Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Stop making mountains from molehills !!

As my recent status messages on Facebook indicate, I am quite disappointed at the recent controversy involving Sachin Tendulkar and the Thackerays. The disappointment stems not just from the statements given by the two 'opponents' in this controversy, but more so from the needless manner in which the media has not just ignited the fire, but also fanned the flames.

So how did it all began ? It began with the press conference held to commemorate the Master Blaster completing two glorious decades in international cricket. It was meant to be a QnA session related to Sachin's glittering career, his achievements, his favourite moments etc etc. So ideally it was meant to be cricket and life related to cricket. But the media could not hold themselves asking Sachin the question of how he felt about the Marathi-Mumbai-Indian debate. And for one who has always been at more than an arm's length from any political statements and controversies, Sachin un-characteristically edged the wide swinging half-volley bowled by the media. That is where I am, frankly, disappointing with Sachin. I buy the point that he, like all of us, is entitled to a point of view and the freedom to express it. But then, is Sachin like all of us ?? A celebrity as revered as him should know that each statement of his is like gospel to his millions of fans. Hence, someone like him has to use his words carefully, especially on issues as topical and sensitive as these. Two words, "No comment" would have helped.

In any event, he just mentioned his point of view, which happened to be different from that of Raj Thackeray. The media got what they wanted. Now the headline that appeared in the media was to the effect that 'Sachin snubs Raj'. Now tell me, if you have a different view point from me, does that mean that you are snubbing me or vice-versa ? Or that one of us is more right than the other ? But the media portrayed it as if Sachin had virtually shown the finger to Raj, much to the delight of Raj's blood-bayers. If this is not fanning the fire, then what is ?

Then, just as everyone was waiting for Raj's reaction, there appeared a riposte from a different, though not entirely unexpected source, the Shiv Sena. Not wanting to be left out of this opportunity to get some political limelight, the Sena supremo replied through the Samna editorial. Now I have not read the editorial, but the statement that was highlighted on NDTV last evening was that Bal Thackeray had advised Sachin to 'stick to the cricket field and not play on the political field'. Leaving emotions aside, is that so wrong a thing to say ? I suspect that Sachin's coach might have said something similar. And not suprisingly, all sorts of political leaders jumped on the 'anti-Bal Thackeray' bandwagon, including the Maharashtra CM who appeared on NDTV yesterday for his reactions, as if he had nothing better to do.

All in all, a needless controversy !!. One only hopes the next time the media goes to Sachin for his reaction, he leaves the ball outside the off stump in the finest traditions of his batting.


PS: I read in the DNA today that Marathi bloggers were divided on blogosphere in their support of Sachin and Thackeray. Wonder if that was the media's intention ??????


Vivek Patwardhan said...

Dear Amit,

I respectfully differ with your view. If asked, Sachin must let his view known. He has neither volunteered it, nor he has taunted anyone like Jaya Bhaduri did.

The way Marathi Manoos campaign is happening, I feel, it is defeating its own purpose. Many sympathisers like me are turning away from it.

Hope you will appreciate a counter point though I am not seeking agreement on it.

Good post, one that will generate a lot of discussion,


Dhananjay said...

Hmmm interesting.
So much for freedom of speech.
Media is getting obnoxious thats for true.
Sachin did nothing wrong in answering a question which he was asked. He would have been panned by media if he wouldn't have answered that question. Considering that he still has few cricketing years left in him, and commerical considertations, his response was right one.
Terming it as a snub to Raj Thackrey is purely media fantasy. Thankfully Raj Thackrey has shown restraint and steered away from the issue << SRT may have called him up already ;-) >>
As to Shiv Sena, I read the editorial and it seems like an act of desparation. They have lost the Marathi Manoos agenda to RT and are trying desparate measures to gain centre stage again. But somehow for me atleast it shows, that Shiv Sena has lost the pulse of its electorate. Even a die hard Shiv Sainik will not tolerate anything against SRT.
Though next time SRT goes for a Press Conference he will issue a diktat - only cricket related Q's.
Maharashtra CM - well the less said about them (Congress + NCP) its better.
What a sorry sight it will be in a few days time when R.R. Patil as home minister will preside over few of the 26/11 rememberance events.

Kevin said...

Good post.

For me the key element in your post is the title. Invariably it is the media which plays a role in blowing up something out of proportion and it is indeed sad in the way they select their 'breaking' news items.

Amit said...

I doubt if "no comment" would have been let along. The media would have said - "Master Blaster refuses to comment on the Marathi Manoos issue. Is he on Raj's side but afraid to take a counter stand?" or something like that. And you may still have had the blogosphere divided on the media fan-fire :)