Thursday, 20 December 2012

Flight of Foreign Fancy

This is a column I wrote for the September edition of the Youth Incorporated magazine.I'm reproducing it here .The original can be read at the Youth Inc website.

A number of recent events stand as evidence of our constant need for approval from foreign media. Nisarg Kamdar delves further into this national obsession

While replication is considered to be the best form of flattery, merely plagiarising without application of one’s mental prowess is plain cretinous. The syndrome seems to be fast overpowering a major section of the Indian media and consumers. While the foreign media industry has for ages wielded a disproportionate amount of influence on our internal functioning, this recent ass worshipping borders on servility and obsequiousness.
Who’s the Underachiever?
Take the recent Time magazine cover, which managed to raise a storm. Hours of television programming and oceans of ink were devoted to analyzing a cover labeling Manmohan Singh as an ‘Underachiever’. Senior ministers elevated it to a pedestal by issuing rebuttals, which is surprising when juxtaposed with their contemptuous dismissal of incisive and indicting reporting by national magazines. The juvenile tit-for-tat from the Outlook Magazine points to the importance awarded to insipid commentary as long as it originates from the Western Hemisphere.
The one with Narendra Modi on the cover was interpreted as a stamp of approval and his supposed eligibility for the high post of India’s Prime Minister. What baffles me is this constant craving for approval from the foreign media at the expense of the public at large.

Why do we require all our prime ministerial candidates to be vetted by those who at best have a passing interest in our country?
Why does an op-ed in the New York Times send the government and the media into a tizzy, while informative and erudite commentary back home rarely rises beyond a passing mention?
How difficult is it grasp that the media of every country functions with the aim to promote the interests of the country rather than with the interests of India at heart?
The Economic Coma
Unfortunately, it is not just the political class that seems to base its decisions on portrayal by foreign institutions. The Indian media too seems to have joined the bandwagon.Rather than choose to chart out an independent path based on enlightening commentary and protecting the interests of the proletariat, it seems to have lapsed into a coma, parroting western thought and economic policies adopted by the international media.
The verbose breast beating which lines our dailies is cringe worthy. The absence of critical analysis and rational thinking is apodictic. Stories seem to be based primarily on commentary by the international media rather than a fact based observation on the travails of India.
In the absence of indigenous and ingenious thought, India has been bulldozed into following half-baked ideas, which have in turn fuelled this great disparity between the masses in the country.
The media, along with the executive, the legislature and the judiciary are the four pillars on which democracy takes safe refuge. In many ways, it is the most essential ingredient of any democracy. Its malfunctioning can be catastrophic for the country. As a bastion of free thought and guarded skepticism, the inability to preserve free thinking has been manifested in a decaying and regressive society.
Abhishek Karandhikar, second year engineering student offers an acerbic take, “With an economy down in the dumps, increasing distrust in our markets by foreign investor, and a collective feeling of not belonging to the ‘developed world’ and failing to compete with China, our media, which almost essentially is a political entity now, is clinging to the 15 minutes of fame we get for free.”

Social Sector
The majority of the country is aware of some of the diabolical and egregious social diseases that persist and perpetrate in India. It is more or less a defining theme of our Sunday newspaper spreads and that infected portion of our body which we have chosen to severe rather than cure.
But with alarming regularity and tedious predictability, there is a chorus of outcry the moment a Guardian decides to take up the cudgels in the fight for social equality. Responses range from defensive retorts and inability to swallow the truth to sympathetic tweets and Facebook statuses. Rarely does either translate into ground level action.
The trouble is why do equally erudite, if not more, reports armed with incisive statistics and illuminating facts in local dailies not arouse the same urge for change which a Guardian report my initiate?
Should every fact be reinforced by the supposed purveyors of journalistic ethics for it to finally register?

