I wrote a piece in the Daily Times, Pakistan on the non-inclusion of Pakistani cricketers in the Indian Premier League's third season, despite their invitation to the auction process through a circuitous route.
The piece can be read here.
1) The IPL is not "sport for pleasure". The IPL is not "sport for competition". The IPL is plain and simple "sport for profit". This is the "Market" not the "Sports-field".
2) The IPL's selection of team members is not based on merit. Even going by the team-owners' own defence of their act, it is based on market expectations of whether a particular player will be given a visa or not, and whether a particular player will be allowed to play at a particular venue by the local jingoists or not. This implies that the IPL owners are not ready to face up to the State (in case visas are unfairly denied) , not prepared to face up to the local jingoists (in case they dig up the pitch). This exposes the Market's pretensions to be merit-based. It also exposes the Market as a "Coward".
3) Obviously, the IPL management or the team-owners do not wish to budget anything for their own paid security for teams or players or pitches. This exposes the Market to be banking on public resources for private gains.(Who said Nehruvian "Socialism" is dead?)
4) The IPL is not concerned about the effect of their action on Indo-Pak Relations. The same Market sees Indo-Pak relations through the prism of pure profits. Consider this: The Mumbai IPL team is owned by the Ambanis who also did not think it fit to bid for any Pakistani player on grounds of security-concerns and visa-concerns. The same Ambanis were busy clandestinely negotiating with the erstwhile Pakistani regime of Gen Musharraf through a British Insurance Company, at the height of the Vajpayee Govt.'s eye-ball troop build-up on the border, that the Pakistani Air Force should desist from bombing their Jamnagar oil-refinery. The sub-text at that time was "We will not mind if the Pakistani Air Force bombs any other place in India, but please, please do not bomb our refinery." So is this Patriotism?
5) Recently the Times of India group in collaboration with the Jang group in Pakistan announced the Project "Aman ki Asha" as a "people-to-people briodge" in troubled times. One of the editorial claims in the write-up of this initiative was that the reporting of news about each other would be carefully scrutinised so as not to promote hatred. The whole project reeks more of commercialisation rather than any genuine peace effort. Or else one cannot understand the screaming anti-Pak headlines in the Times of India or in the Times News Channel, even after the announcement of the "Aman ki Asha" Project. (Perhaps you can also enlighten us as to the nature of the headlines in the "Jang" in Pakistan during the IPL controversy.)
6) So big business treats Indo-Pak relations as a profit vehicle. Talk "Aman" if that will bring more viewers to the concert. Talk "Jang" if that will bring more readers/viewers to the newspaper/ channel. In either case more Profits. Talk "Boycott the Pakistani sports players" if that will bring ensure risk-free matches. Talk "Secret Negotiations even with the Enemy's General" if that will ensure risk-free production. In either case , more profits.
7) It is necessary to analyse indo-Pak relations at many separate levels : Govt. to Govt., Political Party to Political Party, Ordinary People to Ordinary people, Business houses to Business houses.
8) The Pakistani players who did not receive bids should understand that they have been rejected by the Indian Big business (not by the Indian common folk), precisely because they were knocking at the doors of indian Big Business waiting to be bought in auction. They were not knocking at the doors of the Indian Aam Aadmi.
- Thalmann P. Pereira
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