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"Jana Gana Mana" means nothing for our cricketing superstars

by K

For me India lost the match to Sri Lanka even before it began. I was appalled to see some our cricketing demi-gods sporting their shades while the national anthem was playing. This sums up their arrogant attitude and is a reflection of their commitment to the country. The disrespect shown by these jokers to the national anthem was more disturbing than the loss and exit from the world cup especially for a person like me who comes from a Fauji family.

Please do let me know if you have seen sportsmen from any other country sporting their shades or even any headgear while their national anthem plays... be it at the FIFA world cup, the Olympics or even before a cricket match.

These bludy civilians need to learn a lot from the Indian armed forces - in terms of fighting spirit, physical and mental fitness, performing under pressure in adverse conditons, respect for national symbols and commitment towards the country.

Jai Hind!


Homer said...


Its one thing to be upset about the Indians losing out in the WC T20, whole other thing to make irrational arguments.

Since when did wearing shades during the anthem tantamount to disrespect? Or is our sense of patriotism and self respect so weak that we get offended by trivialities?

And who are the blood civilians anyways? Who is the target of your angst?


K said...

well Homer.. let me inform you that even in television they teach you that when you are dealing with a serious subject you do not wear sunglasses on screen as an anchor... and the national anthem is something that a national team is supposed to take very seriously with the whole world observing them.. this is not trivial by any stretch of imagination.. there is a clear lack of respect for a national symbol by these bunch of jokers most of whom don't have a clue about the basic etiquettes and the protocol required at such important occasions.

FYI there are guidelines issued by the Indian government as to the conduct by Indian citizens when the national anthem is played in a public place.

Please point out members from any other sporting team doing the same while their anthem is played.

K said...

Perhaps wearing shades during the national anthem does not amount to disrespect in the United States but it certainly does amount to disrespect in the Indian context.

In fact, even in the American context, can you recall any American head of state, service chief or sportsperson sporting any head-gear or shades while the national anthem played.

It is not about getting offended by trivialities. In that case why do we require them to even stand during the national anthem. They can just laze around on the ground and turn on their I-pods even as the national anthem plays.

It's about showing respect towards a national symbol in totality and not half-heartedly.

Krish said...

I agree with Homer about this. It is like this whole controversy about whether Obama put his hand on his heart during the national anthem.

The important thing is whether the person loves his country and that you cannot know because it is inside his head.

Homer said...


It will behoove you to know that until recently, I, as a citizen of the Republic of India could not fly the national flag in my backyard in the Republic of India.

And what of all the paper flags strewn all over the streets on the evening of Republic Day or Independence Day? What about the symbolism then?

"It's about showing respect towards a national symbol in totality and not half-heartedly." - Who decides what is in totality and what is half hearted? Are there set parameters?

Or is this just a case of taking offense because you can?


K said...

Homer.. the fact that a large section of our population does not know the code of ethics relating to our national symbols doesn't mean for even a second that our sportsmen, the ambassadors of our country, ignore the protocol or etiquettes relating to our national symbol. Your argument seems absurd. Do you expect your diplomats, sportsmen, top government officials, all of whom are your representatives at the international level, to behave in the same manner as some of our ignorant general public.

Our cricketers should know basic protocol relating to national symbols. If they don't already know it, it's their duty to find out as they should realize that they have the privilige of representing a billion people and with that privilige comes a lot of responsibility. And these things are taught in school. I can't understand their indifference towards such issues.

Ohh.. perhaps they are always in the 'brand endorsement' mode and therefore cannot let go of their fashion accessories even for a moment.

As for their half-hearted attitude.. let me remind you that Dhoni after winning the IPL said that - the victory at the IPL would be far more memorable for him than the victory at the 2007 T20 World Cup.

Homer said...


Now you are making an absurd argument.

If it is a fact that "a large section of our population does not know the code of ethics relating to our national symbols" then our sportsmen, diplomats et al have been culled from that general populace.. They did not fall into our laps, as God's gift to mankind.

So why hold them to a separate standard from the rest of the population?

"Our cricketers should know basic protocol relating to national symbols. If they don't already know it, it's their duty to find out as they should realize that they have the privilige of representing a billion people and with that privilige comes a lot of responsibility" - Actually you are the one privileged that they choose to represent us. Given the general apathy with which sports is treated in India, it is a wonder that these talented men and women pursue their dreams with single minded determination and succeed. For that, you should be greatful to them, not they to you.

If you have done your bit in facilitating their path from obscurity to fame, maybe then you can claim a sliver of right in demanding of them. Until then, hold your peace.


Homer said...


Noticed the MS Dhoni bit at the end.. He won the T20 WC right? So he is the person best placed to compare what gave him more satisfaction, right?
And if he were having an "half-hearted attitude" as you claim., he would still be a ticket collector at Ranchi.

So much for that!


K said...

