The Indian Cricket Team finally managed to win something at the highest level, after decades of no trophies but plenty of skeletons in the cupboard, they have managed to work as a team and not rely on individual brilliance too much to do what they did. Accolades. Notwithstanding the fact that the industry most happy with this is undoubtedly the advertising industry, the brilliant turn of events which ended in “The Hijack”, as I would put it, cannot be attributed totally to them. Instead, one has to rely on the creativity of the Indian Cricket Fan to account for it.
A month or so earlier, a motley group of girls appeared on to silver screen, led by a charismatic coach whose previous achievements include chopping up girls (Baazigar) and uncontrollable stuttering (forgot ): , to show, or rather, remind us of an obscure game that is supposedly our National Game, which is presently in the shadow of another game which the egoistic Briyanshu plays. In the movie, hockey is put down quite crudely by Briyanshu and the Hockey Board elites,unlike the India’s Cricket fans, who use more refined methods.
A month ago, anyone shouting Chak de India! would have automatically been recognised
as a passionate hockey fan, and maybe even a women’s hockey supporter. From the past fifteen days, the hijack started, and culminated with India winning the T20 cup. Now, Chak de India! refers only to the glorious, history making cricket team. We have come a long way from when the actresses from the movie were giving press conferences to encourage women using the the movie as a platform, to the present where large gatherings of male cricket fans shout out the slogan the movie popularized to achieve the exact same ends that it speaks out against : The average Indian’s preoccupation with cricket, and the male dominated sports scene. SRK did not make things better by turning out to hug each and every cricketer, whereas I doubt he did the same when India won the Asia Cup in hockey. The very equality that he so eloquently vocalizes for in the movie can hardly be seen in his own actions. The hijack is complete! The method of the Indian Cricket Fan is clear now : acknowledge all sports to be equally important when asked to, but in the normal day-to-day life, elegantly ignore their existence.
That the hockey team had to go on a hunger strike to be noticed shows how far behind hockey is in the race to capture the common man’s imagination. Why we still persist in calling it our National Game is quite a mystery. Maybe some kind of sense of duty, or a lack of common sense to correct past mistakes. One has to face the fact that hockey, in the discernible future atleast, will be given the stepmotherly treatment that a true hockey fan would deplore. Cricket is what binds more Indians together, and hence should sensibly be our National Game. Not that I’m a great fan of cricket, but just that it seems reflect the Indian passions more correctly as opposed to the present state of affairs.