‘Meaningful’ Cinema
Unsurprisingly, the entertainment industry and its offshoots have been caught up in the same rot.
Rather than cater to the audience, serve up intelligent produce replete with takes on Indian idiosyncrasies and home grown ideas, they are designed to educate and entertain everyone but Indians.
An award at the Cannes Film Festival is all what matters, not the content or lack of that. Somehow, in this age of claptrap nonsense, scheming PRs have managed to categorize anything which gets an award at an international film festival as ‘offbeat’ and ‘meaningful’ cinema, when there is far better regional and national programming, who choose to avoid climbing on to this gravy train .
The idea that anything endorsed by a chimp sitting in Paris is far better than local produce is defeating, degenerate and regressive. Unfortunately, most Indians fall for such silly marketing exercises, in turn failing to appreciate and enjoy far better quality entertainment just because they weren’t rubber stamped by the likes of the Wall Street Journal.

Free Thinkers
A country is defined by its idiosyncrasies, its peculiarities and it’s tough process. Unless we break out of our feudal mind-set, I fear that we still remain imprisoned and our cognition still incarcerated, 65 years after gaining independence.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

A Question of Morals?

There has been a lot of stink raised over the past month on what is seen as a concerted attempt by the government to impinge upon the constitutional freedoms accorded to every citizen and resident of this country. The two prominent incidents that have gained a lot of traction, especially in the media are ‘Internet censorship’ and the ‘Mumbai Police Social Service branch’ headed by the rather infamous Vasant Dhoble. While both have seen the spurt of spontaneous protests, more pronounced in the virtual world, Dhoble’s actions seem to have fomented the more vitriolic of reactions. And while the amount of claptrap circulating on various media forums is certainly amusing, I’m going to attempt to pare off at the media smokescreen and make a case on some basic facts. Though I must swiftly introduce a clarification: The idea of this piece is not to pick sides nor attempt a black-or-white classification. Like every aspect of human life, this area too retains shades of gray.
Anti-Dhoble Hype?
Vasant Dhoble, assistant
commissioner of Mumbai police, head of the Mumbai Police Social Service branch, is a hockey stick wielding cop who claims to be waging a war with the nefarious elements of society. His detractors, though, choose to paint him as a megalomaniac who seems to be hell bent, enforcing his parochial moral compass on jolly members of the society. While the lacunae are Dhoble’s mode of functioning has certainly been highlighted, the positive offshoots of his drive have been unceremoniously ignored.
For instance, a team of the Social Service branch, led by Dhoble, on the June 25th, 2012, raided a massage parlour ‘Shy Lee’ in Powai and rescued seven girls who had been allegedly forced into the flesh trade. People who live in Mumbai are aware of the underground sex trade and child labour industry that flourishes under the nose of the authorities. In such light, Dhoble’s actions functioning under whatever motive certainly deserve appreciation.
Another instance bandied around while tearing into Dhoble, is an incident involving a popular suburban roadside eatery, Amar Juice Centre, near Cooper Hospital in Juhu. Living and studying in the vicinity of this social menace, I’ll recount a firsthand account of the brash and disgraceful functioning of this establishment.
An illegal installation, it’s the talk of the town for breaking laws with impunity and subsequently the blatant bribing of officials. Encroaching upon the footpath, setting up tables and chairs on the roadside, functioning late into the night with nonexistent hygiene standards, local bodies describe it as nothing but an absolute nuisance. Serpentine queues of cars align themselves along this very street, as waiters prance around the streets serving patrons in their cars, unmindful of the major traffic snarls it causes and the sound pollution that occurs right outside one of the city’s integral civic hospitals.
So it comes as no surprise then, when local residents and social activity groups from around the city have expressed their unequivocal support for the Social Service Department’s latest drive.
Dhoble’s credentials and previous service record hardly inspires confidence, but his drive to check such anti-social elements should be appreciated.
Licensing laws are in place based on sound reason and breaking them is unacceptable and contrary to the tenets of the law. The results of unlicensed activity on our streets can find the form of underage drinkers acting unsociably close to where we live and degenerate elements mushrooming across the city, fuelling alcoholism and drug addiction, two of the major concerns for modern India. So when a posh pub is hauled up for certain violations, it’s part of the larger design. Stipulations are put in to avoid overcrowding to ensure the greater safety of the patrons as they party into the night. In case of a fire or any other accident, such limitations aid in ensuring rescue operations as well as help in minimising the damage. Too often, the local disco is crammed with people, leaving hardly any space to swing around freely.
As far as the implementation of archaic laws go, some dating back to nearly a century, it’s for the legislators to take notice of the constantly evolving social parameters and respond with adequate supervision. Ambiguities of the law need to be clarified to ensure the executive branch that the police do not function like unchecked mafias.