Why should I be grateful to the cricketers? Are they doing me a favour by pursuing their passion and their dreams and then making loads of money out of it once they succeed. They are all doing themselves a favour by working hard and getting selected. It's about making a living out of it. They should be grateful to all of us that we follow their sport with a foolish obsession and worship them. All cricketers should be accountable to us, the stakeholders in Indian cricket, since they demand a heavy fee for their services. They are the paid employees of Indian cricket fans. And there's no more apathy in this country towards cricket, even the facilities in places like Ranchi are very impressive.

If there is apathy, it's towards Olympic sports. These sportsmen need to be given greater respect because they play for medals first and foremost and are never promised large sums of money even if they win. Money is the last thing on their mind. Country always comes first for them. These are the sportspersons who in the real sense beat the odds to make it to the top because they do it without the support of sponsors, the governament and at times even their own families.

Therefore, it would not be fair to have the same parameters of accountability for cricketers and sportspersons from Olympic disciplines.

By the way, as a sports journalist who has spent a few years covering various sports, I can tell you that there is a huge difference between the attitude of our cricketers and their counterparts in the Olympic disciplines. Some of our top cricketers are the most ill-mannered sportspersons you'll ever come accross. They lack courtesy and at times think can get away with a lot of nonsense just because they have worked their way to the top with long years of hard-work and dedication.

Well, here's some news.. anyone who wants to be amongst the best in his/her profession has to wrok equally hard in their field, so these guys are not as special as you think they are. They are just professionals who are good really good at their job. They deserve the accolades when they do well but at the same time also deserve the brickbats when they fail to live up to the expectations of their stakeholders.

Mahek said...

I think all of us play a role in the players being where they are. Not as directly as their coaches, friends or relatives but as stakeholders in the sport.

Let's not forget the players wouldn't be leading the affluent life they are if it wasn't for the huge cricket following for cricket in the country. It's what gets the TV ratings through the roof and companies willing to pay millions for 10 second slots, thereby allowing broadcast companies to pay the BCCI millions of dollars which trickle down to the players. To say that the players don't have a responsibility toward them is daft.

That said, I have seen Major League players wearing shades during the Star Spangled Banner. Edgar Davids wore his funky glasses during the Dutch National Anthem. He needed them during the game as he had an eye problem but he didn't have to before the game.

I don't know if there is a protocol that states one isn't allowed to wear shades or headgear during our national anthem. But if there is one, the players should follow it. If they don't know about it someone needs to tell them but let's not mistake their ignorance for insensitivity. I can understand someone from a family of armed forces being indignant about it but this is something that can be corrected just by telling the players. I don't think any of them would be callous enough to not oblige.

Anonymous said...

Wow.. I thought the post was so ridiculous sounding, it had to be some sort of sarcastic gag.. but these discussions actually show the writer has actually taken offense to the players wearing shades. Its not just some fashion accessory.. It helps them on the field. Let's say, one of the players wears glasses (such as Sreesanth or Dilip Doshi).. do they have to remove their glasses during the national anthem? I see this situation where the writer who got frustrated with the team's results, decided to take offense at something as trivial as shades (because he can).. Hey buddy! FoX News has a spot for you!

Rohit said...

Team India could be doing handstands during the anthem for all I care as long as they actually win.

This is a trivial argument. I can understand a person with an armed forces background being a little touchy about such symbols of nationalism, but really?

namya said...

Bloody civilians!! said...

hard to beleive this discussion is happening on this blog; a bolt from the blue; remember someone taking offence when a glass of beer was kept on the national flag at a cricket match, why does our pseudo nationalism have to raise it's head only when we talk about cricket, and this cliched harangue about cktrs making money, what the hell's wrong with making money? and bloody civilians was priceless. a 100 guns military salute for our revered sports writer 'K', who's taken our country to 'trial' said...

herr military family sports writer, we bow our heads in shame to your exalted personal; hail hitler said...

a news item on 'india tv' (y am i not surprised) did a piece after the sl match called 'desh ke dagabaz'. k, its the opportune time to send your views to india tv, you'd become a celebrity overnight and might even become the hero of manoj kumar's comeback movie, playing his dad or granddad depending on your age

Ram5160 said...

Come on, ease off. They did nothing wrong in my opinion. As far as i am concerned,
1)I do love my country and that love and patriotism cannot be quantified by a simple anthem.
2)I bloody well will not be forced to do anything in a particular way.

Anil Singh said...

Sorry K,

But your assertion that civilians are somewhat less patriotic than those belonging to armed forces is nothing but arrogance.

It's al right if a civilian says 'soldiers' do great service to the nation; but praising oneself is nothing but again arrogance. As any person, who does his job honestly and with dedication is serving his/her nation. It's not necessary to join forces to serve one's country well.

Regarding the national anthem, it's not necessary to stand when national anthem is being sung.

So kindly don't make the debate so narrow.