Wednesday, 30 January, 2008

Experiments with Truth

It is indeed ironical that a day before Mahatma Gandhi’s 60th death anniversary, the racism case against Harbhajan Singh was veered towards it's most convenient conclusion, with Truth being the biggest casualty.

The Sardar is a free man now. In a well orchestrated hearing, Justice John Hansen has cleared Harbhajan Singh of the ‘Racism’ charge, not because of his presumed innocence, but because of extraneous factors that included BCCI’s money power; the pull out threat and ambiguity on the part of ICC to call a spade a spade.

Even accounting for the fact that modern sports is loath to the virtues that the ‘Mahatma’ stood for, I am all for reducing racism and abuse - that goes around in the name of mental disintegration - to a level as practical as possible. I am also of the opinion that Australian players, more than anyone, have gotten away with their abusive language, more times than one. That is why I believed, Harbhajan case provided a perfect opportunity, both for the ICC and the BCCI, to act tough, weed out these unsavory elements, and claim a high moral ground, something Anil Kumble did after the second test.

But the writing was clearly on the wall once BCCI asked its players to stay put in Sydney. Even the Australians could not challenge the Indian board’s might, let alone the pusillanimous ICC.

So Bhajji is no more a racist - officially that is. Instead, he is someone who abuses downright in the name of else's mother, if reports of India’s flimsy defence are to be believed. Who would you like to be? Take your pick. Better don’t, because neither has anything to with cricket.

But it makes Harbhajan’s mother happy. I wonder why?

It takes a lot of courage and even more conviction to stand up to, and own your remarks, howsoever wrong they might have been. Harbhajan has failed miserably in that. Much like Michael Clarke, whose image stands tarnished in the eyes of cricket fans, Harbhajan will be looked upon as one whose integrity will remain forever suspect.

BCCI on the other hand is gaining a notorious reputation as a board that throws its weight around to maneuver things in its favour. Be it the ‘Denness’gate, the ‘Bucknor’gate or the ‘Bhajji’gate, they are overlooking the fact that each of their ‘victory’ is more pyrrhic than the one before. I am not even mentioning the vulgar display of ‘so called national pride’ that they put up in this case.

The game meanwhile goes on. ACB is happy that their coffers will be soaring full after the ODI tournament, Sri Lankans are now more willing participants in the tri series, and BCCI is reveling in it’s false victory.

The Truth, sadly, remains hidden firmly behind the closet.


Vidooshak said...

First of all kudos for a great title. Harbhajan should be "handled" by the board by being dropped for a few games despite the ban being lifted. His stupidity should not be rewarded with this solidarity.

You are completely right about BCCI's naked power display. But I also don't see why Cricket Australia and the New Zealand Cricket board (for caving in on the Shane Bond) should not be held accountable.

Will Indian cricket thrive without Australia?

Anonymous said...

Hi Vinayak,

Your comments are interesting. Deep inside I do agree with it as an impartial entity. Having said that, I do not understand why Cricket Australia agreed for a compromise. If money is so important to them then they can not crib now and apart from BCCI, CA also takes half of the blame. CA had a chance to put BCCI on a wrong end, but lost it.

For a change India is in a controlling situation and inside me, it thrills me to no end. But realistically speaking, It is upto the politicians in BCCI to put a positive angle to the moneypower.


scorpicity said...

It's yes and no mixed feeling with regard to this post... at the end of the day it is over and dusted. Can read about the exact final statement and analysis by Justice Hansen on mine or Homer's blog. Harbhajan should be reined it... all of this is happening way to often.

Cricket Guru said...



Such is the BCCI's hold over the game, that CA and NZ cricket board are willingly submitting themselves into being armtwisted by BCCI. Even I was surprised and disappointed by their lack of spine.

This to me is also a dangerous precedent.


Welcome to CaAT. I was anticipating this viewpoint from you.

The common refrain that 'they did to us in past, so nothing wrong if we can give it back to them' is the most worrying factor. Yes, BCCI is the controlling power in world cricket, but with power also comes responsibility and I am afraid BCCI has shown utter disreagrd for it even as it brutally exercised the powers.

Cricket Guru said...


I read the final statement sometime back.

Harbhajan has a past history of abusive behaviour. As Vidooshak said, it is one thing to show solidarity and other to cover up for his stupidity. BCCI got its priorities completely wrong.

Golandaaz said...

When grown ups act like children this is what the world comes to.

I for one don't consider making derogatory remarks as being racist. It is moot for me what bhajji said. In the heat of the moment people say nasty things. While such behavior needs to be reigned in it cannot be a racism charge. There is a stigma around it and I in part support the BCCI stand in its absolute insistence that the charge be dropped. The best course would have been to punish both Symonds and Harbhajan with a ban and match fees

Also trying to ban sledging from cricket is unrealistic. All of us have played the game at various levels and getting under someone's nerves is a tactic we have all used.

Cricket Guru said...

One man's meat is other man's poison.

How does one distinguish between a sledge, an abuse and a mental disintegration?

I agree it is not practical to try and eliminate sledging, but what ICC can do is to have strict and uniform enforcement of penalties, without any favour or fear, so that the Sydney fiasco is not repeated.

As you said, Harbhajan could have foul mouthed Roy in the heat of moment, but then he should also own up his remarks.

I have every reason to believe that 'Teri Maa Ki' was a made up thing. If not, they should have pointed it out straightaway during the Proctor hearing.

Golandaaz said...

Jan 30th is also the day Hitler came to power. Jan 30th 1933 Hitler was sworn in as Chancellor of Germany.

"Experiments with Power" would also have be an apt title for this.

Uncle J rod said...

Those bastard monkeys.

Cricket Guru said...

I was thinking of charging you under IBA 3.3 for that highly racist comment against both Indians and Aussies, Uncle!

But given that IBA (International Blogger's Association) did not provide me with sufficient data of your past indiscretions and considering that you author a very good blog, I consider it as 'not transgressed' under charge pursuant to 3.3.

Soulberry said...

This is certainly another point of view as well. Nice write CG.

Cricket Guru said...

Thanks, SB.

Soulberry said...

But I do reserve the right to disagree completely with the article of course...unless fresh evidence to the contrary comes up.

I hope you grant me that leeway! :)

Cricket Guru said...

Ofcourse, SB.

As Francis Bacon said,

"Read not to contradict and confute, nor to believe and take for granted...but to weigh and consider."

I remember reading it somewhere. ;)

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