in deep existential crisis..

A Journal by Sara

Treasure – Indian Cricket League Or Indian Premiere League ?


I vividly remember, while in my school, I participated in the scouts’ camp for a 3-day stay at the outskirts of city. It was fun & frolic to be out of home confines for three good days and the camp had interesting activities through day & night. One such activity was the treasure hunt, which added to my interest and set me off to a hunt. The burning desire to hunt down the gold made me look through every dust & dirt until I find any clue. While on hunt, I thought this is such an innovative game invented by my scout mistress and had all praise for her in my heart. Little did I know, it is the most known game across earth from rags-to-riches, voters-to-politicians, producer-to-consumer, although the form and conception of treasure seems to vary accordingly.

Switching to the treasure hunts in the Democratic India, every day every individual sets off for a hunt with the desire to earn gold. Few engage in business, few buy lottery tickets, few gamble and it varies as many. But if anyone successfully finds the treasure out, he would still feel unhappy, as normally he would, setting his eye on next, which should be even better in quantity and quality.

This case-scenario should be applicable to every most celebrated person in India engaged in different careers. Be it a singer, actor, rock star, musician, sport star, politician, etc. everyone would try to find more fortune as trade to their professional value. That’s the way life is and that’s the way successful people are. But few can’t just stop their success in a single profession, and would like to extend to every other means of source which has the potential to rake in as much fortune as possible.

Given this way, we in India, have our own variety of career, where money runs you over with a force. In fact, once you were touched upon by fame, any sort of profession improves its looks and turns back facing you as prettiest of all. If I should quote the best of all it should be a) film star b) politician.

While a film star is largely confined to films, media & marketing, in contrast, a politician’s mind sets up his own workshop which has the potential of harvesting gold through barren lands. There had been a lot of testament to this date suggesting it. And one, which always rings in my mind with a surprise, that is BCCI, a board of control for cricket in India.

Few would have thought of in their wildest dreams, that a sport in India could earn millions of dollars and ideally be a warehouse for profit-making. It’s our own agricultural minister, who saw a golden treasure hidden tactfully and with all his acumen has gotten into the helm of affairs and is now reaping the benefits out of it as a President of Cricket in India.

Even the most successful entrepreneurs will envy if they see people at the helm of affairs in Board of Control for Cricket in India, a treasure of treasures being hunt down successfully.  It takes a lot to throw out Jagmohan Dalmiya, a born tactician out of the business and there is not many available outside than our politicians. It was an interesting move by our Agriculture Minister, yes, to run cricket in India, while our very own farmers in Andhra Pradesh and other states are committing suicide unable to feed themselves.

While the flood washes down the crop every year in India, our Agriculture Minister, is only worried that the match has been delayed due to rain and the floodgate to cash in advertising rights is yet to open. When television rights are sold for millions, India is yet to produce a genuine speedster. When millions of rupees flow through advertising, Domestic Circuit players are yet waiting in the counters to reimburse their travel expenses spent last year. While the best of players are breaking down with injuries, BCCI looks for that extra leap year day to fit in their one off ODI in Ireland or Sweden. With crores of money raining in the wallet, still our International grounds remains flooded with a slight drizzle.

Mumbai, being the Home of cricket for India, is yet a horrible place to watch an international match with no concern for human comfort taken care in the stadium. If you sit there for a quarter of an hour, you will be suffocated to death and would be stung by pain all over the body, let alone watching the cricket match with interest. After all, the stadium is built for stuffing in as many humans as possible, and not for serving the best of comfort to enjoy cricket. There is not a single stadium in the powerhouse of cricket which meets the international standards, let alone eclipsing it with all these millions of dollars.

The domestic players are often left high and dry waiting ever for their opportunities to figure in the national team, as the Daddy’s Army yet have their advertising contracts left, which denies any threat to replace them.

Television contracts after being sold to millions of dollar, one cannot catch up with high quality action of cricket, with two balls per over being eaten up by advertisements. You cannot watch that subtle moment, where the player hugs his teammate after the victory or when player erupts in joy after reaching a milestone, as they are often labeled an insignificant action by the broadcasters and would be better served with a load of rubbish advertisements where celebrities swing their hips to sell any crap.

One is left with pent-up anger watching these gory sights, yet looking for something optimistic to turn out, thanks to the craze for the game in India. In spite of running only cricket, as it is assumed, the administrators of BCCI never felt the urge to recruit a coach for India in the past 10 months which is justified by an administrator who once answered in an interview that do we really need a coach!

While our agriculture reformist sworn in as Head of Indian cricket; he swore that the first priority in his agenda would be to setup an own website for BCCI, an organization worth 7000 million INR. The saying is yet to bear fruit, as they are still advertising to find a web development company to create one! If you have doubt, please visit here, and join in the poll conducted. If there is a trivia in any of the interviews you attend in the future, to name an organization worth billions of rupees, yet have its email ID in the Gmail and VSNL domain, you have a dead easy answer.

