British Raj

Indian Cricket needs politicians and here’s why!

(This is a reprint from NewsBred).

Some solutions are worse than problems.

A thief with a criminal backlog was sentenced to seven years in prison for a $3.99 bag in California and it cost the taxpayers upwards of $50,000 to keep him there.

In Vietnam, the French colonial rulers decided cash rewards in exchange for rat tails. Only, the rat population multiplied as rat-catchers took the tails but freed the rats to procreate and produce more off-springs, and thus more tails.

Once during the British Raj, so big was the number of cobras in the Capital Delhi that a reward was offered for every one dead cobra. All it did was that people began breeding cobras in bigger numbers for bigger rewards. When a wiser British government woke up to the situation and scrapped the rewards, the cobra-owners released the venomous creatures and the Capital had double of its numbers.

The Odd-Even scheme to reduce air pollution is similarly unlikely to work for people in cities won’t bat an eyelid in buying another car and you would have more four-wheelers on the streets and thus more poison in the air than before.

Quick fixes don’t work and can go horribly wrong. One such mess has been created by Supreme Court through its appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) to govern cricket in India.

We have a situation where those entrusted with administering the game have no experience of it and who, in turn, are reliant on those who can administer but are better served by a delayed solution.

We thus have game’s ownership without answerability in the hands of a few—the very crisis of transparency and accountability, checks and balances which Supreme Court sought to address in its landmark judgment last year.

In these columns, you have read enough about the blunders and double standards of CoA but do dread the hyenas who are moving in now that the lion has a mouth-clap and his claws are in wraps.

You have the instance of International Cricket Council (ICC), not long ago a stooge of Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), vowing to take away the 2021 Champions’ Trophy from India, and possibly 2023 World Cup, if it can’t secure tax-free events from the Indian government. No less, it also wants the deducted tax of 2016 World Cup restored in its coffers!!!

Supreme Court has opened the sluice gates for official break-up of the game in this country. The Law Commission has moved in with its recommendations that BCCI be made a “public body”, open to questions from the public under the Right to Information Act (RTI).

Bravo! So you could thus soon question why Virat Kohli  chose to bat first in the recent Wanderers’ Test. Or why the combine of Ganguly-Tendulkar-Laxman chose Kumble over Shastri when the latter was delivering gold by tons as India coach.

Once the BCCI’s status as private entity—under the Tamil Nadu Societies Registration Act—goes, BCCI would be subject to harassment and blackmail from all quarters.

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has imposed a penalty of Rs 52.25 crores on BCCI for its anti-competitive conduct of denying access to the market for organization of professional domestic cricket leagues. The standard contract with any broadcaster, to protect its investment, has turned into a penalty for the BCCI.

Supreme Court had intervened after match-fixing scandal hit the IPL fields three seasons ago. The new administrators seem singularly ill-equipped to prevent a repeat—its’ anti-corruption unit chief Neeraj Kumar, former Delhi Police commissioner, doubts his bosses’ resolve to root out corruption. Neeraj Kumar is now set to retire on March 31, 2018 just a week before IPL gets going. All it seems is an invitation to scandals.

Cricket in India could only be run with a powerful figure as its head. Or the horses would bolt. You need close to 50 permissions to host a public event. You have situations where linesmen could hold up a day-night game with power cuts if extorted free passes don’t reach them.

We have our noses screwed on politicians in the game. But they have been great helmsmen in steering the ship at various dangerous bends in the river.  In 2011 World Cup, Sharad Pawar could clear the decks for the Wankhede Stadium when it was battling against a PIL and many such impediments.

Ditto his intervention in tax-cuts for the same event. Under him, BCCI once contributed Rs 50 crores to the Olympic fund. And Rs 12.5 crores to the football federation.

But for NKP Salve, the 1987 World Cup would’ve been a non-starter. Jagmohan Dalmiya and Inderjit Singh Bindra are credited with commercializing cricket in India but the real driving force was Madhavrao Scindia.

