July 06, 2011

My foundation, my family

"Fans of different races, castes, ethnicities and religions who together celebrate their diversity by uniting for a common national cause. They are my foundation, they are my family. I will play my cricket for them. Their spirit is the true spirit of cricket. With me are all my people. I am Tamil, Sinhalese, Muslim and Burgher. I am a Buddhist, a Hindu, a follower of Islam and Christianity. I am today, and always, proudly Sri Lankan."

The last few words spoken yesterday at Lords' by a man of clearly uncommon substance: Kumar Sangakkara. Read his whole Spirit of Cricket Colin Cowdrey lecture.

Is there an Indian cricketer who will speak like this?

31 comments:

Suresh said...

Is there an Indian cricketer who will speak like this?

The way you phrase the question, it appears that you already know the answer is No.

At any rate, my response:

1. Even if the answer is No, so what? What does it prove?

2. Sangakkara is rare in that he actually has a lawyer's qualification. In the current Indian team, I seriously doubt that there are many who have even gone to college. This reflects the competitiveness in the sport: anyone who wants to make a career in cricket has to focus on that right after high school. Not very dissimilar to football in most of the world. Nothing wrong with this, but expecting people who have concentrated on sport for most of their life to reflect thoughtfully on broader concerns may be asking a bit too much. I doubt there is another player in the Sri Lankan team who can talk like Sangakkara.

Rahul Dravid is one in the current Indian team who does have a college degree. I also remember that on one tour of England, he was reported as having spent some time at a London bookshop where he bought Ramachandra Guha's "India after Gandhi." If I had to name someone from the Indian team who can reflect on broader issues with some thoughtfulness, it would be him. Gambhir has also shown that he follows broader concerns even if he does make silly statements at times.

I would not necessarily write off the others. Most of the interviews of our sportsmen/women focus only on the sport and perhaps, family and upbringing. Just once in a while, it would be nice seeing an interview where the interviewee also reflects on broader concerns.

3. This is off-topic but I would like to note that in the events leading to partition, another lawyer, a certain M. K. Gandhi made a similar statement. To which, yet another lawyer, a certain M. A. Jinnah responded "Only a Hindu could have made such statement." [Note: I cannot find an online reference to Jinnah's statement but I do remember reading it. Please correct me if I am wrong.]

Dilip D'Souza said...

Suresh, I see I was probably being unfair, though unintentionally. My wish is that some Indian cricketer -- role models that they all are -- will someday speak in this kind of language ("I am Hindu, I am Muslim, I am Christian; I am Maharashtrian, I am Keralite; I am Bhumihar and Yadav" -- something like that).

It might give the people in this country who are intent on dividing us on all those lines pause to think; or more likely, people inclined to swallow those divisions pause to think. Just as Sangakkara probably has given a lot of Sri Lankans pause to think today.

Yes, I too think Dravid is a thoughtful man.

Anonymous said...

Interesting, you don't want members of the Muslim community to come out and reflect after a terrorist attack, but you want people who hit leather/cork balls with wooden sticks to expound about caste race and love of humanity. You and George Bush Junior ought to hold a contest to see which one of you can figure out what 2+2 is within the next milennium.

Nikhil said...

I think by and large all our cricketeers have risen above parochialism. They need not say they are tis religion, caste etc. Are you forgetting Sachin Tendulkar stating that Mumbai belonged to all Indians etc. Anyway why should any cricketeer say this at all? Are they not just simply cricketeers when they go and play on the field?
By the way look carefully he says he is Sri Lankan. If any of our cricketeers had said this you would have pounced on him and called him a prickly nationalist and even asked ehy he had to say such a thing?
This is when you expose your own double standards.
Anyway Shahid Afridi and Shoaib Akhtar should be the ideal guys spreading harmony after Kumar in your book.

Rahul Siddharthan said...

By the way look carefully he says he is Sri Lankan. If any of our cricketeers had said this you would have pounced on him and called him a prickly nationalist and even asked ehy he had to say such a thing?

If any of our cricketers claimed to be Sri Lankan, it would certainly raise many eyebrows.

Dilip D'Souza said...

you don't want members of the Muslim community to come out and reflect after a terrorist attack.

Thanks for underlining exactly why I made this post.

Nikhil said...

Rahuj
Following Dilip's lame sense of humor. Ok corrected Cricketeer should have said I am Indian. But then Dilip would have said his comment was in bad taste and he was a prickly nationalist and how he should be ashamed because of 1984, 1992, 2002, human rights abuses etc etc.
If he had said I am hindu then Dilip would have directed even more bile against him. After all with Dilip's hatred of things hindu this would be like a red flag to a bull

Dilip D'Souza said...

