Monday, June 3, 2013

When fools still pay to watch cricket, it is time to dream of mosquitoes

Most of us will dismiss it as wild imagination if someone said that the ongoing cricket scandal was unleashed to save Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh from embarrassment. True, the Ashwini Kumar/Pavan Bansal disgrace had brought the trail of corruption to the doorstep of the Prime Minister, from where the doorstep of the Congress boss was not far. But now no one talks about the coal scandal or the Italian helicopter deal. All talk is about Srinivasan and Meiyappan, Sreesanth and cheer girls.

Does burying one scandal with another make any difference to us, the battered millions of this ancient land? Is there a difference between getting defrauded by politicians in the morning and by sports people in the evening? One way to answer that question is by asking another: Is there a difference between gang-rape in a taxi and gang-rape in a bus? The truth is that citizens are abused and exploited by everyone in a position to do so.

It's all about getting rich. Politicians become rich by robbing people, cricket becomes rich by cheating fans. When robbers joined cheats, cricket turned evil. This happened well before Cement Srinivasan became the Master of the Mess. Even those who engaged in blood feuds in Parliament became soul brothers in cricket's boardrooms. If the Congress, the BJP and the NCP could show in running the country half the cooperation they show in running cricket, our country would have been a happier place.

Actually they cooperate in cricket to milk the country. Their combined influence has kept the BCCI beyond routine laws such as the Right to Information. The richest club in the world, it gets largesse, exemptions and concessions at the expense of tax payers. All for what? To invent aberrations like Cheer Girls' Cricket and Fixers' Cricket? The chief inventor of this travesty of sport can't even live in the country because he would be jailed. They are the clever ones. The fools are those who still buy tickets to watch this insult.

Don't let the argumentative Indian tell you that you can't blame cricket as a whole for the transgressions of a few. Of course you can. The intransigent Srinivasan represented cricket as a whole, as did the steamrolling Sharad Pawar before him, and the cronies-first Jagmohan Dalmia before him. The great stars of old times who now bask in the BCCI sun without uttering a syllable symbolise cricket as a whole. So do the shining stars of today. The man who is dubbed God kept silent for two tumultuous weeks. The man who deserves to be dubbed Captain Cement is still silent, while pretending otherwise.

Those of us who look for a way out look in vain. For, ousting cement will solve nothing; sugar will take the spot, or jute, or politics. So, all we can do is dream -- of cricket getting banned, of politicians becoming decent. Why not dream of the lot becoming mosquitoes? Researchers are developing strategies to destroy the "notoriously keen sense of smell" of mosquitoes. If the magnetic pull of money, no less notorious, can similarly be destroyed, our country may be saved.

Mosquitoes teach us about parasitism, a phenomenon that afflicts everything from cricket to governance. Scientists tell us how parasites an also be parasitised. "A protozoan living in the digestive tract of a flea living on a dog is a hyperparasite". It is easier in public life. A protozoan party worker does not have to go inside the digestive tract of an MLA to live off him in hyperparasitism.

Cuckoos don't build their own nests, preferring to deposit them in the nests of other birds for hatching. This is called "brood parasitism", a familiar feature of politics. Yeddyurappa deposited his BJP eggs in Kumaraswamy's JD (S) and, after hatching, took his brood and flew away. There is also "social parasitism" where one species exploits another -- like bureaucrats fattening themselves on ministers and ministers returning the compliment, both species living happily ever after.

Moral of the story: Only science fiction holds any hope for our money-crazy, cricket-crazy land of crazy politics.