Thursday, January 31, 2008

Cricket woes: Diarrhea in Australian media over indian 'money power'

This story is from TOI .

The Australian national newspaper, in an article headlined "Cricket's Day of Shame," quoted an unnamed Australian player as saying: "The thing that (annoys us) is that it shows how much power India has. The Aussie guys aren't going to make it up. The players are frustrated because this shows how much influence India has, because of the wealth they generate. Money talks."

India has become the financial powerhouse of world cricket, generating massive broadcasting and sponsorship revenues which support the international game.

The International Cricket Council has been seen to have bowed to Indian pressure in several recent decisions, including the removal of umpire Steve Bucknor from the recent test series when his rulings angered the Indian team.

Cricket commentator Peter Roebuck, writing in the Sydney Morning Herald , said India's threat to fly its players home if the appeal failed was "amongst the most nakedly aggressive actions taken in the history of a notoriously fractious game." "If this is the way the Indian board intends to conduct its affairs hereafter, then God help cricket," Roebuck wrote. "All around, it has been a bad business. Over the years, India have often been represented by gentlemen with high principles and a strong sense of sportsmanship. Australia have not been so fortunate. But it seems that power has corrupted."

A poll conducted by the Sky News television network showed 57 per cent of respondents disagreed with the appeal decision while 43 per cent supported it. The number of participants was not available.

In The Australian newspaper, Peter Lalor wrote that Indian had "pulled out every stop" to ensure the ICC and Cricket Australia "caved in" to its demands. "India, the team that bleated about the spirit of cricket after being beaten in Sydney, has again held a gun to the game's head and had its demands met," he said. Australian governor general Michael Jeffery, the British queen's representative in Australia, appealed in a radio interview for a return to courtesy on the cricket field. "While we should be playing the game tough and hard and all of that sort of thing, I think there's also a need to really take care of the fundamental courtesies and good manners," Jeffery said.

My take on this issue:
This indeed is a strange statement : Over the years, India have often been represented by gentlemen with high principles and a strong sense of sportsmanship. Australia have not been so fortunate. But it seems power has corrupted. What does this imply? because Aussies are not gentlemen, they have the license to be abusive, and 'cos indians are gentlemen, they should grin and bear their abusive language? oh come on now. that is real real cockeyed logic. and to say that when team India reacts, it has been 'corrupted' by power(!!!!!!!!) is another way of saying that we (aussies)cant stomach it if the underdog rises above his station. And this digestion problem appears to be messing up the australian media!

As the sayings go 'every dog has his day' and 'the smallest worm will turn being trod upon'. But then, we are not talking about worms and dogs.if these lesser creatures can turn, how can anyone expect the tiger not to pounce?

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Harbajan-Symmonds exchange.

ok. the baaji - symmonds affair is sorted out and baaji is cleared of racism charge. but punished for abusive language.
what about symmonds who started the whole exchange by abusing baaji? how come he got away scot free?
are australians divinely ordained to use abusive language on the field?

Saturday, January 26, 2008

DR. Aiyyappa Panikker (AP) : random, unforgettable, privileged memories

DR. Ayyappa Panikker’s first anniversary which was observed a couple of months back resurrected in me memories of my brief association with this great man.

After my first meeting with him( about which I blogged on the day I heard of his demise ) I kept a safe distance from him. I like geniuses. I stand in awe of them and am totally tongue tied in their presence. So I prefer to admire them from a distance, and that’s how I admired Dr. Panikker. But there were times when that distance had to be collapsed - for official reasons, as he was the Director of the Institute where I did my research.

I remember the day I presented my synopsis to the doctoral committee which he chaired . I had given the synopsis to all the members of the committee earlier , except to Dr. Pannikker. He was not in at his usual time and I prayed that he wouldn’t be in during the presentation. But the gods wouldn’t have it that way. Pannikker sir walked in at the stroke of eleven when the presentatation was scheduled and I extended the synosis to him. He took it from my hand, his eyes running down the first page, and by the time he settled down in the chair he had turned over all the pages. And out came the remark ”This young lady seems to be very generous with her articles”!!! Without exaggeration, it took him less than half a minute to locate the slips in the language – and I was speechless –with admiration, fear. The rest of the presentation was a nightmare. He shot questions after questions which I couldn’t answer, even when I knew the answers – for fear they might sound inane - - so badly did he shake my confidence.

Looking back, I realize that that episode shook me out of my complacency and I instantly, without my knowing it, set high standards for myself - which manifested, ever since, in me going over and over again over a written piece meant for submission( I’ve let my hair down only after acquiring this web space for myself) and going to books, sources to make clear in my own mind , theories and concepts. I learnt that the golden rule for a researcher is that nothing can be taken for granted. And being intensely conscious of the huge gray areas in our mind, is actually the true beginning of wisdom.

