Monday, May 26, 2008

Indian cricket clings on to feudal leftovers

By John Cheeran
Even in the era of globalization it is baffling that Indian society pays its fealty to feudal symbols. Take the much fashionable Twenty20 Indian Premier League for example.
Fifty per cent of the IPL teams have the royalty tag stuck to them.
Out of the eights teams, four are branded as Rajasthan Royals, King’s XI Punjab, Chennai Super Kings and Bangalore Royal Challenge.
Three teams somehow owing to certain compulsions had chosen differently. Deccan Chargers (Deccan Chronicle group, the owners wanted the team to mirror their DC image, so the name Chargers, though they were lacking and leaking charge desperately), Delhi Dare Devils (If Delhi had to embrace royalty, they should have named it Mughal Magicians or Marauders but that is not the politically correct thing to do in these surcharged times) and Kolkata Knight Riders. I’m yet to figure out who does the Knight, SRK, ride in Kolkata?
But then if you consider the fact when owner himself is a King, as in the case of Shah Rukh Khan, there is no desperation to call your side King’s Mutton Korma or anything like that.
I believe SRK has been referred to and revered as the King Khan by cricket and film journalists, even though SRK has become a banished king these days. (Well, is there any difference between film and cricket journalists when actress Lekha Washington is doing live reporting for Sony Max’s Xtra Innings?)

The only franchise that has branded their side with a modern name is Mukesh Ambani’s Mumbai Indians. And considering Ambani family’s plebian heritage it is no surprise that Mukesh chose not to have a silly royal tag for his franchise. And the brand name of Mumbai Indians, though the city’s cosmopolitan fabric is frayed under the onslaught of various centrifugal forces, has tried to capture the essence of modern India, melding nationalism with a feel for your inner city.
Yes, the past must be remembered but not necessarily glorified without any sense of history.

1 comment:

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