Placing IPL before tragedy is good business sense!
When people are suffering and coping with life after the blasts, we are having entertainment in the form of a cricket match! I don't know how the people of Jaipur will take it. Pradeep Magazine ponders.Updated: May 18, 2008, 01:38 IST
Flipping channels mechanically and keeping abreast with the IPL match score as well as the death toll in the Jaipur blast, made me go cold all of a sudden. One was entertainment, the other a tragedy where the news reader was keeping count of the dead and trying his best, between ad breaks, to convey how India once again has been done in by terror.
On the news channels we were being shown victims of the blast, their terror-stricken faces making you go numb with helplessness. Even in this time of horror and death, the channels had not removed the scroll at the bottom of their screens, keeping viewers informed about the score of the IPL match. This shows good business sense!
In the match itself, the celebrations at the fall of a wicket or a six hit or at spotting a film star were far from muted and when the creator of this grand show, Lalit Modi, was shown exulting at something he liked, it was obvious that no one in the stadium would have known that a series of bomb blasts had ripped the city of Jaipur. Modi, who belongs to that city, would not have been in such a celebratory mood had he known what was happening in his city.
By the time the match got over, Eden Gardens appeared to be a city on a different planet, completely untouched by the death and devastation in far away Jaipur. Mr Modi was on the dais along with Shah Rukh Khan and seemed very pleased with the fare dished out by the Kolkata outfit and Shoaib Akhtar.
The next day, they all expressed sadness at what had happened the previous night, but allayed all apprehensions of the next Jaipur match being cancelled.
The Australians and South Africans, who have in the past cancelled tours to the subcontinent when tragedies of lesser scale have taken place, too expressed their sadness, but there was no question of having a rethink and withdrawing from the tournament.
Obviously representing the country is a great honour and that is why taking a stand on these issues of greater significance. The threat and fear for ones life also must be increasing manifold in comparison to when you are playing as an individual, where the money you are getting is many times more than what you get for playing for your country.
So, sad they all were, but there was no question of turning their back on a concept, which has "revolutionised" the way cricket is going to be played and watched in the future.
What a relief that must be for the organisers, the sponsors and the TV channels! There were voices and concerns raised at the security threat to the players if the match is held in Jaipur but these were quickly allayed by Mr Modi, with the assurance that the stadium would be 'saturated' with cops so that not even an insect, leave alone a bomb, could dare to enter the ground.
There was one cricketer, part of the IPL jamboree, who made a comment which in times of commerce, corporatisation, money-making and a new "brave" attitude to life, may sound completely out of place, but no harm in recording it again here.
Venkatesh Prasad, now the Royal Challengers Bangalore coach, who has played for India with distinction, had this to say: "We need to be sensible and sensitive to the whole issue.
When people are suffering and coping with life after the blasts, we are having entertainment in the form of a cricket match! I don't know how the people of Jaipur will take it."
Prasad's reaction may be an anachronism in the times we live in where none of us thought about the feelings of those who have lost their loved ones but only of how a cancelled match could affect the revenues of all those involved with the running of the show and "us" being deprived of "our" daily dose of entertainment for a day.
It is far more easy and comfortable to be filling the storage space called memory with the IPL scores and move on with life.