Friday, September 3, 2010


Just imagine the kind of mind-boggling multi-tasking he is doing. Here you have the Supreme Court of India that loudly and publicly berates him for allegedly trying to ‘spin’ the orders passed by the Court regarding food for starving Indians. Lest you think, this Supreme Court ‘flipper’ will flip him and make him move his focus away from spin, you are wrong. There are reports that it is actually ‘fast’ and ‘swing’ bowling that holds his attention. I am really guessing out here, but I have a feeling that Justice Kapadia is at the moment less important to him than Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif.

And why not? Sharad Pawar has been a politician, a minister, a Chief Minister and a Prime Minister in waiting for so long that a few barbs here and there, trying to prick his conscience about starving Indians will not really matter to him. After all, how can it matter when the ‘farmer’ politician knows that a 20% food inflation will starve people (who spend almost 80% of their income on food) and then blithely announces that the menace will soon be tamed… I am sure, it was easier Taming the Shrew… But for Sharad Pawar, this is his first stint as the President of the International Cricket Council (ICC) and scandals like the one so embarrassingly visible about Pakistani players is a challenge he is facing for the first time. After all, his name in posterity could go down as the honcho of ICC, who presided over the decline and fall of cricket because fans fi nally got tired of watching fixed matches. Surely you know that is different from poor farmers getting tired of ‘fixed’ distribution of food.

But jokes apart, and trying our best to forget the mess that the Commonwealth Games is making when it comes to the image of India (and please don’t smirk: I won’t be surprised if some of our new IPL stars from India eventually get enmeshed in this spot fixing scam), have we given serious thought to this extreme and ultimate form of crony socialism? I mean, Sharad Pawar might be the ultimate when it comes to multi-tasking; but how does he simultaneously deal with starving Indians and the swinging ways of Pakistani fast bowlers whose girl friends tend to kiss and yell? You can give as much spin as you want to this sorry tale; but surely Sharad Pawar must be spending some quality time everyday on the spot fixing scam? What about food security for Indians?

Call me nostalgic and a fool (and I am sure some guys made money even then). But I remember being proud of being an Indian during Asian Games '82. And I was prouder still when I heard tales as a young journalist about how Madhav Rao Scindia played a key role in ensuring South Asia got the Cricket World Cup in 1996. I know, South Asia is once again preparing for the next edition of the World Cup in 2011. And I know we will rave and rant about ‘white’ and ‘western’ media and people being prejudiced and racist when it comes to simple, God-fearing, innocent folks like you and me.

Like some Queen somewhere might have said when asked about spot fixing: “Out Damned Spot”.


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