Dharmashala today is known more for its cricket stadium than for Dalai Lama. Private airlines (Spice Jet) have more daily flights than Air India for the destination. It’s firmly now on tourism’s map. In 2000, when Anurag Thakur took control of Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) all it had was a room, a table and a steel almirah. In a dozen and half years, the state now has four state-of-the-art cricket stadiums. The beauty of stadium in Bilaspur, running alongside a lake, would take your breath away. It’s the only association which has a five-star hotel (“The Pavillion”) of its own.

Another BJP MP Gokaraju Ganga Raju, and his services to Andhra cricket, could run into pages. In order to ensure that girls are encouraged to take up the game by their parents, hostels and scholarships are provided to them.  In every district of the state!

It’s all very well to suggest that the game must be run as a corporate, professional entity but it’s not produced by a mere wave of hands. Whereas a professional would retire for the day at 5 p.m, countless those—like one Bhatia in Nadaun Stadium, Hamirpur—work round the clock out of loyalty to their politician-lords.

Mere rubbishing the politicians is to deny them their dues. The fanciful corporate structure of an England or Australia is immeasurably more difficult in a bigger and more complex India.

As said, some solutions are worse than problems. Indian cricket, presently on auto mode, is hanging by the edge of a cliff. Everybody seems to have a say, nobody appears in control. Supreme Court would do well to reinstate those men behind the steering wheels who could reverse the mistake and drive Indian cricket to safety.

The “Wright” Satya Pal & sinister media hacks

Dr. Satya Pal Singh, just a fortnight into his induction as junior HRD minister, had a taste of Left-Liberal Cabal’s viciousness when he was lampooned for remarking that it was an Indian, and not Wright Brothers, who invented plane in 1895, a good eight years before.

The usual suspects—NDTVThe Wire and Lutyens’ Media—laid into the upright and erudite minister through hacks breeding in their cesspool. Spiteful headlines and ornery punchlines were stuffed in cadaver of philosophy. Little thought was given to an officer and a gentleman—whose long-stint as a police officer is the stuff of a legend. Nor the Minister’s academic background—an Mphil in Chemistry—deserved a second thought from these stone-pelters.

The Wire in particular—a prototype of Scroll, Huffington Post, Quint etc with anything but good of India in their mind—laid into Dr. Satya Pal Singh with a gusto. It’s a painfully long read, sermonizing, forensically examining the credentials of the Indian in question, Shivkar Bapuji Talpade. The writer finds it a near heresy that Wright Brothers are not seen as ones who invented aeroplane. He chillingly asks us to be ready for a “long spell of darkness” in today’s India.

So, let me break his heart. The claims of Wright Brothers are being written out of history now. There is now a clinching evidence that it was a German, Gustave Whitehead, who flew a “condor” plane in August 1901, a good two years before the Wright Brothers did it. Take the word of the “Bible” of aviation history, Jane’s All the World’s Aircraft, for it.

Still unconvinced? Be forewarned that lawmakers of Connecticut–a US state with no connection to RSS, if you may—have moved a Bill to get Whitehead his rightful due.

Want more heat? Whitehead’s story has popped up every few decades in the last 100 years. No less that 17 eye-witnesses and newspaper reports backed Whitehead’s credentials. Fourteen of these accounts have been notarized. Aviation historians say there are compelling reasons to throw out Wright Brothers’ claims.

Jane’s Journal assiduously researched the claim of aviation expert John Brown and declared: “(Whitehead’s flight), it must be stressed, was more than two years before the Wright Brothers manhandled their flyer from its shed and flew a couple of hundred feet in a straight line…(thus) an injustice is rectified…”

Google would show you that some consider the stuff of Wright Brothers the biggest fraud in history. Reports abound that Wright Brothers didn’t as much do their flight as “catapulted” it –by going doing the hill off an inclining. Folks, there is a difference between a hop and a real flight.

Now steel up for this gut in the blow, you hacks. Wrights signed a contract to give the Smithsonian Museum the brothers’ plane with the clause that the museum would never declare another aircraft was the first to achieved powered flight!!! (check this link)

Aviation historian Tom Crouch says that the Wrights “stuck one clause into the contract that said if the Smithsonian ever says anybody flew before the Wright brothers, we have the right to take the airplane back.

