April 19, 2010

Time Out for Tharoor

It's the age of everything instant: quick, exciting, entertaining. That's exactly what IPL--the Indian Premier League-- promised, and offered. The inaugural edition (2008) was a massive hit...and the 20-20 format was here to stay. Twenty overs a side meant heavy hitting, glorious fours, huge sixers, spot-on fielding, fabulous catches and more on the field. Off the field: Packed stadium, star-studded audience, cheer girls, post IPL parties and more (as we now know). Interestingly enough the 2009 edition of the INDIAN Premier League was held in South Africa. Reason: The IPL dates clashed with the election dates.
There was no way the Election Commission/governement was going to reschedule the 'right of a democracy' to allow Daredevils, Royals, Chargers and Knightriders to have their way. Of course there was no way the IPL's Big Boss would give in to the government's pressure and reschedule the event. The way out was to outsource the IPL. The name remains Indian, the venue would be international. A few countries were considered, formalities & procedures discussed and debated and finally South Africa it was. The 2009 edition too was claimed to a big, rather bigger, success despite being away from home.
The IPL-3 (2010) came back to its homeground but not without its share of controversies. The Pakistani cricketers were denied visa, the team owners ignored Pakistani players during the auction, which invisted mixed responses. Those who criticised it were even termed anti-Indian. All put to rest, the IPL 2010 got off to another colourful start. A few changes were seen in some of the teams, few hush-hush stories of discontent and incompatibility among team members were heard, but for the millions of TV viewers and the thousands of staidum viweres, none of it mattered. They cheered the sixers, fours, wickets with equal excitement.
With all going well, controversy couldn't be far behind. Amidst IPL-3 happened the bidding for two more teams. Kochi and Pune won the deals.
Being born in Kochi and having lived larger part of my life here, I did feel a sense of pride. Even more when I learnt that one of the members in the consortium that won Kochi was my senior from school. Kochi was excited: authorities promised to hurry up the stadium work, papers launched contests inviting names for IPL Kochi, cricket associations were busy preparing their boys. Soon the simmerings started, and soon it reached a boil. Union Minister Shashi Tharoor, who played a key role in clinching the deal for Kerala (he won from Thiruvananthapuram) may not have been prepared for this game.
IPL Big Boss Lalit Modi and Tharoor started a war of tweets. Questions were raised about the credibility of the Rendezvouz Consortium that won IPL Kochi, a certain lady was targetted and was accused on being Tharoor's proxy. The minister's involvement (which he claimed was that of only a "mentor") was questioned, his links with the lady was questioned...it was questions galore.
Not one to take it quiet, Tharoor retorted accusing Modi of trying to sabotage the Kochi deal. Tharoor said Modi favoured another team and was intentionally making things difficult for Kochi. The debate turned dirty, turned political with the opposition raising it in Parliament. Tharoor's credibility to continue as Union Minister was strongly questioned. The drama continued finally resulting in Tharoor's resignation--an act which is clearly forced exit. Earlier in the day the lady termed his proxy surrendered her stakes in the team and quit her post too. The loss is all Tharoor's. Well, is it?
It's really a loss, an insult to a game, once termed 'Gentleman's Game'. Cricket has taken a backseat, with controversy taking centrestage. Like a columnist wrote ins his Sunday column: This is not cricket. This is IPL. No one deserves our sympathy, for clearly everyone has their agenda. Big Boss Modi has his plans, Tharoor has his secret interests, the Opposition had its selfish reasons in protesting, the Government had its reasons for forcing Tharoor out. A sport is no longer a sport here. Cricket, is often termed religion, in India. No wonder the country and the people in power are divided over it. Religion has caused a lot of bloodshed, dirty talking and suffering to the country. Now being next to religion, Cricket too meets the same fate.
If you'd rather use your time baking a chocolate cake or walking your dog or doing anything that in no way reminds you of IPL, then move on. If you do have a word to say...write on. Here's what a few people had to say.


nirvana demon said...

well written as usual, cuppa.
Here are my 10 cents: What Tharoor is alleged to have done is improper, and a definite misuse of official position (prosecutable under Section 13(1)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1988.)
But really, is it that uncommon? A minister who uses his position to get his cronies/friends/family plum deals in private entities that he wields disproportionate influnce over...
geewhiz! That's so terrible! I guess I've never heard that story in India before!
Modi, on the other hand, with a stake in 3 franchises and the entire murky waters of the IPL swirling in his little tabletop tumbler, merits investigation. If there is evasion, he must be prosecuted. If there is corruption (and there most certainly is), it must be punished.
But what of the entire political/bureaucratic apparatus that allowed this tamasha to perpetuate, unchecked?
Why were the IT sleuths not concerned when the bids were going on, when the tournament itself dazzled everyone with its opening editions?
Why was the report prepared on the first 2 IPLs and their tainted funds not an effective red flag for the enforcement bureau to take note and to investigate further?
Why are tax sops still being handed out to IPL owners in terms of entertainment tax waivers, etc etc?
Why are games being playd as day-night, across summer in a state where 12-15 hour power cuts is the norm for any city/town that is not mumbai or pune?
We have to answer these questions with integrity. The augean stables must be cleaned. But it will require someone digging through all that shit.

Sree said...

Nirvana demon: By now we all know Indian politics is not about who sinned but about who could finally be proved a sinner. The smarties get away with their sins and even have a good laugh over it.
Tharoor, as most would agree, is educated, intelligent and capable of dealing with similar people. He can't handle the thick-skinned, power-hungry lot, for whom corruption is a way of life.
You have mentioned some very valid points about the IT waking up after 2 full IPL seasons, the power consumption, etc. When money talks, everything else listens.

views24hours said...


it's very nice...


(We will be awaiting your answer...)

Sree said...

@24hours: Thanks. The on-field IPL has come to an end and the off-field seems have finished its league matches and finally entered the decider stage. Modi is out, Governing Council meets todays...so much happening, so much muck being thrown..no one's interested anymore. IPL has exhausted the players and the viewers too.

views24hours said...

ha ha ha :)

saree its not Time out for tharoor...
it's time out lialit modi-tharoor..

so injoy ipl ka sarooorrrrrrr...

ha ha ha


well saree can i use your artical on our web portal views24hours.com with your name and ref.