Research Paper: Cricket and Indian National Consciousness
CRICKET AND NATIONAL CONSCIOUSNESS Presented By: Ankur Pandey and Mitali Agarwal International Institute of professional Studies, DAVV November, 12,2011
Objectives• To determine relationship between sports and politics, and in particular between sport and national consciousness.• To depict the role of Cricket in Pre and Post colonial British- India and recently in the Media; in the Indian sub-continent.• To Identify Cricket as a unifying factor in India.
Introduction• There is close relationship between sports and politics, and in particular betweensport and national consciousness.• The Olympic Games & the football, Rugby and Cricket World Cups have often been used as platform for the expression of nationalistic sentiments.• The Olympic Games promoted international trade and was amanifestation of global capitalism. However, they have also been used to expressPolitical statements.• The Munich Olympics of 1936 were used by Hitler to highlight hisbelief in German racial superiority and during the Mexico Olympics of 1968, twoAfrican-Americans raised their fists in the Black Power salute and wereconsequently banned from representing the USA again.
•The political consciousness most affected by sport is nationalism, and vice versa.•Sporting nationalism peaks when a national feels insecure orthreatened. This can be observed very well when we see countries like India- Pakistanand Australia-England playing.•Competitive sports can reflect or maintain a collective psychology, the mythic structureswithin sport can help give rise to collective identities; sport can also be used to achievepolitical motivation.•There is a strong link between cricket and Indian consciousness which requires detailedanalysis. Coming to a clearer understanding of the relationship between the two candemonstrate and provide insights on how these elements of Indian identity can becomemore relevant.
Literature Review HISTORY OF CRICKET IN INDIA• The history of cricket in India has a fostered both nationalism and communalism.• It developed differently at different times in different parts of the Indian subcontinent and The links between cricket and independent „Indian‟ consciousness can first be seen in the late 19th century.• Quadrangular and Pentangular tournaments in Bombay were started in the early 20th century. Parsi merchants were the first to take up cricket in the late 19th century with Hindus and Muslims participating soon after the turn of the century. The Quadrangular tournaments in Bombay consisted of English, Hindu, Parsi, and Muslim teams. Later, they developed into the Pentagular- the fifth team being known as „All the rest‟, comprising Indian Christians, Buddhists and Jews.• By the 1920s and 1930s the tournaments had become very popular- about 20,000 fans would attend a match. Some academics suggest that this was in part because they were communal, no other tournament was as popular and the organizers recognized their commercial potential early on.
• Cricket in Bombay was organized along communal lines, elsewhere in the country it was not.• In Bengal, Madras and other parts, it was adopted by the middle classes and the elites in conjuction in order to beat their colonial rulers at their own game.• Indigenous sports such as wrestling did not bring acceptance in British eyes. Therefore, participation in „European‟ sports was encouraged by the elites of Bengal as a way of challenging the occupiers at their own games.• These „English‟ ideas and the English game of cricket were promoted and some argue that the growth of both is linked. Cricket was actively promoted by the British in India as a way of preaching „English‟ .alues, ethics and culture.
CRICKET AND THE MEDIA• Another crucial factor that has increased the link between cricket and national consciousness is the deregulation of the television industry that took place in 1933.• The success in the World Cup ten years earlier combined with the spread of new television stations brought cricket to whole new audiences throughout India.• Australian media mogul Rupert Murdoch‟s Star Sports and ESPN channels have become the mainstay for bringing cricket to an ever-widening audience.• He said “Radio and more particularly television, has made cricket the most popular game in India; Men, Women and Children who had no interest in the game earlier have now become ardent fans- all because of its broadcast by radio and television”.• Cricket on television is a boon for advertisers because commercials can be shown every few minutes or so, after each over, this combined with the need for the new channels to fill their schedules meant more and more matches being shown!• Multinational Corporations (MNCs), on eneting India needed Cricket players as brand ambassadors to represeent the Public.• MNCs have exploited the subcontinent‟s love of cricket, and also for Bollywood. Using movie stars and cricketers to advertise their products, MNCs gained an extraordinary reach in the subcontinent.• In India billboards with cricketers like Sachin Tendulkar or M.S. Dhoni or other movie stars like Shah Rukh Khan holding Pepsi or Coca Cola are ubiquitous.
• The media has deepened this link between cricket and nationalism, and nowhere has this been more obvious than in the recent 2007 cricket Wrld Cup. The Hindustan Times advertised the World Cup as „War in WIndies‟; PepsiCo used the slogan „Blue Billion‟ to link Indian‟s passion for cricket with national consciousness and their brand.• Philip Lahm quoted “If your national identity is expressed… predominantly through sport, … that’s actually a rather good thing. We can see German nationalism [for example] re-emerged during the football World Cup, in such a healthy non- xenophobic manner, [it was] felt that media makes the most of it”.• Indian economy was liberalized and „big money‟ was poured. The developments also brought about a growing middle class who, Pritish Nandy argues “expanded the scope and range of national consciousness”. He points out that the middle classes in India are the standard bearers of nationalism and encouraged the links between cricket and national consciousness.