“That clause is in fact still in the contract.”

The claims of Wright Brothers’ being thus grounded, let’s turn our attention to Talpade who–the poor chap–has been dragged to cleaners by these unscrupulous jackals. The Wire goes to obscene lengths to deny Talpade the credit but still had to concede it was a “disputed—(and not false)—claim.” In their unscrupulous rush, they concealed facts such as:

(a)      There is a Wikipedia page on Talpade and his achievement which precedes Dr. Satya Pal’s assertion by years;

(b)     There are numerous newspaper reports, including Times of India,  in the last two decades on Talpade’s feat; 

(c)      That just two years ago, a biopic Hawaizada, starring Ayushmann Khurrana, on Talpade’s aviation feat had an all-India release.

The Wire, quite stupidly, claims that Talpade’s was a primitive flight which didn’t go beyond 1500 metres in the air. Who are we to tell the online rag that Whitehead’s claim today is being acknowledged for only being 50 metres above the ground! And that Wrights’ first didn’t go beyond 115 metres.and that too through an incline.

There is such a rush to “hunt down” any facts which supports India and its glorious past these days. It was the imperial policy of British Raj which was duly bequeathed to Indians educated in Western mores. Call them brainwashed or paid agents, whatever, but surely compromised nevertheless. In double quick time they jump to discredit our heritage, lest it becomes widespread and Indian masses wake up to their ancient glory.  A Rahul Gandhi can make a stupid claim of “All-NRIs” on foreign soil but you won’t find presstitutes go for his throat.

This academic mafia intends to make Hindutava advocates duck for cover and retreat into their shells. The narrative, in their view, must not be allowed to gain a traction. Have you read any follow-up on India having discovered “zero” at least 500 years before the accepted date as was recently found by the world?  Or that India “invented” the Decimal System? Or our atom theory which the modern world acknowledges as quantum physics? Or India’s spectacular science of astronomy, never mind its astonishing advancements in steel-manufacturing?

It was famous historian Will Durant who had said: “India was the motherland of our race, and Sanskrit the mother of Europe’s languages: she was the mother of our philosophy; mother, through the Arabs, of much of our mathematics; mother, through the Buddha, of the ideals embodied in Christianity; mother, through the village community, of self-government and democracy. Mother India is in many ways the mother of us all”.

So, it’s time to stand up and applaud the Minister. Flush out all the facts on Talpade and give India’s forgotten hero his due. Present his credentials to Jane’s Journal or similar authorities. And a simple message to academic charlatans:

Shut Up. 

Why “Shaktimaan” matters and not cows in India

We all know Shaktimaan the horse. From March 14 to April 20 this year, between its unfortunate injury and death, it remained a front page news on our lily-pure newspapers. Such love for protection of animals doesn’t extend to illegal cow slaughters. Never ever a word. Instead, cow-protectors are seen as a plot of Hindutva’s agenda. That veneration for cows, without VHP, RSS or BJP prop, doesn’t exist.

Before I am dismissed as a Hindutva foot-soldier, an anti-Dalit, anti-Muslim, anti-beef Hindu fundamentalist, let’s look at Indian constitution’s position. After all, this is where all hysteria should end.

Prohibition of cow slaughter is a Directive Principle of State Policy in Article 48 of the Constitution. It says: “The state shall endeavour…in prohibiting the slaughter of cows and calves and other milch and draught cattle.” On October 26, 2005, the Supreme Court of India upheld the constitutional validity of anti-cow slaughter laws. Only Kerala, West Bengal and India’s northeast don’t have any restrictions on cow slaughter.

Before you burn me at the stake on beef trade, remember most beef produced, consumed and exported is buffalo meat which is not considered sacred to a Hindu. Besides, most cow-slaughterhouses are illegal. It’s a rampant illegal practice where cows are shipped to restriction-free states. Wikipedia says: “In 2013 in Andhra Pradesh, there were 3,100 illegal and 6 licensed slaughterhouses in the state.”

