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An open letter to N Srinivasan

N Srinivasan © Getty Images
N Srinivasan © Getty Images

Dear Mr Srinivasan,

Now that the time for you has come to finally step aside, wouldn’t you like to wrestle out of the sorry situation the slightest smidgen of personal dignity and honour you can manage? Let’s face it, Mr Srinivasan, your behaviour in the face of so much opposition to your sticking on to your Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) post has come in for ridicule. Why don’t you try and salvage the situation just a teeny bit by writing a letter addressed to all your detractors, within the BCCI organisation, the judiciary, the Indian Premier League (IPL) board, players and the cricket-loving public in general, apologising, and explaining why the post meant so much to you? Believe me, it might just retrieve a bit of your dignity, something that many would consider way more important than a post in a sports body.

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A sincere well-composed and timely letter might be a step in the right direction. I am thinking of the letter written by David Petraeus to CIA employees when he resigned over his affair. ‘After being married for over 37 years, I showed extremely poor judgment by engaging in an extramarital affair. Such behaviour is unacceptable, both as a husband and as the leader of an organisation such as ours. This afternoon, the President graciously accepted my resignation. ‘ He’d written and believe me his brave words, flinching not from his act of trespass, won him many admirers around the world. There is a lot of dignity accrued to a powerful and famous man when he admits publicly that he has acted with dishonour and the public often forgives him just for this admittance. Why don’t you try this route? It might just work. If you do, I would urge you to consider perusing the letter Andrew Mitchell wrote when he sought resignation from his post as UK Government Chief Whip: ‘Over the last two days it has become clear to me that whatever the rights and wrongs of the matter I will not be able to fulfil my duties as we both would wish. Nor is it fair to continue to put my family and colleagues through this upsetting and damaging publicity.’

Don’t you think a few words from you, showing concern for the mental agony suffered by your colleagues in the BCCI and IPL franchise owners and players and your own family is called for? A line to this effect might just act as a salve to their wounds. I urge you to consider TV host Conan O’ Brien’s letter addressed to ‘ People of the Earth’ when he resigned from hosting his talk show on NBC.

His explanation of the passion and joy his job brought him and shed light on why it mattered so much to him. ‘Six years ago, I signed a contract with NBC to take over The Tonight Show in June of 2009. Like a lot of us, I grew up watching Johnny Carson every night and the chance to one day sit in that chair has meant everything to me. I worked long and hard to get that opportunity, passed up far more lucrative offers, and since 2004 I have spent literally hundreds of hours thinking of ways to extend the franchise long into the future.’ What was so endearing about the letter was that even with its impassioned tone he ended it with a flip sign off striking the perfect tone between gravitas and light humour: ‘Have a great day and, for the record, I am truly sorry about my hair; it’s always been that way.’

He’d said. Of course, in your case I would recommend a completely different sign off. In your case Mr Srinivasan, I would recommend that after apologising for your conduct and behaviour in the past few weeks, that you, apologise to your gay son and his partner for the suffering and humiliation you brought on to them and to other LGBT people by displaying such a venal sense of homophobia. I hope you consider writing such a letter before you take your leave from the public imagination. Believe me, letters do work. Have a great day and don’t work so hard — there’s life beyond the office!

Yours sincerely, etc,

Malavika Sangghvi

(Malavika Sangghvi is among the well-known writers of the country. The above column first appeared in DNA)

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