Daily Archives: 27 April 2010

Now Modi is Twattered too…

The nursery rhyme has been re-written:

Pitter-patter, raindrops, Falling from the sky;
Here is my umbrella, To keep me safe and dry!
When the rain is over, And the sun begins to glow,
Little flowers start to bud, And grow and grow and grow!

After the recent IPL-3 saga — termed IPL-Gate or Modi-Gate here in India — I have started singing:

Twitter Twatter, big men, Falling as they cry;
There may have been a Godfather, To keep them safe and sly!
When the pain is over, And the greed begins to slow,
Little accounts start to bud, As these Twattered men grow and grow and grow!

Twatter should be made an official word in the English dictionary.

Twatter is a disease which afflicts and consumes high-adrenalin, 40-something, adult males who are high on testosterone (some with pronounced lisps) and are going through some strange and incurable form of midlife crisis, who wish to simultaneously fit in to the glitterati jet-set and govern burgeoning complex behemoths through a modern technology called Twitter, but use it so inappropriately and naively that they shoot themselves in the foot while aiming for the stars!

It is a complex disease for which there exists no cure. Moreover, there are few test cases available and hence, few pointers to the origin of this new-age disease.

The synonyms for Twatter are Lal-oor or ShaMod.

IPL-3 ended last night. But the “end of the beginning” was just starting to unravel!

Shashi Tharoor was already Twattered by the time the IPL-3 finals was upon us. A sitting Government that had been slapped around by a young Turk with a pronounced lisp had been so badly humiliated and angered that it galvanized a series of multi-Agency, multi-pronged attacks on the IPL and its parent body, the BCCI. The speed, swiftness, meticulousness, intensity and alacrity of the Governments’ response to the outing and public slapping of its junior minister was awe-inspiring. It was as if India’s pride had been hurt by the young Turk charged with running one of the richest cricket leagues in the world! One wondered what the consequences might have been had such a multi-Agency speedy, swift, meticulous, anger- and humiliation-fueled response had been delivered when 26/11 was on us. But then perhaps the Government wasn’t as embarrassed by 26/11 as it was by the open slap to its face from a Twitter-crazy cricket Czar.

The Government was hell-bent on Twattering The Lisp out of our TV screens.

In a tit for tat operation — now known in rarefied circles as a “twit for twat” operation — both twits were twattered out of our existence, at least temporarily!

As inevitable as night follows day, the twats will twit back into our lives in some altered state. However, for now, the twats will twit no more!

It was all high-octane drama that had modern-India writ all over it.

There was innuendo, suspense, speculation, plots, sub-plots, counter-plots, actors, agents, under-world Dons, money laundering, illegal betting, mysterious ladies that no one had ever heard of, fast-paced action, sleaze, slush, plush, flush and much much more. Whats’ more? All of it was carried out at frenetic pace in full public view, in the media and in Twitter-land in an environment that displayed a total lack of reason, constructive argument and logical debate.

The words, “trial by media” has been used often in the last few days. I personally think this phrase has been abused and badly misused. First, because that would legitimize the existence of “media” in India. The “media” that does exist in India is, in my view, hardly (if ever) read, seen or heard. Second, if this is the way “trials” are conducted, then, God help this land!

Lalit Modi was served with a “show cause notice” by BCCI vice-president Rajeev Shukla shortly after the IPL-3 Finals on 25 April. Modi was sacked as Chief Commissioner of the IPL and stripped of his role in the BCCI as vice-president. The BCCI Board Secretary, N. Srinivasan sent Modi an email to confirm the “notice”. Ironically, this was just after N. Srinivasan’s team, the Chennai Super Kings, had won the IPL-3 Finals — a game that Srinivasan did not attend.

It was a neat and swift way to stop Modi from attending a meeting of the IPL Governing Council on 26 April, which he initially challenged, saying it was “unofficial and so will not attend”. He then pleaded for “five more days”. He then called the meeting himself and sent an agenda for the meeting too!

Clearly the trusted advisors around Lalit Modi had let him down.

While Shashi Tharoor was Twattered out with some dignity and grace — leaving the door ajar for a later entry — Modi was Twattered out in a somewhat humiliating manner.

The clock had turned full circle. Many years back, Modi had hounded out Jagmohan Dalmiya from the BCCI. More recently, through the formation of the IPL, he had hounded out Subhash Chandra, the creator of rebel ICL. Modi, who helped the BCCI first fight off Jagmohan Dalmiya and next, ward off the threat that Subhash Chandra’s ICL posed — through the creation of the IPL — was now, himself, Twattered out by the very “friends” he had helped.

The BCCI is a cruel place for any person. Modi’s problem was that he started believing in the myths that had been built around him without paying too much attention to the knives that were being sharpened about him.

When Lalit Modi gave his post-finals speech last night, there was an inevitability about him. One detected a sense of despair. The defiance was replaced by justification. The arrogance was replaced by anger. Although rich in self righteousness, I was happy to grant him his last hurrah! The full text of Modi’s speech is here.

Prem Panicker argues:

And the man who built a compelling league from the ground up took the stage as “commissioner under suspension” to deliver an overwrought, self-serving speech, crassly turning the focus on himself [and cloaking himself with assorted mantles ranging from Martin Luther King to Krishna] when the spotlight should have firmly been on the cricket itself.

Modi’s speech was inappropriate, but that he made it was not particularly surprising — it is the BCCI way to put itself ahead of the cricket. Remember the felicitation ceremony at the Wankhede when India returned with the World T20 Cup? The likes of RR Patil and Sharad Pawar turned the occasion into a political rally; on the dais, the front row was occupied by Pawar, Patil, Rajiv Shukla, Niranjan Shah, Modi himself, IS Bindra, PM Runga, Dilip Vengsarkar and others, while the cricketers who had against the odds won the trophy were relegated to the third row.

I was, however, quite happy to grant Modi his place in the sun for one last time. He was a BCCI mercenary who came in, did a job, made a lot of cash and then promptly fell on his own sword. He does claim that he worked tirelessly and for no remuneration. Yes! And if that is right, I am Elvis Presley’s little toe!

Today, there is sleaze money everywhere in cricket. As Prem Panicker writes, every move in Indian cricket is viewed with suspicion and cynicism.

Even Sachin Tendulkar name gets dragged in the muck that represents India’s cricket.

An IPL game was there to be won by Mumbai Indians. Tendulkar retires with cramps for the Mumbai Indians to crumble to a narrow defeat. I got calls saying that that match “must have been fixed”. In yesterdays’ game, Sachin Tendulkar sent Kieron Pollard into bat when all hope was lost. Once again, the reason offered was that the great man “must have been on the take”.

Every move in Indian cricket is viewed with suspicion and cynicism.

The governance structure around the game stinks and a quick clean up is required. The clean up will not be affected (it is just too hard in my view), but it has to be attempted.

As a fan, I just do not trust the people entrusted with the clean up act. Because it involves the BCCI and will be reported on by the “media”. So no. I believe the game and its governance will continue to be what it is.

India deserves this mess. India will continue to retain this mess.

Meanwhile, Team India will prosper because of the quality of her players. Team India has always succeeded despite the BCCI and the “media”. The game and its fans are a complete coincidence to this body and its office bearers.

In the fullness of time some other twit will be Twattered.

Until then, let us all lie back, think of the Queen and pretend we are enjoying it.

After all,
When the pain is over, And the greed begins to slow,
Little accounts start to bud, As these Twattered men grow and grow and grow

— Mohan