.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Sight Screen

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

GC's gesture and SG's status

One of our participants on the DG, Jai, asked Prem about his opinion on the whole controversy around GC gesturing to the crowd. Below is Prem's response (all this via email) which I thought was worth posting here in the full.

Also relevant is is the portion here written in context of Saurav's selection into the team (my emphasis added on that) which is, sort of, in continuation of the theme carried in Dileep's cricinfo article I just posted about:


Firstly, I *had* in fact spoken of the Chappell finger, and related issues, earlier. Here is the link.


To paraphrase: Yes, I find the action of flipping the finger reprehensible, and worthy of condemnation; this is unequivocal, there are no ifs and buts and maybes attached. And I do not believe that ‘provocation’ justifies reaction, if the reaction is not within the bounds of decency (A personal example: You won’t argue, I hope, that much of the bad behavior we saw in the comments field before it got shut down was deliberately intended to provoke, just as my being blocked from the comments field was. And yes, it was upsetting, it was hurtful – and on more than one occasion, I have been tempted to answer in the same language that was used to me. I doubt, though, that had I lost it and used vulgar abuse in my turn, such a course of action could have been ‘justified’.)

So, item one – what Chappell did, and I don’t for a moment buy that stuff about an injured finger, was beyond the pale.

That said, a few other things equally need saying (and please – let’s stop debating things in isolation, when we all know that everything that happens is linked – a butterfly flapping its wings in the Amazon rain forest, et cetera).

So – while condemning the action, and also stating that provocation does not justify reaction (I remember once, I got into a street fight because I was going for a walk with my sister and someone said something I couldn’t take; my dad’s only response when he came to know about it was, ask yourself this – a pig lives in the gutter, that is his natural habitat; what exactly are you doing, when you descend into that gutter to speak to the pig on its terms?), other acts equally need condemnation.

The booing of an Indian captain, whether in Bangalore or in Kolkatta, merits condemnation. And here, as with Chappell, no ‘provocation’ – loss of form, wounded regional feelings, whatever – justifies it. We can disagree over who represents us, but once someone walks out onto the field wearing the captain’s armband, and the national flag on his cap, he happens to be our visible representative; to boo him and abuse him before foreigners reflects no glory on us; it merely creates a handy wedge for the alien to exploit – as, in fact, Graeme Smith sought to.

Some of the more abusive acts – like holding the funeral rites of someone who is alive (and that this has been done to Sonia Gandhi and others is, again, no ‘justification’; precedent does NOT make something right) is among the more reprehensible acts I have seen in recent times. Those rites have a religious significance, and a deep emotional connotation for those of us who have done that, in sorrow, for loved ones we have lost; to use it as a means of flipping a metaphorical finger at someone you disagree with shows a want of grace, of feeling. I notice many people – including a few politicians and officials – suggesting that flipping the finger is counter to our culture. Is then the holding of a shradh for a very much alive More or an equally alive Chappell an act that has been enshrined in our cultural idiom?

All of this actually underlines the situation we have arrived at – we are now two groups, confronting each other across a barbed wire fence of anger, distrust, hate. Neither group is prepared to see things from the other side’s viewpoint. Neither side is prepared to accept that there might in fact be a middle ground. Instead, what we do – ALL we do – is closely scrutinize every single action, every statement, every thing done and not done (the team failed? Bring back Ganguly – without even asking whether the one player would have in fact made a difference say on that Gardens track. The team succeeded? Enough, force Ganguly into retirement – without considering whether that one player and his skills, when at their peak, may not in fact add vital value to an already good side) and sift it for ammunition to use against the other side.

How does any of this help? Admit this – for all the screaming, for all the boycott calls and shradh ceremonies and sacking of selectors and flipped fingers, Sourav Ganguly is the master of his own destiny. If he makes runs (and yes, he will play against Sri Lanka, recent ‘informed sources suggesting he won’t notwithstanding’), if he plays in the fashion of his pomp, there is no power on earth that can force his ouster. And if he fails – I don’t mean in one game; IMHO a take on SG the Test player can NOT be taken before the end of the Pakistan tour – all the screaming, shouting, and saying GC flipped a finger therefore Ganguly should play, is NOT going to earn him a merited place in the side.

If we had to protest, we should have protested the day the ‘inquiry committee’ came up with its short-sighted band aid of a conclusion. On that day, on Rediff, I wrote a piece asking then president Mahindra what his statement meant? Was GC lying? If yes, I said, sack him now. Was he not? Then clarify what your conclusion is on the charges, let’s have some closure.

Was that not a logical thing to say? Were we not entitled to being told the truth? Did we not deserve closure on what is clearly a hugely emotional issue?

If the answer to that is yes, then why is it that no one – no ONE – demanded honesty from those who had set themselves up as arbiters on the issue? Where were the protestors then? How many shradhs did we perform for that ‘committee’, how many fingers did we flip in its direction? Surely an honest enquiry then would have ensured that the unedifying spectacles we have been treated to since would have been forestalled?

By allowing ourselves to be seduced, thus, into a pointless discussion that has gone on ad infinitum, ad nauseum, we do no one any favors: not us, not our team, and most certainly not Sourav Ganguly, who does not deserve to be, when the history of this period is written, painted as the man, the force, that divided the team and the country.


Post a Comment

<< Home