Friday, February 1, 2008

Harbhajan-gate – What are we trying to achieve

Ever since the conclusion of the Adelaide test match, the Indians, Aussies and their respective Media personnel have been busy digging up history to prove each other's claims or view points. I am not supporting either teams since the behaviour of both the teams are wrong.

While the OZ media claim that the ICC and Cricket Australia is bending towards India because of our new found economic boom and emerging super power status, I researched a bit on this topic and found some interesting connotations.

  • Everyone needs to agree that on that particular day the concerned individuals and officials behaved in a un-sportive manner in Sydney
  • Cricket Australia (CA) supporting Andrew Symonds, saying he did and the ever reliable BCCI supporting Bhajji, saying he did not utter the word "Monkey"
  • Hayden puts it across to the media that they have a strong case against Bhajji and made Mike Procter believe in them and thus sentences Bhajji
  • India decides to pull out and ICC and Cricket Australia ensure that the tour goes on for financial considerations removing Steve Bucknor and Mark Benson placing the blame squarely on them and making Bhajji's charge a suspended sentence. The ICC also appoints a New Zealand based high-court judge to hear over the proceedings
  • OZ Media pulls out statistics and mentions that the Asian block (India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka) are amongst the worst behaved teams in the World. Since when did Asia get judgements in their favour? Cricket has always been a white game and it has remained since
  • The judge eventually points out the gaps in ICC presenting the facts and CA talking to Symonds and Bhajji once again losing his 75% of his match fee
  • The OZ media goes gung-ho about the sentence and Ricky Ponting comes open in the media saying that he expected a reduced sentence for Bhajji
  • Dhoni now the leader of the one day squad tells them that they cannot keep quiet and play while the opponents swear back at them. However he did mention that the limits are not to be crossed

Agreed, there were a lot of background wheelings and dealings with the respective boards to ensure two things 1) Australia do not end up fighting law suits by their broadcasting partners and 2) To save the future of the most eagerly contested series in recent history (in Australia) from danger

So how do you define Racism first to understand if the so-called word "Monkey" is indeed racist?

The definition of Racism from a layman's perspective is "it is a word used against a specific Race of people to down them because of skin colour or nationality" and does any one feel "Monkey" falls under this category – It is difficult to mention

Both the countries have had a considerable history of Racism. Australia have had problems with their "Aboriginal" tribes with the usual black and white divide. By the way, Symonds is an aboriginal and there is a huge history behind aboriginals being exploited and violated and infact taunted with racist remarks

At the same time we cannot discount India not being a Racist country. Under the British rule we were often treated to Racist Slurs, the most common being "Bloody Indian". And after Independence the Caste system really elevated the Racism to greater proportions that are being seen even today. For long the so called higher castes like the Yadavs, Brahmins, sharmas, etc have shown little respect to the Dalits, SC, ST and other lower castes. Infact even today we have the problem where they are served tea in plastic cups and not allowed to fetch water from a common well.

So by logic, there is little proof available for one to establish "Monkey" to be a racist taunt. To top all these, the members of the Indian Cricket teams are from every corner in India and every member in the team is multi-lingual. A swear word in one language need not be a swear word in another. So where do you draw the line. Does the ICC have a list of words that can be considered Racist?

I think the "Monkey Chants" in India or the general "Racist taunts" in Australia can be tackled the way the English Premier League addressed this issue. Do not allow alcohol consumption inside the ground or highly in-toxicated individuals enter the ground. One rotten apple definitely spoils the entire basket.

Finally is "Monkey" a racist taunt? Well, actually it is and used predominantly in the "UK" for swearing at black people and in Southeast Asia (includes India) to describe local people. Check out this wikipedia link -

Once again the Media from both the countries have made a meal out of a Mole. The time has come for ICC to seriously rethink the rules and restrict the so called Mental Disintegration, aggressive hard cricket and et all. But how do you contain players, it is the duty of the board to draw boundaries and if players cross such boundaries it is their responsibility to defend themselves and even the respective boards can ban the players for a period for such abuses.

I have one final advice for Bhajji for I don't care about what the Aussies are doing because it is insignificant and they are not going to change. It is difficult to follow, I don't see other options for now:

  • You need to be calm and adopt Gandhigiri tactics. Wait for your opponent to slap both sides of your face and then revert back. Because Gandhiji hasn't told what to do later (Refer: Lagheraho Munnabhai)
  • Keep complaining to the officials even if your opponent sneezes at you. We are being victimized because we don't complain much
  • Follow the rules, do not over-run and finally don't waste your hard-earned money on silly words like Monkey. You can obviously bulid a better vocabulary of words that are not identifiable

Disclaimer: This is my personal weblog. The opinions expressed here represent my own and are based on a few facts and instances. This is not meant to hurt anyone intentionally or by any means.

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