Charming how many accusations one can pack into a coupe of "would haves".

I say I am Indian. I've never accused me of being a prickly nationalist, etc. But why should that get in the way of a "would have" here or there.

My mother is Hindu. I am married to a Hindu. Both my siblings are married to Hindus. etc. But of course, I have a hatred of things Hindu.

So it goes. I've heard this gravy train before.

Anonymous said...

"My mother is Hindu. I am married to a Hindu. Both my siblings are married to Hindus. etc. But of course, I have a hatred of things Hindu."

Well this does present a problem for Nikhil. However he is good at solving problems like this. You see, there are Hindus and then there are REAL Hindus. Nikhil's REAL Hindus are those who think and act like Nikhil himself.

Sharad said...

It was a very thoughtful speech. Dilip, I didn't quite get the point that you were trying to make about Indian cricketers though. Could you please elaborate?

Nikhil said...

Well this does present a problem for Nikhil. However he is good at solving problems like this. You see, there are Hindus and then there are REAL Hindus. Nikhil's REAL Hindus are those who think and act like Nikhil himself.

To Anon (scared to use his real name - Dilip TM)
What exactly is your point? Did i ever say Dilip being married to a hindu is a problem for me? You are OT.

Ot said...

Hes not OT, *I* am OT.

Also have the balls to stand behind your own statements (or retract). You yrself said Dilip has a "hatred of things hindu". (Not forgotten, surely?).

How do you square that with his hindu family? You cant. Your claim is clearly false.

Chandru K said...

Yes, Sangakkara's words are very enlightened and uplifting. However, where was this kind of sentiment in Sri Lanka for the past 60 years? One of the major reasons for the Tamil insurgency in Sri Lanka, was that country's refusal to recognise the Tamil language as a legitimate second language, after Sinhalese. This is actually the first such lofty inclusive statement from a major Sri Lankan public figure in recent memory.

Of course, what D'Souza will comfortable neglect to mention is that such enlightened statements will never come from that terrorist neighbour of a country, Pakistan. Yes, one could see an Indian cricketeer speaking like Sangakkara. But not a Pakistani cricketeer or political leader. Or anyone.

Chandru K said...

"You yrself said Dilip has a "hatred of things hindu". (Not forgotten, surely?)."

It's possible to have those feelings. One could be very self-hating, as some Hindus are. Witness the lengths to which Indians/Hindus( Pankaj Mishra, Anil Sadagopal, Sanjay Subramanium, Rachna Desai, Nivedita Menon et al) will go to defend Moslems and Christians, while ignoring sufferings and injustices toward Hindus, including Hindus in even Moslem majority countries/places like Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kashmir and Bangladesh.

Self hatred and contempt for one's own people/heritage, must be major reasons for speaking the way they do. The other major reason is to show off to Western audiences.

Anonymous said...

Oh just STFU, Chandru. Its' time somebody told you that the biggest self-hater here is you, & you demonstrate it every day by continuing to live a-broad. Leave us true Indians alone to hate or to not hate ourselves. At least we have lives here in India.

And yeah Dilip I'm anonymous. Live with it. I have no desire to give this Chandru guy my name.

Anonymous said...

I hate to tell you this CK but Pakistanis are more enlightened than you. You are a Canadian anyway and not an Indian. So please stop meddling in Hindu affairs of another country.

Chandru K said...

If Pakistan were enlightened, there would be no Pakistan. Pakistan is the denial, the antithesis of anything enlightened or uplifting. So no, that's a non-starter.

Anonymous said...

The line in question is- "Pakistanis are more enlightened than you."

It doesn't mean Pakistanis or Pakistan is enlightened. It just says Pakistanis are more enlightened than you, Chandru. Being more enlightened than you is easy, Chandru, but it does not automatically equate to being enlightened. Because by your every word I read I know exactly who is the denial of anything enlightened. You.

Nikhil said...

I am not retracting my statement. I have no problem with Dilip marrying anybody - Hindju, Muslim, Non believer. But yes - I stand by what I said about Dilip's hatred of things hindu. There is no squaring off - whatever it means.

Dilip D'Souza said...

Old tactic of man who runs out of arguments to make: abuse the other, and/or accuse him of "hatred" so as to rouse others' anger.

But it still does not take away from the truth: the man has run out of arguments to make.

Chandru K said...