Internet Clampdown
On a very distinct note from the above actions, no reasonable justifications can be offered for the actions of the Department of Telecom led by the virtual world’s favourite clown, Kapil Sibal and the band of ISPs (Internet Service Providers).
What began with the bulging number of yearly requests to Google ( transparencyreport/removals/ government/IN/) to pull down content from its various sites and search results, has now degraded to the blocking of file and video sharing websites.
It is pertinent to note that India holds the ‘numero uno’ spot when it comes to government-made content removal requests to Google. The rather unsettling part of this statistic is that out of the 101 requests made, only six were backed by court orders. The rest were made at the behest of the police and government. This seems to be an extension of the government’s plans to put in place a regulation under the pretext of checking blasphemous content, a move that is widely perceived as an attempt to curtail our freedom of speech and muffle the voices of discontent that have found a safe haven on the Internet.
Luckily for us, Google and Twitter have shown some fight and refused to cave in to the irrational demands made.
But what irks me the most is the Madras High Court ‘John Doe’ order, which was misinterpreted by the ISPs to pull down legitimate file sharing websites like Vimeo and certain torrent websites, which had been offering their co-operation in tackling piracy.
While piracy is certainly a legitimate and apodictic problem, it needs to be dealt with regard and respect for the legal file sharing operations that the website facilitates, ensuring that the interests of the other users are taken into account. Such arbitrary blocking is counterproductive; it contrives against the basic principles of the Internet and calls into question the authorities intentions.
India’s Internet freedom has now been called into question and unless we citizens wake up to check this insidious activity, we’ll be regressing to darker times. It’s depressing to see how many of us have become blasé to the idea of Internet censorship. Recently, an anonymously organized protest was held in Mumbai, where a measly crowd of twenty attended the event. The government’s surreptitious actions, coupled with the amendments to the IT Act 2000, have been looked upon with deep suspicion by the virtual community. The need of the hour is to educate the common public about these fairly oppressive notifications. The scrutiny and the eagle-eyed surveillance of the public at large is the only leash that can keep the government in check.

This is a column I wrote for the August edition of Youth Incorporated Magazine.I'm reproducing it here.The original can be read at this address.

