Friday, June 18, 2010

40. Gotta have it in you to kick the ball

Would India have played the first post-war soccer world cup in 1950 had it been permitted to play barefoot will remain a historical conjecture? That it never matched the power and prowess of the south americans, europeans and east asian countries even when it had acquired resources to equip the players with sports wardrobe is no less enigmatic! Isn't our colonial past playing too heavily on our choice to pick cricket as our national game?

Interestingly, Mahatma Gandhi had chosen football over cricket. Unlike our present-day politicians, Gandhi promoted football clubs in Jo'berg and Pretoria and used the game to promote his political philosophy of non-violent resistance for social upliftment. Unlike cricket that promotes divisive agenda and lifts an elite class, Gandhi used football games as popular venues for political rallies to converse with players and fans.

As it reflects glib, glamour and glitter, cricket finds favour with politicians of all hues as it confirms to their ideological dubiousness. With little regard for the poor and every effort towards enhancing inequality, promoting poor man's game of football doesn't interest the politicians. Since it promotes collective action and brings the best out of people, politicians dread promoting the ball game. Someone had rightly commented `one needs to have balls to kick the ball'. Anybody listening!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

39. The chuddy charm

The colourful undergarment that took the Shri Ram Sena by surprise did a world of good for the chuddies though. Much before Pramod Muthalik, the controversial chief of the fundamentalist sena, brought the ubiquotous piece of clothing into national limelight, Prince Charles had toasted the entry of the word chuddies into the English lexicon during a public dinner at the Windsor Castle in 2007. There is an increase in the number of Hindi words that get into the lexicon whenever a new edition of an English dictionary is released.

You know about `jungle' and `verandah' for sure, and may have heard of `jai ho' getting into the dictionary too. Does it not speak volumes about the English language that accepts words from other languages and cultures with ease? The pace at which colloquial words are gaining acceptance may help sala, an abusive expression which also means brother-in-law, sneak into the dictionary. Given the fact that sala, wife's brother, is held in high esteem by none other than the sister's husband should be reason enough for it to gain an entry. And why not?

Are we not heading for the day when the English dictionary will get colonised by the Hindi words? If that were to happen, many distorted words should feature extensively in the lexicon too. Amongst them, riks should be worth the risk. And how about going to nukhlow and not Lucknow, the capital city of Uttar Pradesh.

Like many of you, I hope I'm not dreaming!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

38. The controversial credentials

For skeptical-optimist environmentalist like me, Jairam Ramesh has been a refreshing cup of green tea. Like the Tata Tea creative commercial Jaago Re (meaning wake up), each of the environment minister's unscripted outbursts and spontaneous decisions have been no less than a wake up call. Occupying incredible column inches in the newspapers and using precious airtime on television, Jairam's business-like exuberance has kept the growth-obsessed development nexus guessing.

Cut out for this indomitable task, Jairam seems a politician-in-a-hurry who is spinning green dreams without unduly worrying about their political fallout. Unilke the oily politico who gets rattled (see picture) by the youngman's calm query about his credentials in the commercial, Jairam doesn't seem to have any misgivings about his credentials though. His impeccable credential lie in him being overtly controversial.

At this time when all other ministeries are working at cross purpose with the environment ministry, Jairam's determination to remain controversial has helped him stand tall and deliver. As he prods his way through the muddled politics of our times, Jairam footmarks are sure to leave a legacy that will force future incumbents to carry the unique credential of being controversial to be considered for this position.

Without doubt it is clear that from now on anyone who isn't controversial will make himself look awkward as an environment minister. However, this may not apply to any other political position. Do I need to tell you why?