ARVIND SWAMINATHAN writes from Panjim: The question mark over the second edition of the Indian Premier League™ because of its overlap with the Indian Political League© hides a clutch of exclamatory marks for what it reveals about “our system”.
Exclamatory mark No. 1: The doubts over IPL security flowered in the d$$$$r-stuffed head of the other Modi only after Sri Lankan cricketers were caught in the gunfire at Lahore’s gol chakkar. For a nation whose sub-standard roads are periodically strengthened with a dark red fluid gifted by countless brave and benevolent donors, who is he kidding with this state of denial?
Exclamatory mark No. 2: From the Harvard gems dropped by Union home minister P. Chidambaram, it appears as if this mighty civilisation called India has the “security apparatus” for either the IPL or the ipl at any given point in our major cities but not the IPL and the ipl at the same time—or, heaven forbid, anything else.
What does that mean? If you are a petty thief, burglar, kidnapper, murderer, psycho, paedophile, rapist, arsonist or extortionist in these places, please mark April 10 to May 24 on your PDA (Personal Digital Assistant). (Note: These dates do not apply if you are just a jerk, a pink cheddi against PDA (Public Display of Affection) in the state of Karnataka).
Exclamatory mark No. 3: Since IPL cannot be postponed because there is no other “window in the ICC® calendar”, Bishen Singh Bedi on NDTV™ actually had the gall to suggest that ipl be put off. If you don’t think that is a nice sardarji joke, the only conclusion to come to is that Sharad Pawar who as the Union agriculture minister hasn’t bothered a whit about farmer suicides doesn’t give a shit about mass murder either.
What it also tells you is that the ruling alliance that is dependent on Pawar’s NCP doesn’t have the balls of the non-cricketing kind to tell this Modi or that Modi to get off the rampaging tiger. Such risk-taking by a risk-averse regime boggles the mind when even one incident during the IPL potential carries the risk of altering the ipl script that is going UPA’s way at the moment.
But what really gets my (admittedly vegetarian) goat is the ease with which the cash-flush BCCI®—the “world’s richest cricket body”—has managed to shift the entire onus of security on the “State” at a time of grave political importance.
“IPL is on,” scream Modi and his megaphones in the television media, as if their lives depends on it. But what about our lives?
Why isn’t Chidambaram or anybody else asking the big question:
“Why should the “State” spend crores of rupees to provide the security for what is purely a private event staged in private stadiums by a conglomeration of private clubs played by private players who are the property of private owners who have their own private rules to promote their private businesses?“
Lalit Modi is on record in today’s newspapers as saying that IPL will spend 10 times more money to take care of the security of players in Season 2. That’s a signal to the foreign players who have expressed apprehension after the Bombay and Lahore attacks.
But what about the spectators?
Why doesn’t the BCCI and IPL which are expected to make hundreds of crores this year, spend 10 per cent of that on security for the paying public, instead of expecting “the system” to do so at its expense?
And, pray, what precisely is the quality of security the police provide at cricket stadiums?
Look closely at television pictures of policemen at Indian grounds.
They are in uniform all right, so that we (and they, you know who) can spot them. But most of them end up as glorified ushers, who are hyper-active for the first half-hour after the game starts, and then plain happy to get to watch the game for free.
Should they really be given this pleasure by the “State” at the cost of the public within the stadium, and outside?
Admittedly, security is a “State” subject, and the “State” is supposed to protect “We, the People” and heaven knows what a ******* good job they did under Shivaraj Patil and L.K.Advani. (Those are seven asterisks, not seven stars, mind you.)
But if Vijay Mallya, to name one IPL owner, has his own private bouncers to protect his private business and protect security to his private guests at private bars and pubs owned by him, why doesn’t he do the same, say, at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore which will host his privately owned Royal Challengers™?
And why don’t the rest—Nita Ambani in Bombay, Juhi Chawla in Calcutta, Shilpa Shetty in Jaipur, Preity Zinta in Chandigarh? If they can spend millions to protect their lovely *****, and the delicate skins of the cheer leaders (in picture), why not on ours?
Photograph: courtesy Washington Redskins