Zee network owner, Chandra, came up with his brand of cricket called ICL, not as a competitor to BCCI, but to promote the game in India and bring more talents to the game. He has a broader vision, and he hired international players to play in his league, which also helps domestic players grow by playing alongside them. This was a definitely a high action of cricket, and as expected it was seen as a fierce competition by BCCI to their own monopoly in the revenue generating sport and it didn’t need a second alarm for them to interrupt.

BCCI was quick on its feet, to announce that this is an unofficial version and with its financial clout threatened the boards of other countries to not support it. As ICL shrugged off the opposition and ramped up their efforts to launch the league soon, BCCI did every possible move to stop them with banning stadia, players – current and former, who participates in the league.

At last awakened to the thought that, this could ideally be another revenue-generating-machine and they announced their own version of the league called IPL and brought in the entire pool of current players who play international cricket. Even stooped themselves to the stature, whereby announcing it is ready to lift off the ban only on foreign players contracted by ICL, if they are ready to join IPL. How begging it could get than this? Now, they are busy promoting their league IPL and have set a base amount for TV rights as $ 60 million for the current year.

It’s hard to fathom, how BCCI is represented as an autonomous body to govern cricket in India, where anyone else doesn’t have rights to be involved in the administration of the game. Caught in the middle are players who are allured equally between the amounts of money they are offered in domestic league and the long-term goal of earning India cap fading out gradually.

Among millions of treasure hunts carried out today in pursuit of fortunes, have had mixed results where few hunting it down and few being haunt down. But these politicians, the smart of all, have this knack of finding treasures hidden out anywhere beyond seven mountains and seas, as did our Union Minister for Agriculture found it in BCCI, a treasure in disguise.

November 29, 2007 Posted by | Cricket, Sports | 1 Comment

When eyes errs…..

The ball hits the batsman’s shoulder and then carries behind to the keeper, but the bowler is vociferous in his appeal and was running to the keeper to celebrate the wicket. This is enough for the umpire, to lift his finger up, thinking after all the bowler won’t be wrong. Yup, an umpire judge psychology of the bowler and not opens his eyes to look at what all the conventional umpires have been looking at all these years, the batsman before you!

To compound more, the batsman was fined for showing dissent to the umpire for not leaving the field immediately after the GREAT decision was given.

Left furious and damned, I switched off my TV when Yuvraj was given out by umpire, Amesh Saheba, on whom I have already challenged my friend, he will ridiculously fail even if you assist him set up & run a tea shop in India.

God knows why, India with its 1.3+ billion human resources, cannot produce a single referee who is fit enough to umpire at the international level. For information, India does not have a single umpire in the ICC elite panel, and doesn’t have a hope to shove in one in the near future.

If someone needs to be held responsible for this letdown, it is none other than the BCCI, but who is busy counting the coins and setting up that one off ODI to be played against Ireland at the top of Mount Everest, to which sponsors are interested in!

If I have learned cricket the right way, it is a game invented for batsmen and bowlers, and not for the umpires who are out there in the middle.

November 20, 2007 Posted by | Cricket, Sports | 1 Comment

Nuke Economics

I could recollect a lecture hour at school, when my physics teacher wrote a title at black board, reading Nuclear Reaction. An articulate teacher she was, explained the next one hour about the technical details of nuclear reaction with a bundle of equation and jargon. She asked me to summarize the whole lecture, and sat behind.  I stood up nervously and after a minute whispered ‘a chain reaction triggered due to collision between two particles producing enormous power’ and quickly sat down with a sense of relief. She pointed to the board and asked me whether that’s all she taught, and I immediately said ‘Yes, Ma’m’ with a big smile on my face, erghhh….which in turn did set up a nuclear reaction on her face.

If she has seen the current political fiasco, she would have appreciated my wisdom the other day and would have even ordered a round of applause from the other students. Yes, I was correct when I said ‘a chain reaction triggered due to COALTION between two PARTIES producing enormous POWER issues’. This is the statement which precisely sums up the nuclear reaction in today’s relevant terms. Little did I know that day, I would be technically and politically, correct relating to the future Nuke Deal issue.

As Indian government keep harping about the vivid and illustrious growth story of today’s India, little they do for its sustenance. Services industry does contribute a sizeable amount of our GDP, rips open new avenues for employment and in turn improves the quality of dining table in every household. This industrial growth has set up soaring demand for land in cities and hence real estate prices has shot up and costs has reached Manhattan-style skyscrapers in every major city of India, and spilling over to tier-II and III cities too. Lands untouched a decade ago, are now shaping into multi-storied office buildings, shopping malls and luxury apartments. Every square inch built is illuminated with power units, which in turn generates huge demand for electricity and fuels as a whole.

