Daily Archives: 6 January 2008

Letter to the Sydney Morning Herald

I wrote a letter to the Sydney Morning Herald in response to this article on Brahmins in the Indian cricket team! Thought I would share…

Dear Editor

I read with some dismay, Andrew Stevenson’s article “A class act? Opinions differ” in The Sydney Morning Hearld, 5 January 2008. In this article, the writer talks about the influence that Brahmins have on Indian cricket.

For a start this article seems misplaced in Australia, a country that has always advocated from high pedestals that politics, religion and sport should not mix! Yet, every time a cricket team from India visits these shores, we find the inevitable article on muslims in the Indian team or christians in the Indian team! I thought that we had seen the last of these puerile attempts to fashion a story where none existed. However, Stevenson’s article came as a timely reminder to me that it is perhaps the increasing diversity in Indian cricket teams that continues to confound and bewilder the common Australian journalist? I for one certainly do not care if Anil Kumble is a Brahmin or a Jat or a or a Muslim or a Kshatriya. I care that he plays well when he dons the India colours. I am certainly surprised that Andrew Stevenson cares whether a player is a Brahmin or a Muslim.

Secondly, the article has numerous galling errors that do need to be pointed out.

Stevenson talks about the boos that left-handed batsman Vinod Kambli got when he batted and hypothesises that it is because Vinod Kambli is from a lower caste. I can remember only one instance when Vinod Kambli was ever booed and that was in the semi-final of the 1996 World Cup. In that match, several Indian players were booed. Having said that, I will admit that I have not watched every match that Kambli played. However, here is news for Stevenson. Probably the most booed cricketer in Indian cricket was Ravi Shastri. Sunil Gavaskar has been booed too — several times. So also Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid. Why? Even Sachin Tendulkar has not been spared an odd boo or two by the crowds. Stevenson’s own article indicates that Shastri, Gavaskar, Dravid, Ganguly and Tendulkar are Brahmins — not that anyone would care.

What is more galling is the internal inconsitency in the article itself. Early on in the article, Stevenson casts M. S. Dhoni, the Indian wicketkeeper as a “lower caste” and then, at the end of the article, he categorises Dhoni as a Rajput. Since when are Rajputs from the “lower caste”? Rajputs form the upper/ruling caste and in days gone by the son of a king would be referred to as raja-putra (son of a king) and hence the name of this group of people. Let’s get the facts and research right please?

The fact that R. P. Singh has been cast in Stevenson’s article as a Brahmin will come as news to the Indian fast bowler and may get him scurrying to the medical records to verify his lineage! My understanding is that R. P. Singh is a Rajput too — unless of course, Stevenson has access to information that R. P. Singh has switched parents lately!

Stevenson quotes Srivijayan Anand who penned an article titled ‘The Retreat of the Brahmin’, in the Outlook magazine. Stevenson writes, “Siriyavan Anand, a Dalit (the caste formerly called untouchables), has written provocatively and critically of the Brahmin domination”. I have read Anand’s well researched and well written article. While Anand may have written provocatively and critically of Brahmin domination, I am reasonably certain that Anand is not a Dalit. I am most certain that Anand is, indeed, a Brahmin himself! Perhaps Stevenson assumed, wrongly, that because Anand had written provocatively, he must be a non-Brahmin. Perhaps Stevenson needs reminding that diversity of opinion is tolerated in India?

Caste is a difficult topic to deal with even when handled by Indians in the know. That does not necessarily mean that Stevenson should be reigned in from writing about it. However, its place in a discussion on sport is highly questionable, especially if the accompanying research is immature.

Regards

Mohan Krishnamoorthy
Melbourne, VICTORIA

Man of the Match and Man of the Series :: Australia v India

The 2nd Test match between Australia and India is not yet over.

However, I nominate Mark Benson as the Man of the Match

Steve Bucknor is an early nominee for the Man of the Series.

The impact that these two idiots have had in this game has been truly phenomenal…

— Mohan

Australia v India :: Test 2 :: Day 5

Posting at 12.15, AEST

The last day of this enthralling Test match started with much anticipation. All three results were available, although Australia were setting the pace at this stage. Overnight, Matthew Hayden had given an indication of the thinking in the Australian camp. He said that India would not win this match. This meant two things (a) the Australians thought they could get the Indians out cheaply on the last day, as they had against England in Adelaide last year, (b) the Australians would remove an “Indian Win” out of the equation before even contemplating a declaration.

And the latter was what happened. Australia, one feels, batted India out of the match and declared its second innings close at 401 for 7, This meant India had to make 333 to win off a possible maximum of 71 overs at a run rate of about 4.65! It is highly unlikely that India will go for a win. However, if they bat for a draw like England did in Adelaide last year, India could well lose.

This has been a gripping Test match thus far and I feel that there is more left in this game. I fear that India may capitulate though!

Posting at 12.30, AEST

At lunch, Australia had already picked up one wicket. Brett Lee bowled a ball just wide of off stump and a bit fuller. All Wasim Jaffer, the India opener, could do was to poke it to the safe hands of Michael Clarke at 3rd slip.

One feels that this is, most certainly, goodbye time for Wasim Jaffer for the rest of this series. His feet are not there. His movement is edgy and he has landed India four bad starts in this series thus far. He must sit out the game at Perth.

Australia had this session by my count with some intelligent, smart cricket. My SBS score reads India, 6.5 :: Australia 6.5.

Posting at 18.50, AEST — End of the game

I did not post through the day because I was otherwise occupied.

India lost. They played a team of 14 wonderful players, fought gallantly. But in the end, the might of the Australian-14 was just too strong. The Indian team of 9 gallant players fell with just one over to go in the match.

A wonderful match has been robbed by the whitecoats.

It is a sad day, not only for Indian cricket, in my view. But for cricket in general.

We now await the results of the Harbhajan Singh hearing.

— Mohan