Cricket Between India and Pakistan• Hyper nationalism comes to the fore particularly when Indian plays Pakistan in cricket or Hockey.• In the run-up to the India/Pakistan match in the quarter finals of the 2003 World Cup, the media went into overdrive portraying this as „mimic warfare‟• A Bengali newspaper represented the match as war, with the cricket pitch as the battleground.• A Gujrati newspaper used computer generated imagery to turn the Indian and Pakistani cricket teams into soldiers, complete with military uniform and guns.
Cricket and Bollywood• Cricket had majorly influenced World‟s biigest film Industry, Bollywood.• In a country like India, apart from religions there lies only two things- Cricket and Bollywood• Cricketers are featured as an USP to the movies in Bollywood.• Sunil Gavaskar in „Awwal No‟. with Aamir Khan.• Ajay Jadeja in „Khel‟alongside Suniel Shetty and Sunny Deol.• Vinod Kambli was seen in “Anarth” with Sanjay Dutt.• In „Mujhse Shaadi Karogi‟ Indian Legend Kapil Dev appeared with Navjot Singh Siddhu with present Indian players Harbhajan Singh, Ashish Nehra, Irfan Pathan and others.
• Movies based upon cricket are also being made like “Iqbal” “Victory” “Hat-trick” and the famous, nominated for Oscar “Lagaan”• Yuvraj Singh and Mahendra Singh Dhoni can be seen as Manish Malhotra‟s show stopper.• Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar is seen in every one or the other advertisement and He will soon be appearing in a movie called GANESHA.
Relationships in Bollywood and Cricket• Late Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi, popularly known as “Nawab Pataudi” with the gorgeous Sharmilla Tagore. The legend with the beauty!• Ravi Shastri and Amrita Singh, Mohammed Azharuddin with Sangita Bijlani.• Cross-border romance is also being spotted such as Pakistani opener Mohsin Khan and Reena Roy.• West Indian legend, Sir Vivian Richards was a huge fan of Indian cinema married Neena Gupta.• In today‟s scenario, in the Indian Premium League the entertainment meets the sport. After the match, the late night parties or the celebrations, cricketers are seen with the models and the Bollywood divas.• Salman Khan, the Bollywood superstar, organised cricket matches for his “Being Human Foundation” a charity in which various cricketers participated including pakistanis as well to raise councciousnes for the people.
Conclusion• It has been argued in this paper that several elements have contributed to the close links between cricket and Indian national consciousness. From a historical perspective, it was a major factor as a way of Non-violent „fitting in‟ with the British.
• The connections between cricket and South Asian national identities have firmly established Healthy relationship in the subcontinent.• Once the colonizers left, the game continued to flourish• Cricket has been a major tool to „noramlise‟ the tense realtionship between India and Pakistan several times.
• Once the game was established, the media and politicians used cricket as a way of boosting their ratings and popularity. As cricket rose in the national consciousness of India, MNCs latched onto it as a way of enhancing their sales figures. Bollywood also capitalized on the links between anti-colonial feeling and national consciousness, with the movie Lagaan providing the most successful example of this.• Finally, Cricket has been used to consolidate ashared Indian identity and also as a way ofexpressing alternative identities.
In conclusion it can be argued that cricket both unites the peopleof India, and which of these happens depends on a variety offactors including the team‟s success, the relationship minoritieshave with the centre and with whom the team is playing. Theseinconsistencies are not seen only in India; they are present inPakistan, Sri Lanka and England and other Counteies as well.Such contradictions are not surprising, however, because theIndian national consciousness is not a homogeneous identity; itmeans different things to different people in a country whereeveryone has a regional and religious identity, as well as anational identity. Support for the team encompasses all theseidentities and even more.
REFERENCES• Crick E. (June, 2007). Cricket as a form of multi-track diplomacy between India and Pakistan, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, New Delhi.• Guttman, A. (2003). Sport, Politics and the Engaged Historian, Journal of Contemporary History, Vol. 38, No. 3, p. 383.• Sengupta, J. (June, 2004). Globalizing Patriotism-some Lessons from the Cricket World Cup of 2003, The International Journal of the History of Sport, Vol. 21, Nos. 3 and 4, p.586.• Guha R. (2002). A Corner of a Foreign Field: The Indian History of a British Sport, London: Picador, p. 350.
• Majumdaar B. (Sept 1, 2001). The Politics of Leisure in Colonial India-Lagaan: Invocation of a Lost History Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 36,No. 35, pp. 3399-404.• Interview with Pritish Nandy, April 26, 2007.• Supreme Court Case-161 in 1995, as quoted in Majudmar, n. 8, p. 367.• Rupert Murdoch at a press conference in Sydney, Australia.• Philip Lahm, captain Germany Soccer team, in a press Interview.