsewhere too. The regional politics of cricket almost ruined the game in India. Have we forgotten the recent politics of election of the BCCI – which embroiled the players to an extent that some of them threatened to walk out of the game ?
    There is a reason that the Olympics were for amateurs. But of course you only have to read the autobiographies of former athletes to realize that they were never so – and so there is so much drug abuse all over in the world of sport.
    So is sport a system ? Orit sport ? If it is a system – and with so much money now involved,
    no wonder that we get all the major match fixing scams in which great players like Azharuddin’s careers are cut short in their prime.
    If Sport is Sport – then they great rule is “win or lose – you just strive forward”.
    Or lets accept that sport it primarily business.
    My pride as an Indian is not hurt by bad umpiring. My pride is hurt if my team does not fight back in such a spirited way that it overcomes all obstacles. bad umpiring included. But I do think that Harbajan should not have called Symmonds a Monkey, whateber the provocation. It’s like the stupid American Senator calling any one with a turban a ‘Towelhead’.

  11. Lol loooollll I like the way you give a back kick Shekhar!!! Thats a dangerous, horse kick!!
    bad umpiring included. But I do think that Harbajan should not have called Symmonds a Monkey, whateber the provocation. It’s like the stupid American Senator calling any one with a turban a ‘Towelhead’.

  12. Sir…racism has a history attached to it. Wat it seems is that we are reacting the way we are becos we were defeated. I think we wud have reacted in exactly the same manner even if we had won. noone will object if harbhajan is punished for verbally abusing symonds. but if somebody says harbhajan has made a racist remark, he simply doesnt understand racism. The case against bucknor is simply of incompetence. 7-8 wrong decisions in one match is too much to take. But human errors will always occur and we are not saying scrap the match…just change him for the next match. which implies we have accepted defeat in that match. I think it takes guts to fight the australian team knowing that we will again be defeated in the next match. The indian team can be applauded for that. Alls well that ends well though and everybody from the australian media to the icc have all handled the matter pretty well and maybe we shd now forget the matter.

  13. A few things I think will help resurrect the image of both teams as well ICC.
    Indians stop issuing statements that calling Symonds ‘monkey’ is not racist. It undeniably is. It isn’t if you call me, but it is if you call a person of African ancestry. You can argue whether Harbhajan did call him that or not, that’s a legitimate debate. Unfortunately the stacks are loaded against him, due to his apology in the Mumbai one-day series for the same offence and the placards that Indian crowds carried in the stands. Some Indians are racist -against darker skin, just like some Australians, English are. Don’t try to cover them up – the majority of Indians are tolerant and good. Don’t side with the wrong just because you are from the same country. Many Australians are criticizing the Australian team – take cue from that. It’s ok to be humble and critical. Yeah, I know it’s a shock to be accused of anything but gentleness and humility but get over it. Not everyone in the team or in India is that way.
    ICC – needs to revisit the rules and how this kind of thing is handled, so it doesn’t become a media circus before facts are established. I think the captains, umpires, accuser & accused in future need to all come together, along with any witnesses. They thrash it out before issuing any verdicts.
    BCCI – just because you hold the purse strings for the game globally, don’t get arrogant. Show some humility, balance and fairness.
    The Australians: you are the hosts. Treat your guests with respect. Apologize for bad decisions from the umpires – they do happen, everywhere. The gentlemanly thing is to apologize for bad decisions and move on. This isn’t war, this is cricket.
    Regardless of everything, I still think losing 3 wickets in the penultimate over of the day is just terrible. None of those were contested. It’s maybe the emotions getting ahead of skill in fending of a few more deliveries. But with such a dismal performance in the last over, we deserved to lose anyway. Get over it, and like Shekhar says, go in and win the next one. Don’t gloat though if you do, show your respect.

  14. I dont really agree with you shekar…first of all the context of harbhajans comments is important….the aussies have sledged their way to glory for the last 10-15 years using the worst possible language againsit the sub continent….hypocrites that they are the moment harbhajan responded to symonds taunts with a little bit of below the belt comment they couldnt take it and filed off a complaint like cry babies….on the field they were busy carrying on with affectations to pressurise the umpire, not walking when the catch was clearly taken (michael clarke) , or when they have beaten the leather out of the ball ( symonds, Hussey, Ponting)..added to this the falsely claimed catches by ponting , clarke clearly show that the aussies have absolutely no business taking the moral high ground in this matter. As Bhogle says the team feels its being robbed on the ground and called racists outside it. In fact i fail to understand why the tour was not boycotted. And for once and very rareley does this happen in our country everyone was behind the team as they should be. The Aussies may be a great team but they certainly are not the fairest or the most liked by any stretch of the imagination.