Sure, in practice, States take uneven position on the matter. Delhi, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh have the strictest laws against cow-slaughter. Assam and West Bengal permit slaughter of cows 10-14 years old. In many states though cow-slaughter is a non-bailable offence. The terms of imprisonment could extend from a mandatory 6 months to 5 years.

So get this straight. Cow slaughter makes you a criminal in most of India. And please spare me this Hindutva tag. For cow slaughter was opposed by notable Muslims from the Mughals’ times.

Muslims and cow-slaughter

Emperor Babar ruled in 1526 that killing of cows was forbidden. Akbar (1556-1605), Jahangir (1605-1627), Ahmed Shah (1748-1754) all had restricted bans on cow slaughter. Yes, Aurangzeb deviated but Bahadur Shah Zafar completely banned cow slaughter in 1857. The de facto sultan of Mysore, Hyder Ali (1762-1785), punished cow-slaughter offenders by cutting off their hands.

It’s a fallacy that cow-slaughter in India began with the arrival of Islam. Vedas describe many gods such as Indra and Agni having preference for cattle meat. Sure the various invasions of Islamic rulers around 1000 AD made it common. Along with sacrifices of goats and sheet, cows too became a sacrificial animal, particularly on the occasion of Bakri-Id.

As in most things, British rule in India was trouble. They were used to eating beef. Slaughterhouses sprang up all over India. In 1944, British placed restrictions on slaughter due to cattle shortage. After all, they were required for transport, cultivation and milk among other purposes. But it came too late in the day. A historical survey, between 1717-1977, reveal that out of 167 communal riots, 22 were directly attributed to cow slaughter.

Arya Samaj, which opposed many existing practices of Hinduism in the 19th century, including idol worship, polytheism, child marriage, widow celibacy, the caste system, accepted the cow worship. Dayananda Saraswathi in 1881 opposed cow-slaughter as an anti-Hindu act. In 1683, Sambhaji, the eldest son of Shivaji, is said to have executed a cow-slaughter offender.

Ranjit Singh (1801-1839), founder of the Sikh Empire, banned cow slaughter throughout his domains. Cow was as sacred to the Sikhs as to the Hindus. Cow slaughter was a capital offence and offenders were even executed.

Let’s look at the stands of our revered leaders during British Raj. Mahatama Gandhi, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Lala Lajpat Rai, Madan Mohan Malviya, Dr. Rajendra Prasad all had vowed to ban cow-slaughter in case India got its “Swaraj.” Let’s listen to Gandhi’s words: “Not even to win Swaraj, will I renounce my principle of cow protection…I worship and I shall defend its worship against the whole world. The central fact of Hinduism is cow protection.”

In 1966, Loknayak Jayaprakash Narayan wrote thus to the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi: “For myself, I cannot understand why, in a Hindu majority country like India…there cannot be a legal (cow slaughter) ban.”

Why Cows Matter

Animals have always been worshipped in India as deities. Elephant-god Ganesh, monkey-god Hanuman, Vishnu’s fish, tortoise and boar forms, their “vahanas” such as swan, bull, lion and tiger were all major deities. As well as snakes out of fear; and crows as the abode of the dead.

Cows are sacred to Hindus as a companion to Lord Krishna. Dairy products have always been essential in Hindu culture. Panchagayya, a mixture of five products of cow milk, curd, ghee, urine and dung, is consumed in Brahmanical rituals. Cows and bull—such as “Nandi”—have been the symbols of Dharma. Owning cattle was—and is—a status symbol in many parts of India. It’s dung is a source of fuel and fertilizer. Hence, its position as a maternal figure—“Gau Mata”– to a Hindu’s mind. Buddhism and Jainism both rooted for cow-protection.

It’s a delicious irony of history that Hindus and Muslims together revolted against the British East India Company in 1857 for being made to use gunpowder greased with cow and pig fat. As cow is sacred to Hindus, the consumption of swine is forbidden in Islam.

So recognize facts as they are. Sure punish where law is taken into hands. But for god’s sake, don’t think cow-protection is a political manipulation. It’s constitutionally guaranteed and you subvert it at your own peril.