Why Team India is full of Munnabhais following Gandhian principles!

MS Dhoni (L) learning principles of non-violence from Mahatma Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi has been undoubtedly recognised across the globe as perhaps the greatest apostle of peace. Bestowed with the title of “The Father of the Nation”, the Mahatma abdicated and abhorred violence of any and every sort. Taking recourse to an unparalleled display of doggedness, determination and dedication, Gandhiji – as he was reverently known – became instrumental in India attaining Independence from the colonial rule of the English.

As Albert Einstein famously remarked, the principles propounded by this loin-clad, iron-willed peacemaker, were valid in the past, are valid in the present and would continue to be valid in the future.

A classic and practical exhibition of this facet is provided for the world’s viewing by none other than the Indian cricket team. They currently ought to be the strictest, stringent and most puritanical set of Gandhians populating the largest democracy in the Planet. An attempt has been made in the following paragraphs to confirm the above-mentioned statement. A few famous quotes of the Mahatma and a demonstration of a clinical adherence to the principles propounded therein by the Indian cricket team ought to clinch the matter.

1. “I cannot teach you violence, as I do not myself believe in it. I can only teach you not to bow your heads before anyone, even at the cost of your life”

Even as Alastair Cook indulged in a remorseless, relentless and rapacious plunder, MS Dhoni’s brave men did not resort to an act of ulterior reciprocity. With heads held high and with an enviable repertoire of patience, they kept on encouraging the pillaging by feeding Cook with what he wanted. The whole world could witness the gluttony and selfishness of the marauder! If only the English captain had a conscience by now it ought to have been both ‘shaken’ and ‘stirred’! When young Cheteshwar Pujara rallied forth being inspired by his rampaging opponent, he was quickly reined in by the clarion-call of peace and non-violence. Soon the aberration was forgiven, forgotten and normalcy restored. While such an act of docile albeit dogged paradoxical defiance might not cost the Indian cricket team their lives, it sure could prove to be costly. But when it comes to a stand-off between altruism and avarice, it is a matter of honour and pride to opt for the former instead of the latter. Dhoni’s lads have chosen well.

2. “Victory attained by violence is tantamount to defeat, for it is momentary”

This is a direct corollary to the first-mentioned noble deed. The Indian team knows that inflicting humiliating and hugely obscene defeats upon the opposition is, but a fleeting and ephemeral feeling which is never long lasting, but purely momentary. While the hosts grasped this philosophy in no time after a mistaken victory in the first Test at Ahmedabad, England do not seem to have learnt the fundamental moral lessons of life. What can victory at best bestow upon the victors? The spoils would in all likelihood be a few points in the ranking system (a trivial symbolic climb up the ladder of greed), reveling in a wrongly-perceived accomplishment by engaging in a vociferously loud camaraderie with Carlsberg bottles for company (damage to both the lung and liver), playing hard and partying harder (with immense strain to both physical and mental faculties). A series victory at the cost of violently increasing Ravichandran Ashwin’s bowling average, getting Sachin Tendulkar out in all sorts of ways cheaply and unacceptably and ensuring the axing of noble players such as Yuvraj Singh and Harbhajan Singh smacks of barbarism and bohemian callousness!

Even after all such merriment, nothing changes in a larger and true perspective as Sunday remains a Sunday and Monday continues to be a Monday. India are never lulled into this false sense of complacency as they fully know that any visceral victory is never one that is worthy of celebrations.

3. “When you are poor, think about the poorest”

This seemingly simple but phenomenally powerful and profound statement is what gets Dhoni’s team motivated and makes their existence meaningful amidst a tumultuous furore of rants, raves and caustic criticisms. While India might have been thrashed by Australia and trampled upon by England, there are people whose woes are much worse in comparison. Moldova, for example, have never been able to make inroads into underwater hockey in spite of untiring efforts; in dog-dancing contests held in the United Kingdom and the United States, pets routinely embarrass and exasperate their owners; wife carrying contests in Finland have seen men suffer routine humiliation in front of innumerable spectators as they sometimes tumble while carrying a female teammate, who grabs onto her partner’s neck and back while hanging upside-down – and all this over an obstacle course! And yet people lament over the loss of a cricket match!

4. “Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony”

This quote by the revered apostle of peace seems to be tailor made to the Indian team. Throughout the course of the past few months, nobody within the team has thought that they would win; nobody has ever said that they would win and have also done nothing to even remotely suggest that they would win! This situation transcends even happiness and manifests into a state of pure bliss! A perfect synchrony between thought, word and deed!

5. “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others “

The Indian cricket team these days lives to serve others. Whether it be in the capacity of guests (while on tour), or while donning the mantle of hosts, the team always has as its unflinching, unselfish and undeterred objective, the happiness of the opponents. And in this endeavor they have succeeded beyond imaginable means!

6. “It has always been a mystery to me how men can feel themselves honoured by the humiliation of their fellow beings”

Readers please read Quotes 1 and 2, and if you are a reader going by the name of Alastair Cook please note this very, very carefully! The time to change is NOW!

While Dhoni and his devoted lads are steadfast in their intention, inclination and inspiration to firmly tread the path favoured by the Mahatma, an uncomprehendingly exasperated nation collectively sighs out aloud the phrase “Hey Ram”!

(Venkataraman Ganesan is a Chartered Accountant by intent and a lawyer by accident. He has a maniacal penchant for books, more books, still more books and lot more books, when he is not watching cricket that is! He loves his Scotch and scribbles for fun. He blogs at www.the-venkyloquist.com)