Friday, 10 August 2012

The Young and The Comatose

The problem is the indifferent attitude of the youth towards their government and election process. Young people just don’t want to vote,” expressed Dr S Y Quraishi, Chief Election Commissioner.
The youth have often been touted as the beacon that will guide the country through the tumultuous period of strain that accompanies a nation’s acceleration from a developing to a developed country. The very premise on which the aspirations of a billion people are based is in the vigour and vitality of a youthful demography.
The 300 million golden figure is quoted instantly, aspersions are cast on the sustainability of the country or the preposterous theories are punctured. In this atmosphere of superfluous positivity, why do the youth depart for a weekend jamboree at the nearest tourist spot at the scent of an approaching election? Why do we still register dismal figures at the polling booth irrespective of it being a local, state or national election?
At first glance, it appears to be an open and shut case. It displays the apathy and the callousness of the youth when it comes to upholding the basic pillars of our democracy and exercising the right to vote enshrined by the constitution. It displays contempt for the parliamentary democracy and failure to recognise that the democracy is still in an extremely nascent and susceptible state of inception. It requires to be fortified by incubation in the temple of political engagement, activism and liaison.
Jay Mehta, a 20-year-old engineering student chooses to differ. “Maybe it’s because today’s youth is tired of the endless fighting, corruption and inefficiency, which has become the hallmark of Indian politics. We see the same promises delivered to us every election and the inability or the unwillingness of our leaders to fulfil the same,” he says. But shouldn’t that spur on the youth to elect someone who is reputable and can be trusted with their future? He retorts, “I think that the Indian youth today is simply bored of politics and this is on display when you see that many educated, college-going youth don’t even know the names of India’s President and Prime Minister. I think in order to get the youth interested in politics, there should be a revamp of the entire political system and it should be ensured that the promises made by the leaders should be delivered. For instance, a young IPS officer was killed when he tried to stop illegal mining. Instead of catching the accused, the political parties began a blame game. If an IPS officer’s murder goes unpunished then what hope can there be for the rest of us.”
You have to concede to the final. In spite of union pressure, the legal system laboriously plods along making the idea of any kind of enforceable and effective justice redundant. The shocking thing is when youth, speak of refurbishing the system exactly whom do they expect to do that? The politicos? Wasn’t that precisely what the youth were designated to do?
Siddarth Chandrasekaran makes a pithy observation, “Even I’ve been very perplexed by the situation. We go out on the streets in hordes when Anna wants us to. But not to vote!”
However, many try to hide behind the garb of procedure and the struggle it takes to procure a voter’s ID card.
Says Russel Shah, “The government must incentivise voting and streamline the procedure of registering to vote rather than making us run from one desk to another,” resonating most of the country’s youth.
Vrushali Ambedkar lands a stinging rebuke, “When you turn 18, no one lands up on your doorstep offering you a voter’s card but most of us still have it, don’t we? No one’s going to lay down the red carpet to ‘incentivise’ voting. The biggest incentive is a wellgoverned country where your rights are respected.”
Least to say, the political class is enjoying this display of sloth from the young change makers.
The closer you look, the more stark the problem appears. Statistics reaffirm our instincts. The voting percentage (from the registered youth voters) has been consistently a couple of notches below the national average. In fact, studies have shown that there is no discernible youth identity in the way India votes. Locality and gender reign supreme even when it comes to the youth voting trends. The lack of a radical political alternative by the youth who are perennially sobbing at political ostracism is keenly felt.
One author, with delightful candour, calls the Indian youth ‘The generation in coma’. They are wiser words from which we’ll do good to seek the underlying message. As we move away in an attempt to grasp the wider context, it seeps in that this isn’t necessarily an India-centric problem and it would be fair to say many developed nations have been acute victims too.
Canada has been recording a steady decline in youth voting figures and they tend to blame it on the trust deficit and lack of political astuteness, which has led to disillusionment among the youth.
A study by a US-based organisation shows that the major reason why the youth tend to skip voting is the lack of faith in the impact their vote can have. Its stupefying because it’s a well documented fact that in 2000, the presidential election in America was decided by a mere 537 people.
“Voting is not seen as a part of transition to adulthood by students,” the 2009 Youth Electoral Study (YES) stated. “Attending ‘schoolies’, obtaining a drivers license and leaving school are all far more important rites of passage. This is the root cause of the problem. The fundamental lacunae are the inability to value the right of enfranchisement. As highlighted by Richard Neimi, “political ideas—like the consumption of cigarettes and hard liquor—do not suddenly begin with one’s eighteenth birthday.”
Studies also draw light to the fact that the younger generation fails to see a direct connect between how their life pans out and which direction they vote. This dampens the motivation to vote. There is this school of thought that the political establishment hasn’t sought to attract the youth to the voting booth. While certainly a lot of media chatter has been bandied around, lack of concrete actions with specific reference to education and other issues concerning the youth can be a major thrust behind this disenchantment.
At the same time, the political class is happy at the lack of enthusiasm among the youth for they can continue in its march towards a veritable basket case.
Voting is a beautiful and rare thing. We are fortunate to have the right to vote. At the same time, it’s a responsibility and a commitment to your own future. Around the Gulf, you see people sacrificing their lives for the singular aim of a right to choose an adept government, a right we choose to disregard for the weekend getaway. As one political commentator so famously stated, ‘If you don’t vote, then, shut up.’
The time is still not lost. We’re passing through a unique moment in a country’s history where a majority of its demographic is full of youthful endeavour, vigour and vitality. Let’s fulfil the promise we carry rather than being relegated to being nothing but the ‘lost generation.

