Monday, April 4, 2011

Why this persecution complex? An unnecessary controversy over the ICC trophy

I knew this would happen. News channels and newspapers which were suffering from a huge drought of viewers and readers of late were bound to do something like this. They were on the hunt for a subject matter that would generate angst amongst millions of Indians nationally. They found one in the story of the “fake” ICC trophy. They knew that this subject would bring them their viewers back.....!

Apparently, the ICC trophy which was handed over to the Indian cricket team was not the original one but a replica. The reason it appears was that the customs had not allowed the original trophy to come in because they want ICC to pay customs duty on it. Apparently, the ICC decided not to pay the customs duty because the trophy was a “perpetual trophy” and was to be taken back out of the country in a few days and hence customs duty was not applicable. So it decided to send the trophy back to Dubai from where it was coming. Apparently, ICC has been giving an alternate trophy to the winning side since 2003 so that the winning team can keep the trophy with it forever. This is the 3rd time that the practice has been followed. India was not being discriminated against......but then who in media would bother to get the facts right!

Media in India seldom looks for the truth. It’s a highly negative attitude that media has (here and only on this point, I agree with Shahid Afridi!). TV channels went hammer and tongs exploiting what I call a latent persecution complex that exists in each Indian. We believe that the world is out to get us.....that the world grudges us our hard earned success. That we have to take care of ourselves....keep our guards up.....doubt everyone and trust no one. That through a surreptitious sleight of hand, the ICC would take the trophy out of India’s hands!

Frankly, how would it matter if the trophy was indeed a replica? Or even if the trophy was not given at all? We played the match in front of the entire world and the entire world knows that we are the world champions. If the ICC played a game with us, the world would haul them up; not the Indian cricket team. Then why this paranoia? Why this extremely disproportionate reaction to what might have been a minor gaffe on the part of the ICC or the customs?

But as I mentioned right at the start, the TV channels are like hungry polar bears just emerging from a 45 day hibernation......looking for food like uncontrolled animals. The story just happened to be about the trophy; it could as well have been any other topic. Unfortunately, Parliament is in recess; else it is always a reliable larder for such food. How difficult is it to put together a panel of disgruntled people who are always waiting to take pot shots at anything and everything? Some of these people on TV are known figures. Most lawyers are on TV......essentially seeking to increase their market value by acquiring that much-sought-after celebrity status. Then there are the activists who would rather conduct their activities on TV than in the real world where they are supposed to work. And then of course, there is the perpetual presence of the opposition leaders – in this case, they were out to get Sharad Pawar, the current ICC President.

This persecution complex also partly explains why Indian news channels played up Shahid Afridi’s interview to Pakistani TV channels. He made some silly remarks against Indians and gave it a communal color by saying that Indians could never be like Muslims and Pakistanis. Now where does the Muslim connection get in here? But he said it. In doing so, he retracted his earlier TV interviews when he excoriated the Pakistani journos was being unnecessarily anti-India. Maybe he got a call from General Kayani! Whatever the reason, he had made a fool of himself and yet Indian TV channels presented it in a manner as if India had been attacked by him. It should have been a comedy show; instead it was made out into a typical Pakistan-out-to-get-India story!

The real truth is just a mild reminder that we are now a world power and there is no reason for us to have this persecution complex. Our time has come. The world is cheering us. Even Obama sent a congratulatory message to the Indian cricket team.....imagine this. He doesn’t even understand what cricket is, but he thought it appropriate protocol to lobby with the Indians! After all..... he saw even Sonia Gandhi celebrating in the streets of Delhi! So let’s stop fretting. The world cup’s ours.....and the world also is ours for

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