Yuvraj Singh has been subject to abuse by irate fans after his display in the ICC World T20 2014 final © Getty Images
The Indian mob-mentality showed its ugly self yet again. Hriday Ranjan explains how the spinelessness of the society keeps on resurfacing time and again.
In the last three overs of the Indian innings in the ICC World T20 2014 final against Sri Lanka, one could have guessed a storm was brewing. Many logged onto Facebook to check out Yuvraj Singh’s page, and found people trolling him. Some of the posts were really funny. When one scrolled down some more, then there were a few that were not very funny, some that were poor attempts, and finally, some that really lacked in taste.
Which is why the author was not surprised the next day when headlines read of Yuvraj’s house getting pelted with stones. People wished that he had died of cancer, than to come back and play in the final.
Whenever such an incident comes up, there are two common explanations. The first explanation for it is that we as Indians are emotional people. That we love cricket as a sport and it is the frustration of people whose only bright spot in life and popular culture is films and cricket.
This is an absurd explanation. But if we were really passionate about the sport, we would know that a team sport is dependent on the entire team. If they scratched a little more, they’d also know that a team sport is dependent on a variety of external things — luck, strategy and playing conditions. And if they really had an IQ of 80-plus, they’d know that it is really difficult to hit yorkers outside the off-stump.
The second is that it comes with being a sporting icon. When people love you, you enjoy the success, the grandeur, the fame and the wealth. If you go through the ups, you also have to grin and bear the downs.
Because we are not Taliban?
Because we are a supposed civilised democracy in 2014?
Come to think of it, what really did he do? Did he fix a match? Did he pursue and hack someone to death? He had a bad day at work. In the way that you and I do. Now when your boss asks you to come meet him, do you stone his house and blacken his face?
Na. He has power over you.
That is the second thing about the mob frenzy.
Has anyone seen stones pelted at a politician’s house? What about N Srinivasan — the guy who has been accused of running a betting racket? Or A Raja? Or Suresh Kalmadi — that other Indian who was really passionate about sport?
Or the police officers who roam the streets like modern day Razakars? Or the builder who built that pathetic road outside your house? Na. No, sir.
You know why? Because they are powerful. Because if you try to get near their house, their bodyguards will punch you till your small intestine becomes your large intestine and your liver becomes a dier.
And so we always choose the easy preys. Actors, authors, cricketers, social workers and women in pubs. Those not powerful enough to defend themselves.
If somebody was watching from Uranus, they’d shake their heads and laugh. To start with, the hundred crores of us follow only one sport. A sport that only eight other countries play at the top level. The others just make up the numbers.
It’s sad in a pathetic way.
(Based in Hyderabad, Hriday Ranjan blogs at http://heartranjan.wordpress.com/. His first book Xanadu Nights should be out shortly. His Twitter handle is @heartranjan)