I was not his student but as the director of the research institute, he kept himself posted about the performance of each research scholar enrolled at there. I was a consistently hardworking research scholar(that attribute of the average, I guess). But there came a period in my research tenure when work took a second place, with domestic inconveniences to be attented to. Being mortally scared of AP, I didn’t confide in him – cant think of anyone asking him for concessions on account of personal problems. One day, he sent word through my guide to ask me to get a grip on myself. He mentioned that I had started off well - had been a very earnest student – but of late I had been slackening my pace. I was astounded! and pleased too that my earnestness did not go unnoticed by the great AP.

Panikker sir’s quick and sharp wit was famous. Every day, some research scholar or other would walk into our common room with some delightful tale of his wit. There is this story of one of his lady students who put in an application for leave on account of her HUSBANDS’ illness. One glance at it and out came the remark from AP. “ My sense of propriety prevents me from asking how many and which one’.

There is yet another story of how he was in discussion with a Prof about the lull in publications at the centre, when one of the scholars at the research centre entered his office room and informed him that she was going on medical leave on account of pregnancy related discomforts. She was the second person that day who asked for leave for the same reason. Looking at the Prof who sat in front of him, he grumbled that “ people register for Ph.D here and produce nothing but children’.

Wish his students would get together and bring out a book on AP’s quick wit and sense of humour.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

We, in India - - -

sometime back, i attended an international conference in bangalore. there were many many participants from abroad. a phrase i kept hearing as i moved through the crowd was " we in India " or ' in india, we---" or "we are this/that".
i evesdropped shamelessly
and overheard.
a person in mid forties with an exaggerated sandal paste streak on his forhead to a delegate from South Africa: we have idli sambar every day. you know that's the healthiest food. sambar is the indian soup. more nuritious and less harmful than the soup you have----(i refused to look at the face of the person at the receiving end of this harangue)
and there was this person from kerala: we were christians long before europe was christianised. st. thomas himself converted us. (one look at the incredulous expression on the face of the delegate from east europe and i ran for my life)
but the coordinator of the conference really took the cake. he was frantically running around, playing the model host with " here in India, our aging parents live with us" or "our classcal music is the most scientifc and advanced form of music", " the purest silk is woven in india". To a rather friendly britisher he thundered jovially 'your queen still has our Kohinoor!!!!!"
and just before the variety entertainment began, there he stood, beaming on the stage, wearing a scarlet silk bulky turban, green silk kurtha, off white silk churidar, saying ' yes, my friends. it's me. your very own Mr. G------------------. fooled you, eh? but this is our traditional dress(!!!!!!!!????)
the guy was from karnataka. i have never seen a kannadiga dress like that - except of course, chamaraja wadiar(in pictures) during the dussera celebrations. perhaps Mr. G belonged to the royal family---.
why do we indians do this? why d we showcase ourselves like this?
and why do we need foreingers' certificates to believe in the merit of our indigenous, traditonal way of life? why do we say with inflated chest and pride beaming from our eyes that:
bill clinton loves Indian chicken curry (the poor curry was blamed for his angeoplasty)
foreigners love kheer
tagore is a great poet. he was yeat's favourite poet (not true - yeates admitted later that he wrote that foreward in a moment of weakness)
kalidasa is greater than shakespeare
why this "it's all in the vedas" attitude?
this august, we will be celebrating 61 years of independence. it'll take more than another 60 years to cure us of this terrible inferiority complex.

Monday, January 21, 2008

The fickle blogger: Blogger response to India -Australia test series

I came across a lot of blogs after the Sydney test hinting that kumble&Indian team were being spoilsports – and doing the sour grapes act. The most critical of these bloggers were Indians. Were they trying to project an image of being objective sports lovers, ashamed of a crybaby nation? and in answer to one blog, I was provoked into defending our team thus :

Guess it must be pretty hard to be out there in the middle and see that every wrong decision was going against you-particularly when you have, for a change :--)), put your best into the game.

it almost looked as tho' the aussies had made some arrangement with the umpires to ensure that they equalled the 16 consecutive win record.

cant blame kumble. it can be quite frustrating to think that all your best efforts come to no avail on account of biased or wrong decisions of incompetent decision makers. i think kumble conducted himself with extreme dignity.

It is not unsporting to demand a level playing field.

Now, suddenly, after the perthe win, the bloggers have taken a U turn. The men in blue have become the geatest, the gentlemen of the game, the giant killers and whatnot.

how rightly is it witten ‘nothing succeeds like success.’

incidentally, looks like aussies cant win if they refrain from sledging ‘cos it is part of their winning strategy - & they are quite colourless without their characteristic insults and obscenities. let’s hope they go back to their evil ways.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

New Rhetoric for damage control

Indian Express(Jan 19) carried the story titled NEW 'TERROR LANGUAGE'. The news item is as fllows:
The British Govt. seems to have embarked on a new strategy on labelling terrorosts and their recruiting agents, as security officials believe that directly linking terrorism to Islam is inflamatory and risks alienating mainstream Muslim opinion.

And the new rhetoric?
In future, fanatics will be refered to as pursuing'anti-islamic activity'

Another attempt at creating a new reality thru a new rhetoric.

Remember how secularism in India became pseudo secularism, ushering in a whole new trend in in Indian politics?