The World cup dream is over for team India this year, just like for 12 other teams. India had a fantastic journey through out, with 7 consecutive win and marvellous performances by almost everybody in the team. India was able to make it to the final four of the prestigious tournament. But somehow was not able to make it to the gala final. The reason is pretty simple- Australia played well. That, as they say, is ‘cricket’. But Indian media- social as well as mainstream- has targeted film actress Anushka Sharma for it, because she was present in the stadium during the match!
Healthy jokes are fine. But Anushka has been targeted with real mean jokes and hardcore abuses on her Facebook page by the Indian ‘cricket fans’. Her relationship with Virat Kohli has been talked about like never before. This brings us to a disturbing and real question: Is the intellect of the Indian society and media not mature enough to take defeat gracefully? Is Indian society constructed in such a way that it seeks to blame a woman for reasons that have nothing to do with her?
The answer for me is not in a simple yes or no. The answer is hidden on the social media outbursts. Sadly, various news channels picked this up and created shows around it- trying to investigate from their air conditioned studios if Anushka was really the reason behind the loss! What level of gutter analysis has our media fallen to?
Markandey Katju, former Justice at the Supreme Court of India, wrote something sensible on his Facebook page. He wrote, “The intellectual level of the Indian media can be understood by noting that one item of discussion in it is whether Anushka Sharma was the cause of India’s defeat against Australia.” This truly exposes the state of our media’s ‘intellect’ at various levels.
We have extremely lazy journalists who instead of putting in effort to fetch newsworthy items, spend the entire day in discussing cricket mythology! Like primitive societies who saw monsoon as the wrath of gods, these journalists in twenty first century India of great scientific achievements see the cause of defeat in cricket in a woman! Then we have the fans who do nothing but target an actress for performance in a game of cricket. And we have other trollers who justify this with numerous reasons. A country which blames an actress for eliminating its cricket team from the world cup, and not recognise other team’s good performance- do not really deserve to win the World Cup trophy.
While blaming Anushka, people forgot that she had equal right as a citizen of the country to visit the stadium and enjoy an important game in the World Cup. In the stadium, as it was reported, almost 70 percent seats were taken by the Indian cricket fans. And she is a fan too. Being there was pretty much her personal matter.
As a mature modern society we should not have even discussed this. As fans we certainly have the right to discuss Virat Kohli’s performance in a crucial match. Virat failed to deliver in an extremely important match. It must be discussed in an over-obsessed cricket nation like India. Virat became celebrity because people love cricket more than any other sport in this country. Let us not get into the reasons of why this is the most popular (or most marketed) sport, and why other sports have not enjoyed the glamour cricket has. That may lead to a different debate altogether.
Few days back everybody wrote wonderful things about Anushka after watching NH-10. Everybody on social media became ‘feminist’ for a day. But our mindset has been exposed in less than two weeks. We are part of a society which has a crude sense of humour and also continue to believe in strange myths. Before winning World Cup, we need to mature as a society. That is crucial. World Cup is not.
This article was first published on LokMarg on March 27, 2015.