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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Club Vs Country - Why Bring Patriotism In Professional Matters?

Team Being Cynical

Club over country or for that matter anything over country is a serious debate which I don’t think should be generalized or concluded by one-of examples or a blog. Neither should it directly be equated to one’s patriotism as we somehow love to do. A person not-necessarily becomes unpatriotic if he prioritizes his/her things with many times the nation not even featuring in the list at all, let alone being at the top. Most of us must have done this time and again. That doesn’t mean we all become unpatriotic. Patriotism is an emotional phenomenon which shouldn’t be too directly related to ones acts and actions of one particular instance. The situation, demand of the time or plain physical condition might not allow one to always put his/her nation above his/her immediate requirement. As I believe we are a mature nation, we won’t turn up emotionally hysterical in lambasting someone as unpatriotic on the drop of a hat.

Take the case of Gautam Gambhir or to make it more general, almost half of our world cup winning side. None of the biggies are there on the flight that is supposed to fly down to the Caribbean. Now the concerns for many is, if the players who claim themselves to be so tired that they even can’t represent their country, how in earth they played with all vigor and vengeance in IPL for their clubs? Genuine and justified questions, but that in no way makes these players unpatriotic. This Club Vs Country nonsense seems to have emerged ever since the IPL came to the fore and there are good enough reasons for that. Initial editions of IPL were marred with controversies of the 8 week long tournament draining the players which was evident from our pathetic performances in the tournaments that immediately followed. Be it Champions trophy of 2008 or the ICC T-20 world cup of 2009. The lackluster performance of ours was directly related to the IPL edition that preceded it.

There could be hundreds of reasons for such failures with one of them being the IPL itself. It’s no denying the IPL being one of the culprits. Having said that, it is not entirely because of the long IPL either as the problem also lies with the irresponsible itinerary that BCCI always seems to come up with and the number of days our cricketers spend on a cricket field every year. Questioning the IPL, the cricketers and their greed alone is unjustified. Putting the blame squarely on the player who plays the tournament and terming it as a loss of patriotism, is little naive. The response of our cricketers towards IPL is a plain professional decision. As professional as our cricketers of today are, they are free to decide where to put the hat and for whom. At the end of the day, it is their career and livelihood that we are talking about. For me it is outright insane to ask someone not to earn his living. Controversy or no controversy, I don’t see a reason why shouldn’t our players play the IPL as the clubs pay well; provide good after-match parties and what not. So our cricketers are free to decide which way to go and we are none to dispute that. In the same line I also don’t see a wrong if few of them need a break after almost an 8 month long of nonstop cricket. After all everyone needs a break.

Not alone the cricketers, but in general this is getting into a dangerous trend. We tend to keep patriotism as the primary weapon to attack, defame or ground anyone. But before blaming we conveniently forget an age old statement – ‘Charity begins at home’. Let’s first look within and see how patriotic we are on the same scale that we use to measure other’s patriotism. For once I would love to see from the millions of the IT professionals working for big names, who want to leave their heft pay cheques and come forward to work for state run IT institutions like NIC, C-Dac, CRIS, for less than half of their existing pay. Hello!! - Did I hear someone say count me in? Is there anyone who is ready to take this challenge head-on? Truth be told, I would be pleasantly surprise if I will require anything beyond my fingers to count the volunteering patrons for the offer of mine. So where does this lead us to? In the same scale of patriotism, are all the IT professionals of our country also unpatriotic? If not then are we all hypocrites full with double standards? A certain Gautam Gambhir becomes unpatriotic and is accused of putting his club above the country if he doesn’t travel to Caribbean but we at the same hand remain true sons of the soil if we don’t leave our jobs at Oracle/Microsoft to join NIC. The vague idea of patriotism that we seem to carry is more dangerous than actually having traitors all around. Let me assure you – patriotism is not so small that you can judge it by trivial actions or not big enough that you always have to be another Bhagat Sing to prove your patriotism for the nation.

People are lamented, disowned or worst secluded for the want of some false notion of patriotism. This concerns me a lot. When we Indians are at large corrupt, dishonest and not even truthful to our own responsibilities, whom we are questioning for he/she is not patriotic as per our own standards? We Indians love criticizing and that again with or without any credible reason. Along with criticizing we want the rest of the world to change except us. We want every corner, every street of India having an Anna Hazare to fast for us and fight for our rights but we will sleep well into Noon on voting days without exercising one of our most powerful fundamental rights. We think by just attending Anna Hazare’s agitation at Jantar Mantar or going for some show-off candle light march at Gateway of India, we become patriot but if a person says, Pakistan looks like a stronger team (a genuine comment) he becomes a scoundrel and traitor. The list is endless. Our hypocrisy draped under the thin sheet of patriotism is more embarrassing than actually being unpatriotic.

When we will change? When we will stop touting on the topics of our convenience? How far we are going to stretch ourselves to criticize others; without even once trying to be in their shoes? Most important – when we as a nation would learn that rhetoric has never taken anyone anywhere? Before we as a nation get buried deep under the avalanche our own hypocrisies, I wish we would change and change for good.

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