Monday, 16 July 2012

East vs West

This is a column I wrote for the July edition of the Youth INC magzine.I'm reproducing it here .The orignal can be read at the Youth Inc website.

Gandhiji was once asked rather innocently by a Western reporter on what he made of the culture of the West. He replied with uncharacteristic wit and levity, “It would be a good idea.”
As the cosmopolitan youth of India drift towards the attributes and idiosyncrasies of Western culture, these sarcasm-laced words are vividly drawn to the mind. Are we indeed progressing towards a more evolved, refined and sophisticated culture or have we set ourselves on the irreversible journey of self-destruction? Before I attempt to critically analyse this metamorphosis, let me introduce a disclaimer. I am not a fanatic nationalist, nor do I yearn for a return to ‘the glory days of the old’. Sati and marital rape are two contentions a national debate on the polarities of the world finds itself stuck in. There exists veritable proof of the vicious aforementioned activities flourishing untrammelled in the heart of India. I find the concept of a globalised nation enticing and remain taken up by the allure of a just society rather than one undermined by the weak foundations of blind faith.

An inherent inferiority complex is an epithet apt for the Indian mentality. From all-pervasive colour, class and caste racism to the fascination with Caucasian looking skin, Indian society seems to have a perennial chipon- the-shoulder dilemma. From this derives the rotten myth, sadly more pervasive among the (semi-) educated classes, that anything with the stamp of Western approval transcends any superior indigenous examples of ingenuity.
While part of this comes from the urge of the elites to delineate themselves from the proletariats, who are limited to local produce by their scarce resources, another factor is also the manufactured deprecation and assumed inferiority of homegrown products. Vrushali Ambedkar, a first-year engineering student at DJ Sanghvi College of Engineering, contends that, “Indian culture has evolved over time. It’s unfortunate that people deliberately highlight the negative points to pull down a sound and civil culture. This is the proverbial ‘the grass is greener on the other side’ syndrome.” At times, it takes Western approval for us to respect our own roots!

Present circumstances, especially with economic liberalisation and the subsequent staggering growth, has certainly given Western culture its fair share of thrust. Western brands are a coveted treasure and have become household names in skyscraper dwellers and slums alike. The certain allure attached to them as objects of desire has captured a huge section of the middle class.
The peculiar aspect to note here is how elites drop brands if they move out of the bracket of exclusivity. Maybe this Western infatuation can be attributed to maintaining and fortifying social status by seeking to facilitate feelings of mystery and enigma, rather than any particular prejudice. The lack of signature status has certainly made a dent in local handicraft and fabric businesses.
But institutions have collectively worked to undermine and destabilise indigenous supremacy. Take the case of the traditional Indian beverage of a lassi, chaas or thandai being phased out for the highly nutritious local cola. This,in spite of the knowledge that Indian beverages like aam panna, jal jeera, thandai, lassi, chhanch or nimbu paani are prepared to beat the heat of the sultry Indian summer, and chai as well as the popular filter coffee to provide warmth during winters. But in our inexplicable concupiscence to imitate Western buffoons we have dismissed them as crass, asinine and inelegant, forsaking them for the pesticideinfested soft drinks.
The irony? Today, you have the average urban resident shelling out an exorbitant sum for a packaged bottle of that very ‘shoddy’ beverage packaged by the same cola maker, when he could consume the same for a pittance in the warm and gracious ensconce of his living room. Donkey’s have more common sense!
Another pertinent example is the running shoes gimmick. The Western barons made a fortune out of tricking the fitness freak clique into purchasing shoes at prices, which can mildly be described as extravagant. Then arrived the bummer. A front page story on a popular daily carried a report on the various health and fitness benefits of running bare foot rather than cuddled in those cretinous shoes, something long propagated by blaring clarions of our homeland. The benefits of running unshod, especially on sand, are well researched and documented. But why bother until a Western study with the stamp of some fancy university shines some light on the claptrap sitting in your very backyard? The pages might dry down; the examples could fill a bottomless barrel. Plonkers like me will cry themselves hoarse, oceans of ink will be spent breast beating but what remains is the study by that suave college down by the Thames.
As Abhishek Karandikar so lucidly puts it, “As for them being more civilised with regards to rigidly following civic rules, yes they lead by example. But the hypocrites that they are, can’t they follow the shining example of social behaviour they strive to enforce. Just to put things into perspective, how many times has the peace-loving Western world destroyed the homes of innocent people under the garb of peace keeping? They value freedom but unite to deprive other states of their sovereignty. This is not to say that the Eastern world is tolerant. But if your actions, words and thoughts are not exactly in sync, it is a sure-shot sign of complete lack of civility.”

