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On MODIfying, Developing and Changing INDIA

There was a country, a country of spirited and adept men, finding itself in the path of recovery from the heavy blows of imperialistic pas...

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Heroes emerge everyday...Superstars rise every week....Legends appear every month...Greats are found every year.Whether all those who emerge,rise,appear,found are really worth being a hero,superstar, legend, great is the kind of question  that should not be asked.These days anyone who taste success is given a title and are made celebrities overnight.Like instant coffee instant celebrities have become so common.Branding has never been so worse as it is today...Seeing this naturally you tend to ask,"Who is a real hero or a superstar and what it takes to be one".It also makes us ask what exactly is the difference between all these terms like celebrity,hero, superstar etc(If being exceptional is the only common criteria then why do we have lot of terms?).With these confusions it is mighty hard for someone to identify real heroes and genuine superstars hidden in the star packed celebrity world.When these questions surfaced I thought for a while and the outcome is this post...

Many think that history is just a chronicle or a record of  past events.But its not, it is a collective knowledge gained through experiences of various individuals, communities, cultures and countries.History is tantamount to a reference manual laced with examples and illustrations which can act as one's guide during the times of adversities and dilemma .It cautions us about the pits and falls along the journey and prevents us from repeating the same mistakes again.On those lines I looked up the history(as usual) and found couple of interesting characters from the Indian Epics that can answer the above questions.

The first of the character that I found interesting and proved relevant to the topic was Karna from Mahabharata.His has been a controversial character always(Even in the times he lived).If there is anyone in Mahabharata who had credentials to be the most  crucial personality next to Krishna then Karna must be qualifying purely on merits.He was a skilled archer,a wonderful human being known for his generosity towards the poor,needy and a person who exemplified loyalty.Even his decision to support Duryodhana is admired by many as that is based on the principles of loyalty,gratitude and the quality of valuing friendship more than anything.Even Krishna who was on Pandavas side acknowledges the fact that Karna was the best on any day,comparing anyone in two instances as follows.
**Once Krishna praises Karna in the Krukshetra battlefield and Arjuna questions that, for which krishna answers as follows.Krishna reminds Arjuna that, by having Krishna as his charioteer, Arjuna's chariot contains the whole weight of the universe and yet Karna is still able to rock it by the force of his arrows. When the battle is ended and multiple levels of divine protection are removed from Arjuna's chariot, it explodes into dust through the blows it has received. Arjuna realizes his mistake and praises Karna as well.**

Such is the mastery of Karna over archery in the times when Arjuna was called the ace archer.But for Lord Krishna's protection and Karna's promise to Kunti before the war, Karna has all odds in his favor to defeat the "Ace Archer" Arjuna.Not only  in warfare and skills but also as a person Karna was the best.Again Lord Krishna himself testifies that in another occasion.
Once during a conversation Krishna was saying that Karna is the best when it comes to helping the poor and his generosity is unmatched.He said that Karna is a soul who do not know something called denial and have not heard or uttered the word "No".Upon hearing this pandavas got infuriated and asked, "When our eldest brother has a name "Dharma" which means a person who is righteous and who is known for charity how can it be that Karna is the best in giving charity?.
Krishna thought for a moment and said that he will prove it to them by a competition.He said that,
"There is a challenge in this.If you are ready to take that up,I can prove What I said".Pandavas agreed. Krishna with his divine power created two mountains made up of gold and diamonds respectively.He placed a condition to pandavas that they must donate all gold and diamond  before the sunset.Pandavas accepted the challenge.
They started digging gold and diamond from the mountain and started giving to poor.Few hours passed half of the people in city have received gold and diamond but yet the mountains never seemed to decrease in size.On the contrary it grew more big.Pandavas did not give up.They distributed gold,silver to the entire city and even to the near by cities but the much the mountain was carved the more it grew in size.
Some more hours passed.The sun traversed to the west and was making arrangements to disappear down the horizon.Pandavas realized that its not possible and gave up.They accepted their defeat to Krishna.
Then Krishna asked someone to bring Karna from his palace.Karna came. Krishna greeted him and told him that he has a challenge for him. Karna said he was ready.Krishna placed his conditions about donating the entire mount gold and diamond before sunset.Karna  readily accepted.
The sun was about to go down.Pandavas were convinced that it is impossible and got ready to see Karna's defeat.Karna went and had a look at the enormous mountains.He called couple of beggars who were standing in the street side.He told them,"Hey,You take the gold mountain and you take the diamond mountain".After that he simply walked away. The challenge was met.Pandavas were shocked and were awestruck by Karna's generosity.
Krishna cleared his throat.Pandavas lowered their heads.Krishna told,"See,I did not mean to belittle you.What Dharma doing is great and he rightly deserves the name given to him.But Karna is a noble soul and giving to others is in his blood.Its not a sin to be not like Karna,you all did what a normal human being will do.But he is a class apart.He did not weigh the status of people who got charity from him and the donation was never on what they deserve.When he gives he gives everything without a measure.He did not think the man who gets mountains of gold and diamond will become richer than him.That is what makes him great.".Pandavas accepted the fact and said Krishna was right.