Hence, no doubt that energy demand would be on the rise, in the world’s second most populous and growing country with each passing day. If this energy crisis needs to be meted out, then it requires a strategic planning and a broad outlook keeping in mind the future.

India has its hand laid on different energy sources such as coal, bio-diesel, wind power, solar and nuclear energy. The then president Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam is one of the strong advocators of Jatropha cultivation for production of bio-diesel. In one of his recent speech, the President said that out of the 60 million hectares (600,000 km²) of waste land that is available in India over 30 million hectares (300,000 km²) are suitable for Jatropha cultivation. But the production is far-sighted in India.

Theoretically solar energy potential in India is far more than its current total consumption. As said, it is theoretical. Wind power is in its budding stage with government setting up its own turbines [Central Windmill Energy Technology] in Pune, Gujarat, parts of Tamilnadu etc.  The energy has lot of potential in this country, provided the government focuses more on its production and allows foreign companies to set up its own wind turbines.

At last, another important source of energy is nuclear energy. India has domestically developed nuke reactors for their power and weapons programs separately. However, the major ingredient of nuclear cycle, uranium, is found limited in India. India has also done a great amount of work in the development of a Thorium centered fuel cycle. While Uranium deposits in the nation are extremely limited, there are much greater reserves of Thorium and it could provide hundreds of times the energy with the same mass of fuel. There isn’t sufficient infrastructure built to utilize thorium deposits for energy production in India, which is a different story altogether.

Being a popular non-signatory of Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, India has often been denied of advanced nuclear technology from foreign countries to breed its nuclear reactors. With limited imports of fuel and technology gained from other countries, India has always been behind its vision target of 20GW of nuclear capacity by year 2020, owing to the nuclear test done in 1974 and 1998.

If India ever wanted to ramp up its nuke production, it is inevitable to gain access to the advanced nuclear technologies and Uranium from developed countries, with US being a significant player. It’s a welcome move that US came forward to lift sanctions on nuke program of India and allow them access to technologies, with the proposal of 1-2-3 agreement. Since 2 years, diplomats from either nation were involved in negotiation in certain clauses of the agreement to sign the deal. As, certain clause came close to be a back door entry of Hyde Act, it aroused several debates across the nation, questioning the worth of the deal and the risk of the national interest. However, the Indian congress was involved in progressive talks with their American counterparts to brush off any strings attached in the agreement. Thanks to the keenness shown by US, the bill was passed in American Congress with much effort and was finally tossed on India’s table for its approval.

Now this turns a familiar topic, as we see the headlines and political cartoons in media every day, about the left’s opposition to this nuclear deal with US. Left’s leader Mr. Karat expressed his reservations about the deal, not due to any concern in the clause, but, it brings proximity to US. It’s ill-fated to see the party which won meager percent of votes in parliamentary elections, now holding forte in Indian Parliament, on acts which guards national interest. It’s rather a sorry state of affairs to have been controlled by politicians whose vision for society begin and end with communism, which has not been the flavor of this country.

It’s not been cease of memory yet, to have forgotten the circumstances where CPI and its allies had put down the nation favoring their international ideologues. To begin with the most notorious example that communists were never been bothered about the independence of India when they were raising their vocals against the Quit India Movement in 1942; In 1948, after India gained independence, the then leader of CPI claimed ‘this freedom was fake’. In 1962, Sino-Indian border conflict, a section of communists upheld the flag of china and complained openly India plays an aggressor. Later, the pro-Chinese faction led their way out from their parent party CPI to form CPI (Marxist). The standpoint of communists in those crucial moments when Indian patriotism were at stake could be seen totally contradictory and opposite, to their ranting today, when they say that India-US treaty does not serve the national interest. How ironical it could get than this?

Given its track record, the Left’s attempt to see itself as a protector of India’s national sovereignty is a disgrace. Communists in India have acted, at critical periods, at the command of the Soviet Union or China. In so doing, communists have sacrificed India’s national interests. And unfortunately they seemed to be set repeating the history again.

It was BJP who initiated the deal for India in their regime, which had continued over today. UPA government pays its price today, for not including the opposition party (BJP) in the debate over the Nuke deal. But certainly, this is not the time for BJP to play its trick, to gain political advantage over congress, as it is India’s integrity which is at stake. It’s appalling to look at everyday’s headlines that the ruling government of India is down their knees, waiting for approval from their iniquitous political-ally which at best screws up the integrity of this nation.

Thus Indo-US treaty, for you and me, has reshaped into various forms far from its original state of conception, with clandestine political motives and vendetta taking centre stage, leaving behind the original purpose in the shade. The deal, which is expected to be a historical breakthrough in the diplomatic ties with US, is still on the LEFT of table and needs to be passed over else, pushed over. With enough intricacy overstuffed, the great picture is definitely in making, but whether it would turn out to be a Mona-Lisa or a stain on the wall is yet to be seen.

November 15, 2007 Posted by | Infra Structure, Issues, Politics | 1 Comment