Reports of some bomb blasts in Mumbai. Who could be responsible, Parsees, Jains, Tibetans, Gay and Lesbian organisations, Col Purohit.

Unless justice is provided to the Mumbai riot victims, more bomb blasts like these can be expected. Solve the underlying cause first.

Moronic, self hating Indians...

Chandru K said...

"Leave us true Indians alone to hate or to not hate ourselves. At least we have lives here in India."

You've heard of the term NRI,non-resident Indian. I am not one of those; I'm a person of Indian origin. I wonder if you're familiar with the expression RNI, for Resident Non-Indian. Many Indians live in India, but they are not Indian in heart or spirit. Just an observation.

Anonymous said...

"Many Indians live in India, but they are not Indian in heart or spirit."

You mean these are not REAL Indians but Canadians like you are REAL? What utter nonsense.

The Mumbai blasts are shocking. Yet again.

Dilip D'Souza said...

Blasts happen about 7pm. Half an hour later -- 731pm, to be precise -- a man in Canada figures that the first and best response to this is not to see if there's a way to donate blood or help somehow, not to find out if people he knows are safe, but to get on a blog and leave a comment saying "Moronic, self-hating Indians."

Such is the depravity we live through. People like these need tragedies and atrocities like this one to justify their own thinking and existence.

Chandru K said...

Yes, well it does strike me as a tiny bit baffling, why these terrorist strikes happen in India over and over and over again, with one city Mumbai, being hit no less than 5 times in the last 8 years!

Why India and Mumbai, and not Italy and Venice, or China and Shanghai, or Amsterdam and the Netherlands? What is it about those countries, that keeps these terrorist attacks off their shores? What are they doing right, and what is India doing wrong? I can't believe those countries have a wonderful record of harmony in all phases of their respective socities. Something doesn't feel right here.

Chandru K said...

The 'moronic, self hating' tag is deserved, because there are many Indians, who will trot out nonsense about the Mumbai riots, the Gujarat killings and the Sachar report, to explain, if not justify the bomb blasts. Basically injustice to Moslems, and injustice to Moslems alone, will result in bomb blasts; this is the approach of the jholawalas and Wagah brigade. Injustice to anyone else can be brushed aside, since it doesn't lead to bomb blasts.

Anonymous said...

What is it about those countries, that keeps these terrorist attacks off their shores?

Chandru, since nobody is raising to this bait, I will try.

Maybe (I dont know) those countrues recognize terrorism and punish it. Maybe they dont have people who brush off some attacks of terrorists as "episodic, localised, reactive violence". (Your own words, which took me a while to find them. See here:- http://dcubed.blogspot.com/2009/08/rare.html?showComment=1249973675508#c2980189250227474870).

Chandru K said...

Ah, your slip is showing. So these repeated bomb attacks on commuters during rush hour, is justified retaliation for riots from 2002 if not 1993. And the Moslems as a whole justify them. The people conducting these bomb blasts are sincerely avenging injustice. So how many more serial bomb blasts in Mumbai should there be, to avenge the 2002 or 1993 or 1957 riots?

And you think Italy, China( China?) and the Netherlands are humane and just? Maybe they are very controlled, crafty, homogenous, repressive or sophisticated, relative to India. Humane and just would be very, very problematic.

Chandru K said...

" You mean these are not REAL Indians but Canadians like you are REAL? What utter nonsense."

I am certainly a Canadian citizen, and do feel affinity for the country I live in. But therein lies the irony. I also feel more Indian than many of the people who post messages on this blog, as well as on sites like Kafila. They are essentially RNI's- registered non-Indians. Self hating, India hating, Hindu hating, showing off to the West and to minorities, and to each other.

Anonymous said...

Not one Indian cricketer would state that since they are under Satan's stronghold.

http://www.igmonline.org/about
Why do committed Christians need to focus on the 10/40 Window?


2/3 of the people of the world reside here.
This area is the heart of Islam.
Three main religious blocks are located in this area (Muslim 22%, Hindu 23%, Buddhist 5%)
8 out of 10 of the poorest of the poor live in this area.
8 out of 10 of the people living here have the lowest quality of life (life expectancy, infant mortality, and literacy)
This area is a stronghold of Satan.

Chandru K said...

"This area is a stronghold of Satan."

The one area in the world with the highest concentration of 'pagan', non-Abrahamic relgions and their adherents. And being non-white, non-aligned, with a large economy, nuclear and missile capability, IT and other strengths... It's no wonder India is picked on by the Evanjihadi Christians. It's the Hindu/Indic quality and character of India, that gives India its uniqueness, its elan.