Such was his greatness.Even though he was tormented with remarks for not knowing his origin and people's remark that he could not be a archer as he is not a Kshatriya he maintained his composure. He forgives Kunti and treats her well even after all these sufferings meted out to him because of Kunti's decision to abandon him when he was a child.And that is the beauty of this character. He has been a complete human being and a true noble soul setting example in friendship, in being a good son,a great benefactor,someone who forgives any sin and a skilled archer notches above but yet he is not recognized as much as he has to be.

The second of the characters that I am taking up for this analysis is Urmila from the Epic Ramayana. Unlike Karna this character needs a big introduction as she is one of the most underrated and unfamiliar characters. Karna's case in a way was better where he was only denied approval but he was fairly recognized by  all.But Urmila has not even that on her side even though she has every right to be easily one of the noblest character in Ramayana.Let me give a fitting introduction and proceed.Urmila,who is considered a great painter, is the younger sister of Sita.She was married to Lakshmana.Urmila being Sita's sister carries that same legacy of being a completely devoted and dedicated woman to her husband.

The world knows and appreciates Sita's virtues,her values,her sacrifices and her sufferings.But less has been spoken about Urmila's which were worth admiring as much as sita's traits.The line of selfless sacrifices start from Rama's exile.When Rama was asked to go into exile sita says she will accompany him.Sita says,"To me Ayodhya is the place where Rama is".She makes her own choice. Lakshmana also decides to accompany Rama and  goes to his wife to inform this.Urmila is painting the picture of crowning ceremony of Rama when Lakshmana arrives.Out of excitement Lakshmana calls her name loudly and Urmila spills the colors over the painting.The painting gets spoiled. Even then she did not loose temper.

Then Lakshmana says his decision.Here he is not asking her opinion but simply informs the news without leaving her a choice.Even then she rejoices and says that he has done the right thing and the service to Rama and Sita is very important.She doesn't get upset that her husband has taken a decision with out her consent which is going to affect her for the next 14 years.More importantly she never shed a drop of tear which women drops in liters in these kind of situations.(A woman without tears?..Something wrong with the design of this woman ..Some manufacturing defect? :P).Not stopping with all this,She extracts a promise from Mr.Lax that he should not think about her during exile which will hamper the service that he is supposed to do to Rama.(I know its too much of stuff..But see there was really such a human being more importantly a woman alive long back.. :P).
Continue reading the rest here @  Part-2 :Who is the hero?

**Content from Wikipedia.org
There is a myth that Lakshmana has not slept for the entire breadth of 14 years of exile for the sake of guarding Rama and Sita.He is called "Urangavili" in Tamil which means a man who never sleeps(close to that meaning and not exact ).If you are amazed at this fraternal devotion and have high words for him just save some because not only Lakshmana but his wife Urmila also did not sleep for those 14 years.Her thinking was that when her husband toils and spends the night sleepless how can she sleep in the comfort of a palace bed.A guy in forest waking up all night is logical but how much it is necessary for a woman to be awake since her husband is awake.I mean there is no necessity for that.Her sacrifices stays the same even if she doesn't wake up all night.But yet she was all awake for 14 years which shows her devotion towards her better half who on the other hand thought less about her and dedicated himself to the service of his brother. I mean to give love without receiving it and loving someone without any expectations is a noble quality.

