Poor India’s Rich Tendulkar Drama

Image

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.

Image

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?

Image

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.

Image

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

###

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.”

Image

8 thoughts on “Poor India’s Rich Tendulkar Drama

  1. Dear Partha, I agree there is a lot of money in Cricket but what makes you think any sport is better or worse than others…if all countries don’t play a game – it doesn’t make the game any smaller. US is crazy about baseball, basketball and football – how many countries play those at the highest level? And about your comment for a poor country – I agree there is poverty in India, but how much of a contribution have you or I made to that? Do we think twice before eating at a fancy restaurant that our bill could feed a family for a month! Please try not to be cynical about something good just because there is something bad out there. There are very few sportsmen in the world in ANY sport who have been able to command the respect and contribute as much to the game – every tear drop shed in India is cherished in this great icon’s respect – you only get what you deserve/earn!

  2. I agree that NO sports improves any country’s ECONOMIC conditions as a whole, but if you take that argument forward then we should not have Olympics or Soccer World Cups and only focus on poverty in Asia and Africa…while a lot needs to be done for poverty – sports is another domain that does however impact SOCIETY…in times of peace (which the world as a whole has enjoyed since 1947, more or less) – sports is the greatest instrument for national integration and inspiration. Especially in a country like hours where differentiation exponentially higher than integration…this man and sport unites like no other…across religion, states, politics and caste – that’s what the name Sachin Tendulkar brings…not just a mere sports personality from India!

  3. World cups and Olympics only serve the rich individuals and corporations to make more money. They do not do anything to lift the countless poor get out of poverty and despair. India is in serious economic and political crisis. Its social fabric is falling apart. The people in power need this Sachin Tendulkar distraction. Media exploit the middle class’s stupidity and distract them even more.

    1. Oh, so you think majority of people in this country are stupid? I’m sorry…you couldn’t be more mistaken, media can drive only that which the medium want – if a news channel keeps running “Congress government is corruption free” – would the stupid middle class buy that? The golden rule of media says media is a reflection of society and what society wants!
      According to you, there should be no sports, no movies, no entertainment, no cars, no computers and what not – since none of these make money for the poor or benefit them…sorry man, there are a hundred things to blame for the state of politics and hundreds more better reasons to blame for the state of Indian economy – you target something which has almost no relation to Indian or Global economics…sports is an integral part of society and sporting icons are a necessity. Anyway, I think we both have our opinions which won’t change, nice interacting with you!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s