  15. Yes kishore i was wrong on facts….calling symonds is a racist remark. I didnt know the aboriginal connection.

  16. Shekhar,
    If you were the Team Captain, would have protested if the Match Referee, for the sheer lack of evidence takes the other team’s word over your player’s and ban your key player for three matches ? Would you still be playing “just a game of cricket” if the Umpire actually walks up to a player and takes his word over your player to adjudge a key player out ?
    Of course , pulling out of the Tour is an extreme measure but unless you protest in a strong way, it’ll be naive to assume that rest of the series will be played in good faith and sportsmanship.
    By the way, if you pinch me hard, do I have a right to scream regardless of color of my skin ?

  17. Partha – this is where it helps to do research, which is pretty easy nowadays to get your facts right 🙂 Symonds is not of Australian ‘aborigine’ descent, he’s of ‘Caribbean’ descent. Potatoes, Patatas – eh?

  18. Dear Shekhar,
    I wrote something related to these recent controversies between Indians & Australians. I feel that you might find it relevant & might want to share this piece as a separate post.
    Of Monkey & Weed…Indian Australian bhai bhai
    India’s Australian tour has gone from one row to another. I have now lost count of number of rows( umpiring controversies, sledging accusations, racism charges) which have transpired between two teams & it’s cricketers in the last couple of months . In the latest Incident, Hayden called Harbhajan an ‘obnoxious weed’ and admits to a Brisbane radio station that he challenged Ishant to meet him in a boxing ring.
    Why is this happening??? Yes, partly it is happening because cricket is no longer a gentleman’s game & has become brutally competitive in the last decade or so after billions of dollars have come in . Also, no doubt that Australians have been always known to play any sport aggressively. But, the bigger problem, according to me, is cross cultural miscommunication. Yes, I am sure it was happening (although, may be to a lesser extent) earlier also..but it has come out more in open now since the media has become huge and every news/incident is over hyped.
    From whatever information regarding these rows I could gather from Newspapers & electronic media, one thing is sure; Most of our cricketers -in spite of having played in foreign lands & interacting with non-Indian players on/off the field- need a strong lesson in cross cultural communication. Not only our cricketers , Australian players also need to grow beyond their stereotype impressions about Indians in general;
    Just figure this; Hayden played down his row with Bhajji.. “I called him a bad boy,” Hayden insisted. “He took offense to that and I thought that was quite funny. I said, ‘Mate you should be flattered, it’s a clothing range’.”
    Now, what’s going on here?? I think, at times, we are not getting their sense of humor and vice versa. Remember what happened in Symonds/Bhajji controversy…. Teri “Maa ki ” became “Monkey” & snowballed into a major controversy whose repercussions will keep haunting the cricketing world in years to come.
    Ok, I have never lived in Australia . But, I have known few Australians and have found them to be extremely friendly & chilled out. I think Australians are a lot laid back and full of adventure than any other people I have met ( especially among white people from developed countries). It’s hard to digest that they could be racists towards Indians with whom they seem to get along well. I very clearly remember that it was Hayden only who, during that historic test series in India in 2001, commented very positively about Indian people ( Indians are very happy people & seem blessed) & even called Tendulkar “God”.
    I think one problem is that Aussies are not diplomatic; While having their “fun” on the field or giving ” light hearted” radio interviews , they either forget or are unaware of very very different sensibilities of Indian players and especially their fans back home. Also, talking of Harbhanjan, he is also known to be a hotheaded person and had displayed lack of discretion & immature behavior on more than one occasions .
    I strongly feel that ICC ( & especially filthy rich BCCI) should budget some money to hire cross cultural trainers for each cricketing team so that we understand each other more & therefore end up arguing more about game rather than intended meaning of “monkey” and “weed”.
    Well, for the time being, let’s forget all that and enjoy the finals. Our bowlers are firing and batsmen have also started to look good…Iam sure that we are going to kick ass of Aussies..Chak de India!

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