On the night before India’s World Cup semi-finals with Australia, I innocently tweeted: ‘Heart with India, head with Australia.’ Within minutes, followers on my twitter account were enraged: Not for the first time was I branded ‘anti-national’ for even suggesting that Australia had the edge over India. I should have known better than to challenge cricket hyper-nationalism.
Prime time news television thrives on the idea of a daily enemy, someone who can be court-martialled every night and then pronounced guilty by the news anchor playing the double role of judge and prosecutor. Politicians are the staple accused, but in the last 18 months our netas have had competition from a cricket official. In news television’s imagination, N Srinivasan has come to exemplify the rot in the country’s number one sport and there have been loud calls for his removal from the cricket board.
A Mahabharata is being played out in Maharashtra even before Election Day. For the BJP Shiv Sena alliance, it's all about kaun banega mukhya mantri. The saffron alliance knows its in pole position to capture power, but wants something more: it wants the kursi of the chief minister.