Rahul Dravid attending a children’s function organised by Vidya Bharati, an RSS-affiliated body, has set the Indian cricket captain among the communist pigeons. The Left has objected to Dravid’s presence at the function, clucking against the cricketer offering himself as an RSS poster-boy. The fact that the sporting hero was there to talk about the benefits of yoga to schoolchildren and not to lecture them about the Hindu-ness of a strong batting wrist is being comfortably overlooked by the self-styled monopolists of Indian secularism.
The reason why the Left is horrified that Dravid attended the function in Nagpur is because it is the master of politicising everything, sports included. In Left-ruled West Bengal, we had the bizarre display of the Cricket Association of Bengal elections being turned into a proxy war between two factions of the CPI(M) leadership. Earlier on, West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee did not think twice about using the issue of Sourav Ganguly being dropped from the Indian team to conduct a campaign against an ‘anti-Bengali’ board of selectors. With an established political party setting such examples, why blame non-entities like the Kalinga Sena for assaulting Greg Chappell recently in Bhubaneswar for reasons political?
So even if there was no politics or ideology involved in the Vidya Bharati function, the Left saw the RSS ‘exploiting’ Dravid in a manner that the comrades would have, given quarter the chance. The CPI(M) politburo member Brinda Karat’s statement that it is Dravid’s choice “if he wants to be made use of by the RSS” then makes perfect sense. It also provides us with a nice pavilion view of what goes on in our communists’ heads.