Western sitcom broadcasts have become all the rage these days, what with many fanatical clubs springing up and the ‘wholesome’ entertainment they offer. Couple that with the morally disgusting Indian soap debacles and you have a potent cultural upswing here. Or is it?
While many hold Western broadcasts as superior programming with higher production values thus culminating in enhanced entertainment, they may argue that it’s a forum for a subliminal cultural push.
While they certainly free and unclutter thought, bereft of parochial considerations, something which we would do well to emulate, they have also sought to stand for excessive drinking, gambling, licentious and promiscuous behaviour- characteristics which get labelled as vices in civil societies.

We may litter our roads, pay bribes and honk incessantly. But these examples cannot qualify as proof of being ‘uncultured’. It’s not these attributes that define us, instead it is our values, our commitment to nonviolence and respect for freedom that highlight our culture. In the process of aping the West, let us hope not to lose out on these attributes. The sense of independence, which often borders on selfishness, is a trend that has travelled from the Western world into our borders. Despite living in a materialistic world with an enviable quality of life, many Westerners are running eastward to find meaning and peace in their fast-paced lives. They crave spiritual knowledge, appreciate Indian meditation techniques and the wisdom of our practices. Are we heading in the same direction towards a problem despite being blessed with its solution?

Abhishek weighs in again: “Civilisation is also about the extent of one’s development as a person. Many in the Eastern world can easily adapt to their languages and values. Civilisation is not a set code of conduct with competitions between others. It’s the assimilation of good values that allow mankind to progress without compromising on morals and conscience.” Siddarth Chandrasekaran attempts to straddle the fence saying,“Everyone wants change now. Westerners are trying to ape our lifestyles and we are living theirs. They love yoga, ayurveda, Indian classical music and we, Gucci, Armani and Kim Kardashian for that matter!”
Does this indulgence in a never ending eulogy of Indian cultural values masquerade the severe lack of morality felt in all spheres of life among those fanatically embedded in the very fabric that constitutes the widely paraded value system? Do we have the objectivity of selecting what qualities are worth adopting? Or will we be trapped in a cultural web and in the process lose our identity and weaken our roots? The jury’s still out.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Has the IPL hit its nadir?

This is a piece i wrote for the May edition of the Youth Incorporated magazine.Though a bit late, hope this reproduction here makes for a pleasant read.

Title: Has the IPL hit its nadir?

Intro: After the many low points the IPL has suffered over the past few years, Nisarg Kamdar asks if the brand worth billions will come shining through the present season

As the month of May draws to a close, so does the sportaintment carnival that IPL is. A two-month long cricketing jamboree, besprinkled with the extravagant elites and the glamorous Bollywood celebs to up the oomph factor, IPL has been a roller coaster ride with the troughs far outnumbering the crests.

