Asian Age \ Deccan Chronicle column this morning.Eerie how India is being manipulated....
India taken for a ride….
Oh oh….. should I be worrying about the price of wheat or the future of cricket ?? “ Sports should not be politicized,” said NCP ka aadmi DP Tripathi with a straight face, and I almost fell off my chair with laughter. Politicians have a stranglehold over every marketable game going….it is ONLY about political monopoly. And this guy had the gall to say this at a press conference! He also added sweetly, “ Truth needs no furniture!” That was priceless, given the ‘furniture showrooms’ his party owns. He glibly told reporters that Sharad Pawar met his cabinet colleagues that crucial Modi Bombshell morning, not to discuss cricket at all … but to talk about the price of wheat. Yeah, right! He went on and on about there being no ‘saboot’ to nail anybody at this stage…. and I said to myself, why are we wasting our time on this rubbish? Kuch nahi honewala! Guaranteed. So, don’t be bloody naïve and expect a bloodbath, with mighty heads rolling, and the guilty being marched off to jail. It ain’t happening. This is how it works in India – always has, always will. It’s like asking the Godfather to set up a commission to look into the Mafia’s misdeeds.In reality, our ‘investigations’ are like a romp in the woods. A naughty teddy bear’s picnic. The main players involved ( and I mean players), have finished laughing all the way to the bank ( several banks in strange destinations across the world, actually). They know there is going to be no fall out. And by this time next week they’ll be singing ‘‘Aaal eeez welll.” The only idiots who will be left scratching their heads will be the citizens of India.
This is precisely what the Big Boys have been banking on. All that sho-sha about fixing this one and fixing that one, resignations, enquiries, investigations, raids…. don’t we know how this works? A great deal of noise was made all of last week. Every television anchor worth his pinstripe (and her kurtis ) went hoarse following the hot, hot, hot story that finally ended not with a bang (ooooh!!! Sorry Tharoor!!!), but a whimper. It suddenly went ‘phoos’ – kaput! Strange…. in any other country, this would have signaled the beginning of a very thorough and detailed investigation, leading to arrests. That magic word – arrests!! Nothing turns us on as much as watching the high and mighty in hand cuffs. At the end of the day, we are voyeuristic spectators in a packed arena – we want to watch those gladiators bloody themselves and maul one another. We want action… lots of it! As it is, the IPL had become the best Reality Show on television. With trusting cricket lovers playing judges. Just when the elimination rounds were starting to get exciting, a few wet blankets ruined it all by declaring a truce. Since viewers have been kept in the dark about the details of this truce, naturally we are thirsting for more – more of the adrenaline pumping moments that had us mesmerized all of last week, with a Breaking Story every hour. What followed has been an absolute anti- climax! At the time of writing, Modi was still gassing big time, while his ardent supporters were trotting out that annoying line – ‘‘Let the law take its course.” We know what that means – ‘Let’s buy time.’ I loved the ‘new, improved’ Shilpa Shetty appealing to the media to show restraint since Modi ‘has done such a great job.’ No doubt, he has. Only a Modi could have pulled off such a mega plot. For plot it is. In terms of sheer brilliance and outstanding ingenuity, Modi deserves a medal. Roping in the right partners ( money bags of varied hues and ambitions) was step number one. An obvious step, but an invaluable one ( it helped that Modi’s own family members were only too delighted to oblige). Working around government road blocks seems to have posed zero problems for this master strategist. He used his old connections and clout to flatten ( or buy out ) any opposition. With the cunning of the world’s sharpest insider traders, he struck deal after deal, secure in the knowledge that the mega returns he had promised investors would seal their mouths. Crazy how easily this worked – he had stuff on them, they had stuff on him. Everybody had stuff on everybody else. So, nobody could squeal. Nobody did. Till that blessed twitter war got going.And that was it.
Well, guess what?
There were disgruntled elements in Modi’s carefully protected paradise. And they were the ones who eventually ratted on the self- appointed IPL Commissioner ( or The Great Dictator ). Sick of his arbitrary, arrogant, high handed style of functioning, they decided to whisper in the right ears. Some of those ears were out to get Modi, even while pretending to be his best friends. Too many egoes had entered the picture, while in Modi’s vision there was place for just one - his own.Everything would have gone tickety- boo had another ambitious upstart not ruined the cosy party. Enter Shashi Tharoor – the political rockstar, who richly deserves a shot at playing himself in a Bollywood blockbuster. Shashi was easily dealt with, and as of now, the guy is cooling his heels and waiting it out like a penitent schoolboy after a caning. Shashi is the least of anybody’s problems. He is seen as a chhota mota nuisance valuewalla – his bite no more lethal than a machchar’s. People are openly laughing at his many indiscretions, and even more at Kofi Annan’s rather juvenile attempt to link India’s democracy to this mosquito bite.
The most serious error made by us Indians was in believing this entire mess has to do with cricket!! What absolute chumps we were to fall for this. The IPL was never about cricket. It was always about money.So today, when one hears earnest cricket lovers talking about how this gentleman’s game has fallen so low, one doesn’t feel like consoling the mourners. You want to yell, “Wake up, you morons”. See it for what it is – a monumental scam. In the same league as all those other multi-crore scams – and look where they are today. Buried deep, somewhere inaccessible and mysterious. It’s the standard game government agencies are so adept at – keep delaying the investigative processes till people either forget….. or die. Officialdom is vastly amused by all the fuss being made over Sunanda ( “call me Sue” ) Pushkar’s piddly seventy crores!! Come on…. seventy crores?? Are you kidding?? What’s the big deal? It doesn’t even count as petty cash.
Ab kya hoga?? Kuch nahi. There will be more chest thumping and fire breathing. Assorted political bods will be accosted by hysterical tv anchors and lie through their teeth. They will do it in a manner so brazen and besharam, we’ll be left gasping. Perhaps, in a fake show of ‘we mean business’, Modi will be asked to back off for a bit and Tharoor , to cool it in the backwaters of Kerala.This will give the much needed time to the ‘asli’ fixers to do what they do best – fix.Which is why I say, “ Tenshun mat lo, yaar.” Aish karo. Par sirf cricket se.