And the best part is,after the exile Lakshmana falls into a deep sleep of 14 years.Even Urmila too falls into such a sleep that lasted for 14 years compensating 14 years of sleeplessness. Almost a good 28 years passed because of her husband's decision and yet the women never complained.That way she was a symbol of patience and sacrifice.She lived a life of a woman with no personal choices who never placed any restrictions on her husband citing his obligations and duties.Her choices were never on her own will but always it was in the thinking of common good and the welfare of others. Had she made a sentimental drama with tears asking her husband not to leave with Rama then there would have been no Ramayana itself. She is a kind of woman that you see only once in a millennium.(Generally I say no girl is up to my mark and all that and a guy should never go behind a girl but if I ever see a girl with at least half the qualities of this woman I would do anything to win her heart..Even falling at her feet would not be a bad idea I say..:P )

So what is the moral of the story?.What these characters show us?..When I see them I note these things in them.Self-sacrifice and the approach of putting other's interest and common good over their personal interest are the two traits that are accentuated when these two are brought to memory.As a person they are easily one of the best and complete in the respective epics but then they are not celebrated . Reason can be that there are some points that prove negative and less vital. In Karna's case its the simple question of What he stood for?.He might be noble, generous, skilled and all that but his decision to associate himself with evil blotted out his chances to get what he deserved.I think this is the good example where reason behind  matters than what is done.What you stand for matters. Simply,the reason behind your actions is more important than what you do.On the other hand Urmila's  character is not seen as it should have since Sita and her sufferings which were the direct cause for a bigger purpose, that is  killing of Ravana, overshadows Urmila's sacrifices.Sita's kidnap directly infuriated Rama which led to Ravana's killing.This killing was a part of big plan and Urmila did her small part.Did her part in the best possible way.

This says that the world by and large looks at someone through what they have accomplished and weighs them based on that.Those accomplishment makes few people familiar and when that admiration goes a notch up superstars with massive following are created. On the other hand there are few other people ,like Karna and Urmila,who do not accomplish or be the direct cause of bigger cause but yet noted and admired for their qualities.They are respected or deserve respect for what they are than what they do.These people can be called heroes who are complete individuals with all the noble qualities.

Many a times you do not have control over what happens.People have a destiny to fill out and not everyone's is big and not everyone is destined to be part of bigger cause.As a matter of fact we do not control over accomplishing big things and be a superstar or legend.On the other hand to be good and noble as a person is entirely up to us and possible for everyone, which means anybody can be a hero.It is also obvious that heroes are not the ones hogging limelight and be in the thick of things.Often real heroes are obscured and remain unseen and unknown.Recognition and familiarity has nothing to do with heroism.In that regard even a housewife who sacrifices her ambitions,desires  and likings for the benefit of the family which is not recognized by anyone even in her family is a hero.

Heroes are not people who do stunts and utter punch dialogs or the ones who are successful or who earns lot of money.But the people who are noble,sacrifice personified and do things that normal human beings don't.In short heroes are the people who may not make it to the pages of  history but surely they make it to the hearts of people(however small in number)..

Another thing that we can learn is that Sacrifice is the biggest virtue and self-sacrifice for the common good is mother of all virtues and noble deeds.And people who does that also called or should be called heroes.Its important to see qualities and what people do when admiring and branding people.Not that every one who taste success and fame are heroes.Remember even superstars may not be heroes.I mean there may be people who accomplish great things without having great qualities.You know God is a kinda freak who sometimes messes up things to make funny things happen.So anything is possible.And when branding we have to be careful.Finally,who you are makes you a hero and what you do makes you a superstar or a legend.

There is a dialog in Batman begins movie which goes like that "Its not who you are underneath But what you do that defines you".Here I would like to defy that and say What you are underneath makes you a hero and what you do makes you what you are in other's view.In my opinion being a hero is more important than being a hero.All others who do not have any noble qualities or who do accomplish things but manage to get fame somehow are just CELEBRITIES. They are like meteorites that light up the sky for a moment and fall down,they are not like a sun or moon that lasts through .

Its been long that I blogged and obviously I had a lot to say,hence the lengthy post.Tried hard to keep it short but could not do anything.I have been writing this for a long time and ended up getting an impression that it was not  ready for publishing and it lacks something.But along the way I learnt that seeking perfection is not going to help and decided to post it with what I have managed.Even now I feel I have not told what I exactly wanted to say..Its kinda close but not the exact.I had few other things written for the post which I had to edit coz of the length.Had they been included it would have conveyed what I wanted to convey..By the way hope you enjoy it and good enough to give it a read... 

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

The gala event is over..The  fuss,the fading glitters,the never ending hypes,the manic following,the relentless coverage on TV and the very meager cricket amidst all these that has been played over the past two months is over.But the controversies have not,they are yet to cease.Instead of disappearing they are looming into life out of proportion. The controversies, started even before the schedule and venues were decided for IPL-4 when the charges against Lalit Modi shook the very foundation of the league and then it peaked into an interesting episode in the form of the threats and show-cause notices to terminate two franchises(Kings Eleven and Royals) and finally ending with an only attention worthy "Club Vs Country" controversy(Courtesy Gautham Ghambir whose case blew it).