The Origins

The provenance of the IPL is premised on the emergence of the rebel T20 cricket league – The Indian Cricket League. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) seeing the copious amounts of apostates in the domestic and veteran circuits ready to jump ships in the lure of heavier pockets, initially responded rather immaturely with severe sanctions.

Having now fully appraised the very threat to its iron grip on the reins of Indian Cricket, the BCCI through its maverick Vice President Lalit Modi responded with the IPL, a professional 20-20 cricket league, one that promised to be the glitziest of all sporting shindigs. The IPL quickly signed up some of the world’s greatest players onto its roster. With the delicate intrigue of the auction packaged with flamboyant owners, the IPL seemed a winner. The city-based formats whipped up the desired frenzy and the player auctions ensured top billing in the media. The mind-boggling sums of money did no harm to its burgeoning popularity in a country obsessed with figures. Player salaries skyrocketed. Cricket sycophants boasted that India now had a product that was comparable, at least financially, to the English Premier League. 

The Formative Seasons
The inaugural seasons of the IPL lived up to its billing. Brendon McCullum and the Kolkata Knight Riders exploded on to the stage when they hammered Vijay Mallya’s Royal Challengers Bangalore in the opener. The first season was capped by a cliff-hanger on the field where the underdogs, Rajasthan Royals beat Chennai Super Kings in a cliff-hanger of a finale.

The stellar level of cricket was well complemented/distracted by the enchanting bevy of beauties sensually grooving to the tracks belted out by international DJ's. Celebrity spotters had a field day; the IPL was one forum where the whole array ranging from the Bollywood star to the fading, decrepit socialite could find acceptance.

The fact that the sudden exposure to international shores – South Africa – in the second season, straight from the incubator back in India-caused no freckles and to the contrary enhanced the league’s reputation was testimony to the fact that the IPL had made the transition from a domestic tournament to a global athletic pursuit. The revitalised movement to sneak cricket into the Olympics gained further impetus.

The Grandest Stage of All
The IPL was fast being used to catapult into the senior national team from the innocent confines of the U-19 Indian team or local leagues. This springboard paid great dividends of the loyal toilers of the Ranji league who fail to attract attention in the monotone of domestic cricket.

Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Rahul Sharma , Ashok Dinda and Yusuf Pathan were a few who piggybacked from near obscurity to limelight on the back of strong and vigorous IPL display.

If you want to get acquainted with a pressure cooker situation, IPL is the place. IPL has sparked of a global breed of cricketers who are blasé in the face of daunting challenges or inflated expectations. They might be short on footwork and batting techniques but never devoid of self confidence and bullishness.

The chance to learn from cricketing legends is also unparallelled. Virat Kohli was sharing a dressing room with Jacques Kallis. John Buchanan , the coach who has won a hat trick of world cups, was imparting valuable words of wisdom to Ashok Dinda. The cricketer you idolised and modelled your game upon was now literally a request away. This amiable atmosphere helped nourish and mould some of the most prodigious talents in the game today.

Financial behemoth
The IPL in a way has been an embodiment of the stunning capitalist growth unravelling in the country. The mind-boggling numbers involved have given premium sports franchises a run for their money. It ensured windfall gains for the BCCI.

At the start of only it’s second season a report by a UK-based consultancy pegged the IPL’s worth at over $4 billion. The commodity has successfully found its own space in the world of clogged cricket calendars ensuring the biggest attraction at every season. Its popularity extends well beyond the peripheries of the cricket-crazy subcontinent .The various slavish leagues subsequently announced by other cricket boards is tribute to the ingenuity of the league.

It has sparked its own niche industry. The IPL has been mighty successful in making cricket a more acceptable game throughout the masses. While test cricket had a limited loyal base in the purists and the ODI appealed to the proletariat, the IPL

Controversy Magnet
The IPL has been the nursing home for several controversies, which have largely taken off the sheen of the league. The slapgate controversy was a poor example of sportsmanship and later trickled down to the festering ugliness in the Indian cricket team.

