Monday, March 26, 2007

Cricket as a Cult

Hmm.. there we go again.. a billion shattered dreams, a millions bucks down the drain, not to miss the wasted time, energy and effort that goes into following Indian cricket. India's instantaneous exit from World Cup Circa2007 has a familiar sense of deja vu. As an angry and dejected fan, I ask myself why do i follow this sport and this team. Even a minimal application of common sense would indicate, that Indian cricket is destined to doom. Managed by one of the world's richest and most corrupt set of people, played by 11 demi gods, followed by a billion passionate fans, fed by an unending stream of dollars and shadowed by the murky world of match fixing, Indian cricket is a blot in the name of professional sports. I don't see any other place in the world where so much love and money is showered on a bunch of 11 inept individuals. But still, an Indian cricket fan (including me) always never misses an opportunity to follow the travails of this team...Is it mere patriotism, love of the game or nostalgia that pushes me into doing this.. I stop to ponder .. why?

It then dawned on me.. that Indian cricket is very much akin to a cult...I have seen many cults in my life and i have fair sense of how they work...You have many intelligent educated and normal people, who after becomin a part of the cult become inured to logic and sense. They follow this 'guru's' and his many pithies to the dot. Cult members are notorious for losing their sense of reasoning and are prone to acting weird.. They keep donating their hard earned millions to this cult for few moments of supposed bliss..Yes I proclaim Indians are member of this massive cult called Cricket!!..Why you may ask!

Take a deep breath and look at it objectively ..As members of this cult , we are bound by our sense of loyalty to keep following the shenanigans of this team as the BCCI gorges on millions of our $$$ that we throw at them. Just like in any others cult, there is a very minimal sense of responsibility that enjoins the cult heads.Just like many of the 'guru's' supposed 'wisdom's' which are nothing more than inanities passed of as 'truths', we can very soon expect some pathetic cosmetic changes (sacking the coach, captain, shuffling the team etc) only to be fooled into believing that they are fundamental changes for a bright future. Like many of the cult heads who perform miracles once in a while (e.g conjuring holy ash from thin air) to keep up the morale of their supporters (a.k.a financiers)..we can soon see Indian team go about winning an one odd game in a far away land to keep up the spirits of its billion followers!..

Being a member of a false cults is a very dangerous failing for a human mind..Since the mind atrophies and is is in a perennial state of dysfunction, its hard for the human mind to come out of its ill effects.. In many ways false cults are very much like narcotics.. They destroy the mind, body and soul and at the same time providing temporary and instant gratification..

In India, cricket has often been described as a 'religion'. I disagree with that analogy, simply because, in the Indian context religion allows a fair amount of course correction, responsibility and there is a basic dharma that holds it all.. In cricket, the fundamental aspect of Karma has been thrown out of the window and is illogical by every account. No professional sport, works the way Indian cricket does. I do not buy the argument that an Indian loves his cricket any more than a Brazilian loves his football or an American his NFL..Yet Indian cricket lacks any of the features that is a hallmark of a multi million dollar professional sport..

As i deliberate on Indian cricket and its failings, I am trying to get my mind out of this game for good and to get out of its deleterious effects. I know this is easier said than done, since I have spent a larger portion of my life following this game with a passion that I now regret deeply. Its hard to discard the thread that defines in many ways who I am as a man, but Indian cricket as it is being played now and will be in the foreseeable future does not deserve my time or money. Its time to jump off the cult...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Comment before reading your blog:
Who is preethi pathanjali?

Comment after reading your blog:
Please let us know the antidote for "cricket cultism"

March 26, 2007 11:51 AM  
Blogger Harish said...

answering the second question..
the first antidote is to accept that you are in the cult..
Getting to accept that is a very critical step in finding a remedy..
Its easier said than done if you like u r fellow Indians u r a die hard cricket crazy fan...!!!

March 26, 2007 2:42 PM  
Blogger deepu said...

Dont you think Cricket is best described as religion in India? Like in any religion you have blind faith in the game!Also the very fact that there are televised rituals, of priests bestowing blessings on the team is a fine example of that?!

March 26, 2007 3:02 PM  
Blogger Harish said...

I guess i explained why i thought religion was not applicable to something like cricket..

Cult is more blind..Religions (the non-semitic variety) have way much more rationality inbuilt in them
A religion like Hinduism never encourages blind faith...while many cults that propogate any number of faiths..unabashedly do so...

March 26, 2007 3:28 PM  
Blogger Krishna said...

This is not something limited to cricket alone. And this is definitely not limited to India alone. If you have been to school here in the US, and if your school has a decent enough team, you might know a little more about what is now called as March Madness - or rather, if your school did not have a good team, you might know better.
If you are in Boston or NY, you would know more about the effects of a Yankees-Red Sox game.
Are these so called 'cults' something to stay away from, or are these something we will always like to be a part of. If not cricket, I suspect we will move to the next thing. Btw, I suppose you also know the kind of following that soccer gets in Europe!

These are cults/religion/... that we just love to hate.

March 26, 2007 6:22 PM  
Blogger Harish said...

Hmm i think u r missing the point here...Following sports or sporting rivalries is a very normal or natural thing..and is not what a 'cult' is..

The unnatural act (according 2 me) is following a game like Indian cricket..

The Yankee Sox rivalries are incredibly intense and the levels to which they (the teams, the coaches) raise themselves, plan and play has absolutely no comparisons to the way we play cricket..That comparison is shaky at soooo mannnnnnny levels!! NFL according to me is one of the best run sports organisations in the world.. FIFA for all the money and influence they have is definitely way better run than BCCI and cricket..

Btw..its meaningless according to me to compare the professionally and incredibly well run sports, sports bodies in USA (NFL, NBA etc) to something like Indian cricket..

March 26, 2007 6:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ur comparison sounds quite apt !

March 27, 2007 2:17 PM  
Blogger Harish said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

March 27, 2007 4:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The article about cricket is really really great. I am sad that the awakening in today's Indian youth is just emerging. I hope this article is widely read. Some beginning should be made so that many other sports are encouraged in a true professional way. There are a lot of TV shows;there is a lot of Post Mortem regarding cricket and the many inabilities in its manangement in Indian Arena. Everyone compares with every other country's CRICKET and only cricket. That many other spors are encouraged in many other countries is a totally missed out point. India, which is abundant in intelligent and hard-working HumanResources, a point which has been acknowledged the world over-IT outsourcing is one example- fails in 'sports'. We dont even reach the qualifying rounds when it comes to Olympics. We need a driving force to change ourselves- a self-assessment, the high need of the hour: should not encourage anything which is not productive,which aims at fooling us; which encourage only hero worship;which ultimately results in waste of time.

April 06, 2007 8:51 AM  

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