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

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8 responses to “Now Modi is Twattered too…

  1. The Three Wise Monkeys that rubber stamped everything Modi did have been re-appointed to overSEE IPL 4 !!!!! That should be 3 Unwise and blind buffoons !

    Ex -Captains in Gavaskar, Shastri and Pataudi allegedly approved the contracts for the presentation ceremony at 3 Pm for the show starting at 7 PM !!!!

    Re Great Man on the take and sending Pollard at @ No 8–I am told that Modi wanted BCCI Secretary Srinivasan’s team to win–last throw of the dice to be accepted back in the BCCI fold.

    Another one doing the rounds is that the Coach of Mumbai Indians , once represented Tamil Naduand still has a house in Chennai!

  2. One of the main problems I have in all of this is the manner in which members of the General Council are rushing to absolve themselves of any wrong-doing! Apart from Lalit Modi, the Governing Council has Shashank Manohar, Rajeev Shukla, N. Srinivasan, Niranjan Shah, MP Pandove, Arun Jaitley, Chirayu Amin, Ravi Shastri, Sunil Gavaskar and MAK Pataudi on it. It appears that NONE of them knew what was going on and NONE of them had access to documents! Basic rules of proper board governance will tell you that these big boys have screwed up big time.

    Mind you, in addition to the above, Niranjan Shah is the vice-Chairman of the IPL! What was he doing? Looking the other way or sitting on his fingers?

    Time to resign guys. Time for a spill and refill of the IPL-GC!

    To think that one of them is going to be the interim-Chair and three of them are going to be judge-jury and a further three of them are going to design player-auction rules for IPL-4 is just way to scary for me!

    Shashank Manohar says he called Modi’s office last Friday to ask how the contract for the closing ceremony was awarded. I’d have thought that that would be under the delegated powers of the IPL Chairperson and the COO — a decision for them to make. The GC should have asked for, prior to approving, was papers such as the franchise contracts, TV rights papers and so on.

    Unless there is a complete cleanse of the BCCI — a total spill and fill — things will only get worse before they get better (if at all they do)!

    — Mohan

  3. Rahul Srinivasan

    Awesome article Mohan. You write well. Twatter is a good word. Why don’t you guys write one of those brilliant spoofs on this episode? I remember you did one on Gilchrist and Tendlkar when Gilly wrote his book and also another one on Ravi Shastri and Gavaskar when Chandu Borde was appointed coach.

  4. Mohan, were you at the game on Sunday? I thought I saw you (for a split second) among a group of CSK supporters.

  5. He had it coming 🙂 – Modi was getting too big for his own good. In typical toll poppy syndrome style, he was cut down to size 🙂

    I am not a big fan of Modi – but with the IPL taking off, I had a new found respect for him…maybe it was misplaced.

    Maybe Modi took the self-proclaimed title of Commissioner too seriously and worked on some commissions 😉 – who knows?

    Of course, there is always some kind of corruption in India, particularly when large amount of money is involved (I know I sound like Dhoni, when I start a sentence with “of course”), but I refuse to believe the allegations of match fixing in IPL – the players make far too much money legitimately…why would they throw it all away. (I use the word legitimately in a loose sense – it is highly likely that some/all of them are paid extra that is not part of their contract)

    I am also not sure that changing the mob that runs IPL is going to make things any better. It is almost the case of a known devil against an unknown angel.

  6. Pretty sure you have all read Gideon Haigh’s piece on Cricinfo. Essentially he writes that there’s no surprise this collapse happened.

    My take is that Modi has taken the old dictum to heart “If you kill one, you are a murderer, if you kill 5000, you are a freedom fighter.”

    Megalomaniacally convinced of his destiny, he has clearly consigned to Davy Jones’ locker all vestiges of proper corporate governance.

  7. Soundar, I did read Gideon Haigh’s excellent piece and commented on it on Cricinfo too — not sure if it will go through their “firewalls”.

    The essence of my comment on Cricinfo is that Haigh’s article probably will not make the cut in India because (a) He is known to be an IPL-hater, Modi-hater and India-suspicious, (b) It seems that to him all that matters in cricket is The Ashes, (c) Indians do not take to criticism well, at the best of times, especially from an Anglo-Saxon and, in these times, from an Australian!

    That said, I thought it was an excellent piece; one that had to be written.

    The last two paragraphs of Anand Vasu’s excellent piece in HT yesterday makes for compelling reading and echoes what I have been saying (although Anand Vasu is much more graphic and articulate in expressing the same views)!

    http://www.hindustantimes.com/News-Feed/cricketnews/The-fall-What-goes-around-comes-around/Article1-536137.aspx

    — Mohan

  8. Pingback: Of flying peanuts and conflicts of interest… « i3j3Cricket :: A blog for fans of Indian cricket…

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