The late night after-match parties brought to notice the lascivious tone the league had adopted and brought the league serious public disrepute. The league has also been mired in financial scandals with serious allegations of tax evasions, money laundering and presence of nefarious elements in the ownership structure being levied. The Enforcement
Directorate has been on its case and with fresh revelations being made on a weekly basis, the league is certainly not deprived of bad press.

The unceremonious circumstances which not only pilloried a Union minister for State, Shashi Tharoor but also guillotined the League’s founder Chairman, Lalit Modi, called into question the league’s probity or lack of it. Allegations have been levelled on auctions being fixed, contracts been manipulated and illicit dealings. The Madras High Court has taken a strong stand on the issue and has made its displeasure clear at IPL being allowed to evade entertainment task under the guise of being public entertainment while tickets command at exorbitant rates.

The present IPL is a decisive and critical one. Now that the novelty has rubbed off, whether the league will be able to hold its own and still enchant viewers is of significant importance. The teams have had sufficient time to build up a loyal supporter and sponsor base. Whether the success of the Indian Cricket team at the international stage in anyway fuels the massive glory of the IPL will also be observed. What we can expect is a month and half of some slam bang cricket laced with appropriate amount of glamor and speculation to keep the tabloids happy.


The IPL is- at it's best- an extra-ordinary attempt to further exemplify the glory of the revolution cricket has turned out to be, in the last few decades. Following the footsteps of EPL, the IPL has turn ed out to be an extremely fascinating, entertaining phenomenon albeit on a slightly smaller footing. The thrill of T20 encounters, coupled with the explosive stadium atmosphere as well as the novelty involved in watching players from different countries team up together, all add up to make IPL one of the mega-events to look out for, every year!
It is sad however, to be a witness to the fact that Pakistan has been left out purely because of political reasons. Sports are a bridge towards better international relations, not a means to apply pressure. Same goes for the revelation of scams and money siphoning in the course of bidding. It brings to mind several doubts about India being ready to host a tournament of such mammoth proportions, money wise.
In terms of overall impact to the game, the IPL may have taken some sting out of classic international ODI or test series, but that is only a sign that we are gradually shifting to a newer paradigm. The 3 hour format of the game does impact the player's mindset drastically, but as a spectator, it's nothing better than wholesome entertainment. Maybe it's not too far-fetched to believe there will be more Mumbai Indians fans than Chelsea ones someday. Who knows!

Ipl has become an out and out business.Its pros are that it increased the international exposure for Indian players and even greater monetary gains and recognitions but it has all culminated down to a country v/s club debate which never ever existed before.....and even it has led to people retiring from longer versions of the game....people performing in ipl are given better opportunities as opposed to seasoned ranji players....if you don't have the attacking power you are just not considered.....test cricket is the only parameter to judge who a true batsman or bowler is not a twenty20 match....
with all its hype and fever i guess one day it will just take down the international arena to an all time low....which is not good for the sport...:(

Club-country dilemma has affected in a way that players have started performing for their respective
ipl teams and have underperformed on the international examples are malinga and rohit sharma....

As a fan it does bother me its alarming and quite saddening to see this downfall in terms of country matches.....
and football system is not preferable because its a different ball game and you cant merge all three forms of the game at club level...
-Russel Shah, First year engineering student

Friday, 4 May 2012


In what universe is this racist?
Aren't most of my countrymen dark skinned?
Doesn't majority of this country have an accent which some choose to describe as 'funny'?
Or has this just 'caused an existential crisis among the urban dwellers whose fascination with fair skin knows no bounds.
Have they been finally rid of their delusions they seemed to have developed by isolating themselves in Air Conditioned offices on the 36th floor of some lousy sky scraper while having their face smothered by the assorted bunch of fairness creams?
Personally the response has much more more undertones of racism than the stimulation.