Over the past few days, the reactions to Sachin’s nomination to Rajya Sabha are bugging me like anything. They have varied from “it’s an honour” to “why the hell does he need to get into the dirty game of politics” to “he is craving for power now.” That last reaction made me chuckle for a second, but then made me slightly angry, and I was like… REALLY? Has this been a perception of Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar in some minds? Has it come down to this?
Forgive me the cliché. But we are talking about a person here, whom every parent wants their son to be when he grows up. We are talking about 100 international centuries here. Just close your eyes for a moment, and remember every person you have met in your life, who had forgotten all his worries for that split second just to revel in the joy when Tendulkar had raised his bat after completing one of those centuries, and even felt a sense of some personal achievement. And after saying this, let me tell you, this article is not written to eulogize Tendulkar, but to put his nomination to Rajya Sabha in perspective.
There are two questions which arise in my mind here. Firstly, why are we judging him so early? I mean, what has he done that we are already branding him a power-crazy individual? Just accepted an Upper House nomination! That’s it. He hasn’t even set his foot in the environs of the Parliament, and people have got their knives out. Cynics have already passed their verdict that he will be clean bowled in this game of politics. If you are one of those, sadly, you don’t know Tendulkar yet. He is the greatest student of the game of cricket, and he hasn’t entered any ground in the world without studying the pitch or the conditions around. So, what is there to suggest that he will enter the Parliament unprepared? If I know him well, then I can tell you, he is going to do his homework well in advance. For the time being, can we just stop shooting quotes on the #Unfollow Sachin debate and give the man a benefit of doubt? He has earned that benefit, right?
Secondly, why do we demand that he must express his opinion on all matters concerning the society? I know he has done his best to stay away from public life till date. He has not voiced his opinions on anything controversial over the years. But why don’t we understand that he has had to live his life in a bubble, which he has carefully constructed around himself, given his status as the greatest sporting legend our country has produced. It is said an artist must be sacrificed to his art.
If he had bothered about anything else in the world, he wouldn’t have conquered records after records and every second Indian wouldn’t have pitched for him to be awarded Bharat Ratna (by the way, isn’t he already one?). Shouldn’t he be left alone to decide what is right or wrong for him? He didn’t ask us to consider him as a God. We thrusted that status upon him because of our love. It is none of our business to decide what he does in his life after cricket.
Our friend Vishnu Charan Velagapudi, in his article ‘Sachin, why this Kolaveri Di,’ in The Viewspaper yesterday has got his facts wrong. First and foremost, Sachin isn’t ‘contesting for Rajya Sabha’; he isn’t ‘lobbying for an assembly seat’; and finally, he hasn’t ‘joined the Congress Party’. On the contrary, let me tell you, if the president of a ruling party in a country invites a distinguished sportsman to honour him, it is simply good courtesy on the sportsman’s behalf to respect that invitation and make the visit. Sachin did exactly that. I would like to believe he accepted the nomination offer in good faith, until I hear from him otherwise. Also, by the way, in theory, the President of India has nominated him.
Also, let us assume he has the intention of joining politics after he retires. What is the big deal? What has happened is, that we have started to see ‘politics’ through a dark-coloured glass. We have come to almost accept that politics is dirty, and that every politician is corrupt. Those who think this way are forgetting that our country is still run by politicians. Not everybody is corrupt. We are not Somalia yet, are we? And as for Sachin, given his impeccable behavior over the years, if he wouldn’t make a good, non-corrupt MP, then God knows who will?
Finally, as an unabashed Sachin fan, I just want to say, what this nomination has done, it has made me realize the end is near. The day is not far when he will finally hang up his boots. I have been in denial since the World Cup victory that he is going to play another four-five years. I guess it is not true anymore. Friends, let us just enjoy his time in the middle of a cricket field, coz when he goes away, this game won’t be the same. Let us stay in the ‘now’ for a while. And, if he is indeed interested in a political afterlife (since cricket is his only life), I am all for an MP Sachin!