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Hindi: Cricket in the air and a martyr is remembered!

Categories: South Asia, India, History, Media & Journalism, Politics, Sport

It seemed as if all hell had broken loose on the evening of 24th September here in Delhi when Sreesanth took that catch of Misabh-ul-Haq that sealed for India the first ever Twenty20 World Cup [1]!! I'd hardly blinked an eye and all of my neighbourhood was rocking with the wizzes & booms of fireworks!! The BCCI (Board of Cricket Control in India) president Mr.Sharad Pawar immediately announced an award of US$2 million for the team and about US$250,000 cash award for Yuvraj Singh for hitting 6 sixes in an over (six balls), a first in Twenty20 Cricket. And the nation has been abuzz with it since last five days, news channels repeatedly showing the historic moment and how the team has risen to the status of world champs in the last month as they trampled over (an already out of the tournament) England and then nudged out power-horses South Africa and (reigning and four time world champs) Australia on their road to the world cup finals where they bested arch-rivals Pakistan whom they had beaten earlier in a group match which many had called a chance win. Two days later the team came back home and as they landed at Sahar Airport in Mumbai, thousands thronged to catch a glimpse of them as the team paraded the jam packed roads of the city in an open bus. If that was not all, just about every player in the victorious team was showered with awards(cash, land etc.) by governments of their respective states as they saw opportunity to butter up their vote banks in this cricket crazy country.

All this showering of affection and awards, however, didn't go down well with many. A number of people questioned the state governments’ actions of showering cash when on other hand they plead lack of funds when it comes to other sports and improvement of basic facilities provided to players in domestic circuits. Many of the people questioning all this happen to be bloggers as well, so while Neeraj questioned the state of negligence towards national game hockey [2] whose players have never been awarded even a quarter of what the cricket team got, some media persons, like Rajesh [3], got their chance to attack Gujarat chief minister Mr.Narendra Modi since his government didn't announce any award for the Pathan brothers who are from his state. Irfan Pathan played a key role in the World Cup final claiming 3 important wickets. Perhaps fearing political and media backlash for not making offerings to the gods of the moment, Modi government announced the cash awards for the Pathan brothers. However now that that issue has been taken care off, Rajesh pounced back on government [4] for giving godly treatment to cricketers while hockey and its players are neglected!! Talk about turn arounds, this is the fastest I've seen in a while!! ;)

But this is not all, some Indian Hockey Team players seem to be considering going on a hunger strike in protest against lack of awards for them after their recent win in Asia Cup while the cricket team got a truckload of goodies from state governments! Meanwhile, since a lot had already been written on Cricket vs. Hockey on the awards and rewards issue, Jitu wrote about his childhood days & his experiments with cricket [5], cricket is in the air afterall!!

And India celebrated this 28th as 100 years earlier on this day a boy was born in a sikh family in Lyallpur(now known as Faisalabad which is in Pakistan). This boy was named Bhagat Singh [6] who went on to become the most celebrated martyr in the Indian struggle for independence. Bhagat Singh, at the young age of 23, laid down his life for the nation & for his desire of independence from the British; he was hanged on 23rd March 1931 along with two of his less celebrated revolutionary friends Sukhdev [7] and Rajguru [8]. While a number [9] of bloggers [10] wrote [11] on the occasion keying in their thoughts on the great martyr, I didn't find a single mention of Sukhdev or Rajguru who also got the hanging besides Bhagat Singh for just about same reasons, nor did I come across any tribute for Sukhdev on 15th May, the date on which this great revolutionary was born in 1907, just 4 months and 13 days before Bhagat Singh was born!! Feeling not-so-good thoughts/emotions at work inside, I didn't bother reading up on more Bhagat Singh tribute blog posts. Nothing against the great martyr but I feel that his two loyal friends who lived & died by his side sharing the same ideals have been robbed of their share of limelight which they very rightfully deserve!

Links courtesy: Narad [12]