Caught & bowled

This was one bouncer that Sachin should have ideally ducked. The ruling bowlers clearly wanted to draw him out and nudge him and he is now caught, clean and square. Small wonder they are gloating over this prize scalp even as us spectators remain bewildered on how the respected player could bite the bait and become such an easy victim.

The purpose of RS nominations is to offer an opportunity for distinguished persons in the fields of literature, Science, Arts and Social Service to find a place without going through the arduous, and often embarrassing process of election. The spirit behind such a provision is to facilitate non-political persons of repute to contribute to Parliament and the nation. Of course, such lofty Constitutional intents have been grounded long back and RS seats have become some kind of patronage currency at the disposal of the ruling parties. While distinguished exceptions do exist, the distinction between them and the unworthy has blurred owing to the soiled Hands that deliver the ‘favour’!

That Sachin felt grateful enough to call on Signora Sonia smacks of some kind of fixing, meaning, his prior consent. Maybe the affinity is because both had ‘renounced’ leadership in favour of Sardars or owing to the coincidence of Sachin’s career and the Bofors scandal starting to boom almost at the same time in the late ‘80s. But it is obvious that the Cong party’s move has less to do with honouring Sachin and more towards shoring up its own shattered image. Being the first sportsperson, an active one at that, to be so nominated also helps the Cong bask in his limelight, which at present is shining at its brightest. That Sachin too, like many ‘honest, honourable’ men should lend his credentials and credibility to the service of such foul political players is quite sad.

It does not make sense in many other ways too. Never before has the Parliament of the country been under such a cloud as the present. A key issue is the non-functioning of Parli owing to both presence and absence: Ruckus when it is packed and full, and lack of even quorum for key legislation when members just keep off. Unless he picks the cue inherent in entering the House of Elders and retires, Sachin’s will be an unlikely presence in Parli. Given current cricketing trends, he is likely to spend more time in the rounded grounds all around the world, rather than in the circular sanctum of our democracy, marking his political innings with uncharacterestic no-shows.

The other raging issue is the declining quality of debate and behaviour. Now, even on rare, and that too brief attendances that he may mark, what is he expected to achieve? Talk on cricketing issues? But then don’t we have an overdose already? Or will he lend voice to other public issues? In which case will he be around for serious talk and follow-up or just make momentary symbolic gestures, for the byte-hungry media to crunch for hours? What about the political slugfests that dominate Parli? Can he then play with a straight bat, rather bat at all, having been snapped up by an unholy political league? Or will he take a strategic time out?

Popular stars pose other problems. How will the fellow ‘stall’-’warts’ deal with this stalwart? Will the MP fan club that cuts across parties rise and clap whenever he enters, rises or speaks, making a stadium of the House? What of the negligible critics? Will they now use cricket balls instead of the familiar mikes and paperweights? Indeed, it is a queered pitch and an unfair battle, for any criticism of Sachin would be deemed not just a violation of Privilege, but an act of blasphemy by the crazed and dazed crowds outside and beyond. And we are not yet talking of the fat fees and perks, from public funds that an MP is entitled to, but someone like Sachin can eminently do without. Really, while Parli is unlikely to be enhanced by Sachin’s nomination, Sachin himself would be better off with India colours sans political colours.

With the Bofors gun backfiring, the Cong has played a seeming smart card to deflect attention from the countless skeletons of varying vintage tumbling from its sordid cupboards. But alas, how even some beautiful people can willynilly become part of such ugly spectacles!

e-mail the writer at [email protected]

Jawahar T R