Being Dalit is a crime in Indian cricket

Written by: Rajesh Krishna
Published: Wednesday, July 15, 2009, 18:42 [IST]
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Being Dalit is a crime in Indian cricket

At last Vinod Kambli's sub-conscious mind has revealed that stunning truth.

"I always felt discriminated against by the cricket board because of my caste and colour"

Yes, Kambli was just another victim of a hidden social bias in Indian cricket.

Not at all a wonder, this is not just the story of Vinod Kambli, It is the fate of all dalits from the day cricket was born in India.

Indian cricket Board has always alienated the marginalised sections, the deprived, the lowered castes, the ethnic nationalities and dalits.

Believe it or not, the 4% Brahmin's in India have on an average more than 70 pc representation in the Indian cricket teams. Its not a a mere coincidence that Gavaskar, Dravid, Sourav Ganguly, Kumble, Tendulkar, Laxman and many other stalwarts of the Indian cricket are Brahmins.

As of my knowledge only two dalits have so far represented India in his 75 years of history (Balwanth Paloo from Karnataka and Vinod Kambli).

Balu Palwankar was the first Dalit to be chosen as a member of the Indian team which played in England in 1911.

Vinod Kambli , who created a world record with the Tendulkar was the second dalit member in Indian cricket member. But where is tendulkar now and Kambli is completely forgotten.

Kambli scored Bradmanesque in the first two Series While coming back with the good results in the first 4 series. He was the third Highest Scorer in the 1996 World Cup and had the second best average in the World Cup.

Vinod Kambli was forced retire with an over 50 average due to not being given enough chances. He was surely targeted by the elite BCCI bosses who promoted only elite players in Indian cricket.

This discrimination can be seen not only seen in cricket grounds, but also in the movies which made cricket as the major theme. One classic example is the movie Lagan itself, this is indeed a movie which insults Dalit cricketers.

The main actor Aamir Khan who is the upper caste Bhuvan is the leader of the team. The untouchable Kachra finds his place in the team because he is handicapped. Why should the dalits be portrayed as physically handicapped.

The reason is simple, upper cast directior Ashutoish Gowarikar wants to portray that Dalits  as a physically inferior race. Kachra"s talent comes only because of his handicap. In the climax of the movie they even make the upper caste Bhuvan to score the winning six.

On December 21st, 2003, two Dalit youths in Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh were brutally murdered by Rajputs in the village. The major cause for this murder was the defeat in successive cricket matches that was considered an insult to Rajputs who considered themselves invincible and the least to be beaten by the 'dirty and good for nothing" dalits.

The village pradhan is suspected to be behind in these ghastly murders. For poor Dalits who dare to use cricket as a way to achieve empowerment, these are the responses of upper caste elites and their institutionally entrenched cohorts.

When can a dalit dream of playing in Indian tream ? When humanity is lost so terribly?

Legendary sports broadcaster John Arlott had once said sport reflected its society. It truly does in India. While the British used it Cricket as tool to maintain their imperialistic stranglehold, today it is being very well used by the corporate capitalists to maintain the great divide in India.

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