Posted by: Tanmoy Chakrabarti | April 26, 2010


A big problem with India is it always gets a new issue to act as a big carpet to shove off other pressing issues. For the time being the IPL fiasco has acted like that big carpet. Whilst, I for one want the guilty being punished for that scam and for that matter any corporate scam but I am not so optimistic. History of conviction in such scams has made me cynical. There will be debates and arguments in television channels, followed by scrutiny in social gatherings of the urban population. However, one thing will remain constant – still nearly half a million population will find time and money to spend and watch the circus at grounds like Eden Gardens – day in and day out! Sadly, they will remain the naïve spectators who will spend their hard earned money so that the greedy can milk everyone. Like adulterated alcohol sold to habitual alcoholics causes mass death, similarly the cricket “loving” fans are dying in India because they are being served an adulterated product. I feel sad for the players. However, at the end of the day the stake holders – including the players should stand up and say- we will not stand corruption. Can they do that or would they choose to remain pawns? It is a kind of situation where if you are blind (and alcoholic) enough to even buy an adulterated product, why will not the seller sell it to you? Especially when the seller stands a chance not only to make more profit and also get away with corruption, if caught.

Cricket should not be the most important issue for our country as it is often made out to be. However, corruption should be. As I struggle to find out a news which talks of India making a striking invention in preventing cancer or India coming out with a new fuel efficient car which will take on the globe or a new hospital being made which offers free services to poor patients – I find results on scams, unnecessary political scrutiny etc hogging the limelight. Thieves, thieves and more thieves – are we a country of thieves, in reality? The other day, they were talking in a television show that the Government will hush up any controversy regarding their ally and perhaps use the proof to blackmail them. These kinds of discussions shock me and question my trust on our system. While all of us know corruption is the biggest threat in our country, we seemingly are now finding new means to justify it.

Had it not been a corrupt country then perhaps most of our terrorist attacks will not have happened, the development of villages would have been a reality by now, the Nithari children would have got their justice and lot of hard earned public money would have been saved from the pockets of corrupt officials. Still, we find new reasons everyday to justify corruption. This is perhaps the biggest research and development activity going on India.

I must admit, I watched and enjoyed a few IPL matches too but more often than not I could not avoid the feeling of being a small part of a group of tainted Emperor Neros. Should we boycott events like IPL? Perhaps not but restraint may have been helpful.

Other than the dirty money laundering activities which spoilt lot of fun out of the actual sport, I would end up remembering another scene from IPL. Politicians, film stars, industrialists, cricketers and relatives of all such people landing on the cricket ground in different coloured choppers to beat the traffic and the entire crowd of people who are called fans – cheering! Sadly these events did overshadow the sport of cricket.

I know my urban Indian upbringing has made me a bit of a hypocrite, who will probably end up being silent if he is given a ride on that chopper. I feel sad for myself.



  1. Just one question, Tanmoy: do you need to feel ‘pity’ for the players? And do you really imagine they would ever stand up against what you call corruption? You have been trained as an economist, and you have, I know, read what I have written again and again about vast inequalities in incomes that cannot be justified by any argument whatsoever. Now these players have grown used to being paid huge fortunes for what they do ( there used to be players of a different ilk once upon a time, they played for the pure love of the game, I know, my grandfather was one…), and such payments can come only from a system which is out and out ‘corrupt’: can’t you see the contradiction? You want the players to chop off the branch on which they are sitting? You want Sachin and Dhoni to agree to being paid no more than the average bank manager? Ha ha ha! Who are the really corrupt people in this country, if not all the ‘nice and good’ ones, even the so-called ‘heroes’?

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