Poor India’s Rich Tendulkar Drama

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Sachin Tendulkar, India’s most famous cricket player, with some dubious characters at IPL auctions. These characters, and many more after them, transformed cricket once and for all. (Note: I am not questioning Sachin’s integrity.)

“A million dollars is what some [Indian] cricketers now earn in a month.” (From: http://www.caravanmagazine.in/reportage/flood)

I just heard that after finishing off the Calcutta test match today in three days against a pathetically weak West Indies, India’s super-rich, billionaire players did not bother to tip the workers and caretakers at the Eden Gardens. They left hurriedly. That is another history off the record books!

India’s famous cricket player Sachin Tendular is retiring, and the country is going big-time soppy-weepy about it. At least, India’s media is definitely putting together quite a tearjerker show at the behest of cricket tycoons and multinational corporations and India’s corrupt administrations.

Sachin is set to retire from test cricket after playing a record 200 test matches (a boring, five-day British relic). He’s going to do it in Bombay, in about a week.

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A small fragment of what they make.

Look, I have nothing against Sachin Tendulkar as a person. Even though he made an obscene amount of money in his cricket years, especially since Indian Premier League started a few years ago and ads and sponsorship dollars became more available in India than running water for its most people, and even though just before his retirement, Sachin decided to become a nominated parliament member of the country signing on to the corrupt, ruling Congress Party and its corrupt dynasty, I have NO doubt that he is definitely one of the best cricket players the world of cricket has ever seen. Even though, nobody other than the Commonwealth nations — the old British colonies — play the game. My British friends laugh about it: even British women mostly go to watch Man U and Chelsea. Even West Indies, the once-mighty cricket nation known for its Garfield Sobers and Viv Richards and Malcolm Marshall, do not consider cricket to be a top priority. Their Jamaica has now Usain Bolt to brag about!

But the drama that is breaking out in India right now is simply crazy and absurd. I mean, what really is so crazy about it in a country where most children still do not get enough to eat, go to school, or have a health checkup, ever? Isn’t this MY country where women get molested in broad daylight every single day, religious and caste violence is a regular phenomenon, and even a small-sized hurricane or earthquake devastates millions of people permanently?

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India’s poverty, today. By India’s standard of poverty, not by a U.S. or European poverty-line.


Isn’t it the same India where millions of farmers keep committing suicide — right now, as we speak — because of multinational corporations such as Monsanto cheating of their livelihoods and insurmountable debt? Isn’t it the same India where blind Union Carbide victims keep protesting on the street?

I grew up playing cricket. I loved it. I played countless hours of cricket and football on our alleys, parks and school ground. Heck, I even played summer championship for my high school at the famous Eden Gardens of Calcutta where Sachin just played his last-but-one career test match today.

Nowhere in the history of India and its game of cricket the country’s players have amassed such a massive wealth, not just by many surreptitious processes and unaccounted-for, untaxed dollar fiestas, but by diverting the country’s meager resources away from other sports, and also abusing the country’s precious money for maximum-security personnel, closed-off traffic and special transportation, first-class private jets, and all. In my days growing up in India and playing and watching cricket, I’ve never seen such obscene show of money, muscle, media and political manipulation by this one sport industry.

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He is now a nominated parliament member of India.

Sachin Tendulkar has always been a big part of this mega industry, and he never regretted the massive arrangements to protect and promote him and the other celebrity cricket players. He never challenged the corrupt and violent machinery, some underworld, that transformed the once-artistic game of cricket into today’s grotesque power show.

Again, this is in India, a country where most children still do not get enough to eat, most mothers are malnourished, underworld killing of female fetuses is an industry, bride burning and acid throwing and dowry deaths and gang rapes are daily occurrences, literally.

Indian powers needed a massive distraction especially now that the national elections are coming up fast. In Sachin’s retirement, they found one. Their media were delighted they did.

Stumps, Sachin. Thank you for what you’ve done for the game…on the ground. It’s about time you speak up…off the ground!

Partha

Brooklyn, New York

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P.S. — How much do the super rich cricket players in India actually make? This is from Forbes, a reputable U.S. magazine.

“Take Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who plays for the Chennai Super Kings and tops our list as cricket’s first $10 million-a-year man (that’s $5,426 for each run scored). His $8 million in endorsements, from the likes of Reebok, General Electric and Pepsi , is 45% higher than any other player. Among all Indian athletes and entertainers, Dhoni’s 17 corporate sponsors is second to only Bollywood star and co-owner of the Knight Riders, Shah Rukh Khan.

Cricket’s second highest earner is Sachin Tendulkar. The holder of numerous offensive records, Tendulkar, known to fans as Little Master, is considered among the greatest batsman in cricket history. Now in the twilight of his career, he’s one of five IPL players who have been bestowed “icon” status, meaning he automatically receives a paycheck 15% larger than his highest paid teammate. Tendulkar’s $1.1 million salary from the Mumbai Indians helped push his total earnings to $8 million over the last 12 months.”

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