Friday, September 28, 2007
Sex sells, and so does cricket
Yesterday I was reading an article in the Indian Express about the hunger strike announced by leading hockey players to protest against the ‘step-motherly’ treatment meted out to them by the country at large.
While the country is rejoicing and celebrating the success of the Indian cricket team on bringing home the T20 world cup, and the state and various other associations are scrambling in to announce awards and rewards for the men in blue, there are other equally deserving sportspersons who are feeling left out. And I really don’t blame them.
For the sake of argument, let us talk about the national hockey players.
Not many know that recently they won the Asia Cup. So we see that there is hardly any 'name'/publicity of their success. Let us now check out where they rank at the 'fame' chart. Getting straight to the figures, each cricketer got Rs. 80 lakh from BCCI, an apartment worth Rs. 25 lakh from Sahara, and amounts varying from Rs. 5 lakh – Rs. 1 crore and a Porsche 911 from the state and/or BCCI as a token appreciation for their performance, and unlimited air travel for the players, their families and the entire team, courtesy Air India and Indian Airlines. In contrast, the hokey players were rewarded with a comparatively meager amount by the IHF, an amount as low as Rs. 1 lakh.
I have two issues here. 1) There is no doubt that the cricketers did a marvelous job, but don’t other players who bring laurels to the nation deserve comparative treatment and appreciation? And,
2) The prize money offered to cricketers is obscene. Think about it. India is a country where money needs to be carefully and humanely spent. On one hand there are thousands who sleep hungry, who don’t have a shed to sleep under, no clothes to wear and in the same country the state is contributing to the already ridiculous disparity between the rich and the poor by doing this. I mean come to think of it, just one game and each of the players got richer by at least a crore of rupees and a house! And lower/middle and upper middle class working sector people slog for 40-50 years and maybe don’t even earn as much as these men do by winning just one match. Unfair. Totally.
I am not against or jealous if at all you think I am sounding that way, I am just unhappy to learn this. I also understand that there are some areas like sports that has a lot of money in it – but then one should be just – how can hockey / badminton / billiards not be as respectable as cricket. I think it is about the popularity. People like cricket in India so it is paid well. People like Golf/Soccer/Tennis in the west, so those sport stars are well paid.
Essentially if you want to be rich, either you should be born rich or, you better do what the janta wants you to do.