Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The World Cup and a Clueless Nation!


The word ‘Clueless Nation’ might look like a bizarre term to use when the whole nation including myself are yet to overcome the euphoria of becoming the world champions of ODI cricket; this victory is like an intoxicating drug that has given us a high. Though I doubt if any one of us has given any thought as to what we are going to do once the hangover is over; we are totally clueless!

All I can think of is a void except for the winning team members whose coffers are going to get bigger and themselves richer. It is not like this victory is going to open the floodgates to a million other aspiring young cricketers akin to what Sushmita Sen and Aishwarya Rai did to aspiring models by winning Miss Universe and Miss World titles; cricket is already a very popular sport in India and IPL has only reinforced the lucrative nature of this sport.

We have a tendency to whip up things into a state of orgasm but seldom do anything (re)productive with it!

We did the same thing few months back when Saina Nehwal clinched that gold medal in the badminton final at CWG 2010 and also when AR Rahman won the Oscars. We gloated over their achievements and today only remember them through the endorsements they appear in. What happened to all our patriotism from then? Did we benefit in any way from those victories?

My tone might suggest that I am a cynic but in this blog post I rather choose to focus on how we can convert this enormous victory into something that we can all continue to be proud of even many years from now.

Here goes my plan, you tell me yours...

Men of the match!

The best performer in a cricket match is given a man of the match trophy and a cash prize. But what does one do when an entire team is the deserving winner, simple, you go ahead and give all the players rewards, the same stuff that our over enthusiastic politicians are trying to do now. Our governments believe in treading the familiar path and being innovative is definitely not one of their strong points.

Why just the world cup, see what we did with our heroes throughout history. The most we can see if any are some statues; postage stamps; streets, circles, buildings, airports, railway stations, etc named after them and one man Mahatma Gandhi even made it to the currency notes of the country. The other favourite thing to do is to give them titles that are of little relevance, the various Bhushans, Vibhushans, Ratnas, etc don’t seem to make any real impact in anyone’s life. The one good thing one can add to this list is the inclusion of their stories in school text books; that too has been prone to tampering off late. Also, we hardly know of any modern inspiring stories that might benefit a new generation, there is a dearth of modern day heroes in our country.

It is time we made a point to talk to the new generation in a language they understood and harness their enthusiasm and pride in the victory of our cricket team. The lessons to be learnt are many and the benefits if any will only be manifold. So what did we learn from the victory?

Cricket is war!

If there is one game in this world that is close enough to war then it is cricket. During the course of the tournament there has been talk of the India-Pakistan clash to be a war and the final encounter with Sri Lanka being compared to the Ramayana where Ram took on Raavan from Lanka. Why just these two matches, even the first match with Bangladesh was billed as a revenge match and the quarter final with Australia was also touted to be revenge for the 2003 final defeat. Ironic it might seem but the similarity of cricket to war is quite remarkable. Sample this.

In cricket it might take just one over or even one ball to finish off the career of any player. Ask Chetan Sharma how he is remembered today or Manoj Prabhakar after the 1996 world cup or for that matter even Sangakkara and Ponting despite being a part of winning teams. The opposition teams are ruthless and the public is even worse. All it takes is one bad day at office to destroy a lifetime’s worth of effort. It is like being killed by a single bullet in war, doesn’t matter even if you are a veteran of a 100 successful battles.

The pressure to perform is immense on a cricketer and one can compare his lifespan with that of a soldier, though not in life threatening terms but in terms of career longevity. One slip and he is gone. In a way it is justifiable when they reap the rewards for their victories because as the saying goes “Make hay while the sun shines” and yes, the sun might set on them quite brutally anytime in the form of an injury or bad form or pure bad luck.

So what do we take out of the war (if I may be allowed to call it that way) that was waged and won by the Indian team?

Bhagvad Gita and Krishna!

It is strange but the biggest lessons of life are derived out of learning’s from conflict and pain. The Mahabharata along with Ramayana being the prime among them, else today we wouldn’t have the Bhagavad Gita or the concept of the ideal man like Lord Rama. Also Lord Krishna was the chief architect and mastermind behind the success of the Pandavas in the war against the Kauravas and it wouldn’t have been possible without him reciting the Gita to a confused Arjuna.

The only thing the youth of this nation can do today is to proclaim that they are world champions, empty crates and crates of beer and at the most change their profile pictures on Facebook and Twitter to the winning team for a few days before they forget all about this victory. Our government and corporates seem to be as blind as Dhritarashtra doling out one cash reward after another with the sole intention of strengthening their vote banks and brand values as we normal citizens watch as helplessly as Arjuna in the battlefield.

It is time we had a Krishna show us the way with a Bhagavad Gita tailored and custom made to appeal to a new generation. For the stories to be derived out of this world cup winning team are many and inspiring; prime among them being that of the captain of the team Mahendra Singh Dhoni; the closest who can compare to Krishna in terms of effectiveness as well as coolness quotient.



The way the iconic winning six by Dhoni lifted our spirits, I hope we can in a similar fashion do the same with ourselves and our country.

The Dhoni Mantra!

Many call him lucky and many say he has a golden leg. Whatever it is, if there is one person in this country who has delivered consistently, always leading from the front by example, there is no bigger name than Mahendra Singh Dhoni. He is the leader of a cricket team that has performed exceedingly well, especially at a time when the leaders of this country have gone to shameless depths of greed and ineffectiveness.

There was a comment from a satire website on Twitter while the world cup final was happening which said: All the politicians in Wankhede, please note, that's what a leader looks like” #Dhoni. Though the comment is from a satire website the truth is not far away from that. The country needs to learn from Dhoni’s example, not just the politicians but every single citizen of this country.

There are innumerable articles and news stories on the leadership qualities of this amazing leader Dhoni and I don’t need to repeat any of them again. However I wish someone digs deeper into the psyche of this man and also the rest of the team members and the remarkable coach Gary Kirsten and not to forget that man we all worship as god, Sachin Tendulkar. It is time we have a modern Bhagavad Gita derived out of the learning’s from this victorious team, am sure there are wonderful tales of struggle, perseverance, hard work, unity, etc; untold stories that are waiting to be told. There are brilliant writers and historians in this country, I only wish all of them could provide their analysis and some corporate or the government itself could compile them into what we could call a GITA for Success in the 21st Century.

This Gita need not be in the form of a book itself, it could be a documentary with videos and all the jazz that appeals to everyone and not some format that puts us to sleep. Once we have this finished, the content of it would rival that of any Gita, Bible,Quran or million other books on management and success. And yes, this is not to be treated as something that will be taught only at elite Business Schools but should be made compulsory reading and viewing right from primary schools to corporate entities to every single politician out there. For therein lies a remarkable story that needs to be told and we deserve to be told so that this victory doesn’t fade away. The tragedy would be if all we are left with to remember from this cup is Poonam Pandey. Chances are, you don’t remember who won the FIFA world cup last year but remember Pulpo Paul; tell me if I am wrong? I hope you get the gist of what I am saying.

The Indian Cricket Team’s victory is its greatest achievement and gift to the nation. It is time for us to learn the lessons and make sure they last a lifetime!

Jai Hind!

Kartik Dayanand Boddapati

PS. Given a chance I would love to be a part of any team that is formed to chronicle the dramatic rise of Dhoni and his team! That would be one sure way for me to attain immortality :)

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