Thousands of articles have been written,hundreds of experts have dissected the mechanics and analyzed , many trending debates have been seen over the net and in forums about the IPL,the riches it gifts people involved,the exposure to small time cricketers,the opportunity for local boys to learn and adopt other cricketing cultures followed by international players,the amount of revenue it generates etc.But sadly none have pointed out or cared about one very important thing,"What it does to the game of cricket".And this article is an attempt to record my thoughts on that.More precisely my analysis is going to be on the lines of  "What IPL does to Indian Cricket?".

Perhaps the answer to the first question may be very easy.What IPL does to the game of cricket is...Well,simply nothing.There is a notion that,Test cricket is the ultimate testing ground for a cricketer and that the test cricket is for men and ODI cricket is for boys.The real value,talent and skill of a player is brought to the fore mostly in test matches.But later when T-20,ODI cricket's cousin sister, was given birth ODI cricket looked more sane and sensible.It was readily accepted that T-20's are virtual harassment of cricket and all it takes to play T-20's is a good pair of eyes and a strong arm to swing the bat blindly at anything hurled at you.You do not really require any real skills and there is no such thing called class,elegance in that form.I would say,It is a mere circus,a glittering crowd pulling spectacle acted by the untamed, aggressive, adrenaline pumped big-hit hunger cricketers..

If T-20 is a circus then what about IPL?..Can I find a fitting analogy?.Difficult but yet let me try that... Take cricket.Abuse it to the core,curse it badly,rape it,stab it crazily,poison it,hang it and then shoot it with a machine gun.After that make it stand before a canon and shoot it and then launch a missile on it.Finally whatever remains of cricket can be called as IPL Cricket.This might look a bit too harsh but  people who considers cricket as an elegant,graceful sport something like an art form will find sense in the above.The excerpt from an article,"In Sachin's country" by Wright Thompson, an American author, can attest what I say about the artistry.

We sit in the lower bleachers, the entire circle of green in front of us. An Australian player muscles a ball toward the boundary.  Some Aussie hits are seen as gauche. Kumar clucks disapprovingly. I ask why?. Old-school cricket fans don't like it when players cross the bat. It's vulgar. The ball should be hit in the direction from which it's pitched.
"You are to play gracefully," Kumar says, "and give respect to the ball."
Have you ever heard that something "isn't cricket"? That's where the phrase comes from. To cross the bat isn't cricket. Sehwag crosses the bat. Constantly. He wants bombs. Fours and sixes. Sehwag revels in his vulgarity. Tendulkar, although a big hitter, plays with an old school respect. Kumar loves Sachin.
"Grace has a place," Kumar says.

It also seemed to have been understood by the fact that most of the players gets applause but not recognition when they succeed in IPL cricket.So that is that,T-20 is vulgar and IPL is nothing more than an act of vulgarizing the vulgarity.Let us come to the next part of What IPL does to Indian criket...
 A competition where Talent meets opportunity
These are the exact words engraved in Sanskrit on the new IPL-4 trophy.The lines are fancy,they are good but I am clueless on what they refer to talent and opportunity here.In Indian cricket talent and opportunity are the words that doesn't/couldn't sit together in a single sentence.When Chris Gayles, Pollards,Malingas,Gilchrists,Sachins and Dhonis dominate the scene in IPL how can one talk about talents(I mean new) meeting opportunity.

Emphasizing only on the counteraction to the Zee Entertainment owned Rebel ICL league, the BCCI has pathetically failed to focus on and care about one-most-important aspect ,that is the purpose of the Indian Premier League when forming it.The conceptualization doesn't seem insightful and thoughtful,on the contrary it looks like the entire idea has been imitated from English Premier League.The auction and franchise model makes it more evident.You can have foreign players play in IPL but I don't think the total lack of local flavor and sluggishness in promoting local players is a good idea.I mean I am from Chennai and I wouldn't feel connected to CSK when only two or three player from Tamil Nadu plays in the team.It makes the spectator think that it is just a competition of franchises and there is no point in supporting a team based on locality.They say that there is a drop in TV viewership for IPL this year.Why wouldn't it be?.Given the above reasons and a really tiresome activity of seeing a tournament for two long months comprising 70 odd matches will be boring when the world-cup itself is a short and slick 40 day affair .Does IPL has lot of spice than a world-cup to sustain for 2 months that too every year?.I don't think so.

In another perspective  what is the point of spending billions on something that doesn't help in building raw local talents.One may argue that it provides financial gains to the extent that a player can earn a money of two long years of  playing Ranji trophy in just one IPL season.But is it about money?.I would also like to mention Sanjay manjrekar's article Thank God for IPL on those lines.I guess the idea is like selling your kidney to pay for the charge of dialysis.Too stupid.In a way ICL was good in unearthing talents and brought some youngsters to the fore like R.Sathish,Ali Murtaza,Ambati Rayudu and few others whereas except Pragyan Ojha,Ravindr Jadeja(if he can be called one) I don't think IPL was really successful in finding new talents.It just made few cases of very established domestic players like Badri,Ashwin for the selection to the national team strong.(That in my opinion was bad where one good season of IPL does what 27 convincing Ranji 100s can not do..Is IPL so damn high grade?.. )..May be they can engrave in the trophy as "A competition where the talents warm the bench" as I see youngsters (like Abhinav Mukund,Pujara) are warming benches as substitutes.

If local unexposed talents in IPL suffers this kind of challenges then the established lot faces a different problem.Already the players of the national side are stuffed with too much cricket all year round and making them play IPL only adds to the burden.One may say that they can opt out and take rest but given the amount of money they have been bought for their franchise would not allow it and they should be in the fray to see through the race to national side and make some quick money(not everyone endorses 50 brands at a time earning millions by advertisements).This just leads to a dilemma of Club Vs country. Even though the players commitment to cricket can not be questioned it's creepy that IPL is given importance by a player.For instance Virender sehwag, Zaheer khan,Gautham Ghambir,Sachin have been frequented by injuries where they missed part of SA Test/ODI series before world cup,if that is the case why should they play IPL. Especially someone like Zaheer who is very critical in test victories of late.This approach doesn't look like a good sign to Indian cricket.

Finally after all that only one party is found to be guilty i.e BCCI. Their allegation on Ghambir was funniest of all as BCCI is the governing council of both Indian cricket and IPL. Their poor management and outright money mindedness has resulted in all this fuss.God save Indian cricket.Corruption has penetrated deep into the roots of every system and this cricketing administration is no exception.The best part is India is the financial super power of cricket and still the infrastructure is too poor.If you compare an Australian or South African cricket ground to Indian grounds you will know the difference.A slight drizzle will expose the kind of ground maintenance in the country.With all the money they generate they can improve the standards of grounds, build a strong domestic structure etc  but sadly nothing of that has been done.In short the administration is at its worst best.

Not only that,the act of asking ICC a separate window for IPL is too much.Since you have money it doesn't mean that you can control anyone.From my point of view the ICC should not budge as IPL is not an international event.These atrocities are to the extent that they shifted the IPL when the Indian govt asked them to postpone the event citing public election in 2009.What Mr.Modi did was,he gave a heroic punchline that IPL will never stop and shifted it to South Africa.I don't know who gives that much power to him to deny a government proposal and go against it and importantly how it was tolerated.I am tempted to say that government should take over BCCI as the Indian team is a representation of the country and not a private organization.But when you think of Suresh Kalmadis and the likes you tend to scare even to think about that.

Finally the IPL governing body should take a leaf out of EPL. Once in 2008 the state of the sport was such in England that not even the likes of Beckhams and Wayne Rooneys could help England qualify for the Euro championships in 2008. Neither have England Won or went close to wining the FIFA world cup in the past decade or so.If EPL is one such high grade tournament then picking one very best player from each EPL team would have made a dream team for England which can never loose.But the scenario was totally opposite. EPL has been only successful in bathing the players with dollars,hell lot of it,to the extent that successful Footballer in England is stereotyped to ride a Flashy Ferrari with a babe on his side who leads a very luxuries life as if football was a source of income than a honor and pride. IPL in a sense has a very good chance of going in EPL way if people at helm do not wake up.

When you think of all this you learn one thing.Money is a demon and when people starts going behind that it spoils every fiber of morals and every ethics especially it is very dangerous for an art form or sport. Commercialism is the biggest enemy to grace,class and art. In this context BCCI's act of IPL is synonymous to a snake trying to eat its tail,an act of self-destruction.In short IPL has been nothing more than a place where big shots launders their black money,an event where horses are overlooked for donkeys,a form of cricket where commercialism rules than the real game spirit.If there is anything that can be done I would suggest in compacting the event and make it play for every two years or something where players would not have to switch allegiances between the club and country. A stat from federation of International players says that 40 % of players said that they would skip national duty for IPL.Wake up call for the cricketing fraternity if they don't want make cricket sleep forever...

Bottomline:You can say IPL is something that "isn't cricket" in Wright Thompson's words...
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