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Today, 5 August 2019 has become a historic day in our history as something which could not be done in 70 years has taken shape now. Union Home minister Amit Shah has announced that Article 370 which grants special status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir will be scrapped. He also announced that Jammu and Kashmir will no longer be a state and it will be bifurcated into two Union Territories— Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh.  read more...
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Hockey players getting peanuts, says Gagan Ajit Singh
Hockey star Gagan Ajit Singh on Wednesday lamented there was "grave injustice and discrimination" done with hockey players, who were "ignored by all" despite bringing laurels to the nation.

"Our team won the Asia Cup by defeating a formidable rival in a convincing manner. This was no small achievement and despite our team's efforts what did they get in return, just peanuts," Gagan told PTI in Chandigarh.

"What are their efforts worth. Did IHF hold a mega function the way a function was organised to welcome the cricketers. Would our players not feel good if top brass of the Federation had gone to receive them at the airport when they returned after winning the Asia Cup," he asked.

Gagan said though monetary benefits were not everything, but they did matter.

"When we won the junior world cup, what we got was just about Rs 6-7 lakh. I am not saying money is everything, but at the end of the day, it matters. After all, every player is giving his sweat and blood to earn a name for himself, his country and to make his life better," he said.

The advertiser is not a fool but a crook with his enormous greed and knows only the language of profit . The words patriotism and social welfare do not exist in his dictionary.

The outsourcing done by foreign firms to India is a glaring instance though India has benefitted from it. If and when he pretends to be having a social welfare aim, there is behind it his hidden profit motive and an opportunity for greater publicity for his products giving him more profit. He regards his “social welfare measures” as part of his advertisement --no more and no less.

The occasion to come out with this observation is the agitation of Indian hockey players who have won the Asia Cup in 2007 to be treated on par with the cricket heroes who have won the first ever Twenty-20 cricket tournament in South Africa and each of them has got monetary rewards totalling minimum around 75 lakh rupees each.

In this “hit out or get out” version of cricket there is no grace or artistry of Test cricket and it is faster and briefer that ODIs.

Carvalho, the Indian genius of a hockey coach, is rightly worried that Indian hockey players who won the Asia Hockey neither got such publicity nor such rewards.

On 9 September 2007, Indian hockey team had beaten Korea 7-2 in what was an amazingly fast artistic dribble, entering the D of Korean Korean team at will and scoring goals at will. India had won this cup in 2003 for the first time. Why are Shivendra Singh ,Prabhjot Singh, Ignace Tirkey etc. not national heroes ?

Earlier on 29 August 2007, Indian football team had a similar great achievement when it beat Syria, the hot favourites. The great heroes in that match were N P Pradeep, Bhaichung Bhutia etc. who deserve to be honoured as the heroes of this year. But ask young cricket enthusiasts and they do not even know who these players are because they do not play cricket.

Vishwanathan Anand is close to world chess title as I write this ( Sept 26 )except one English channel in the passing.

For more than ninety six hours we have had extensive coverage of cricket by the television channels who have interviewed even the family members of these cricket heroes and have even shown the lack of musical talent of Yograj,the father of Yuvraj Singh, singing sentimentally, closing his eyes.

Yograj is newsworthy at the moment because he is the father of Yuvraj. Some television channels became cricket channels for six days almost giving no coverage to important national news.

Are Indian politicians aware of this disgraceful discrimination between cricket and
other games ? How can they be ?

The Indian cricket board is the richest in the world because of which Sharad Pawar captured it.

Why did not Pawar take interest in hockey ? Indian hockey team is in the vicious grip of K.P.S. Gill who knows how to hold on to the post and create no big funds to reward the players, give them big incentives for a stellar performance in
future olympics. There is a story about how he captured the post...

Why has this happened ?

Here comes in the vicious role of advertisers. They systematically promoted cricket, chose some of the cricketers as their brand ambassadors. This of course was started by US multinationals first and later Indian companies jumped into it.

Why did not other sports appeal to these advertisers ?

The reasons are obvious.

Cricket is a five to seven tamasha. If shown, on television channels it gives prolonged advertisement to say Sahara whose logos Indian cricketers display. It is a game with hours of dullness suddenly sparkling when there is a dramatic collapse or series of sixers are hit.

Compare it with hockey where every minute is packed with artistry, fast movement, passing from wings to the centre and back and in a flash a goal is score with breath taking speed and brilliance. How can cricket ever come near hockey ?
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But advertisers know from where they can get more money.

It is the western style, the vulgar style where big money, heavy betting and building cult figures in sports is the settled trend because real great men is what their countries can never produce.

Dhyan Chand, Digvijay Singh Babu, Dara, Iqbal or Dhanraj Pillai, absolutely world class hockey players of India are not even known to sports lovers.

We have top billiards and snooker players. Indian politicians, most of them, think that billiards is the name of a Hollywood actor and snooker is a modern version of snuff.

If these politicians rush to a cricket show and stage it is because they know they will get some publicity and can please their voters. It is what happened in the Bombay show of 26 September when politicians sat in the front row with only Dhoni amidst and the players were in the back row, not even visible.

Behind all this is the lack of morality and patriotism of advertisers.

This profit motive, the sinister feature of a capitalistic system like USA and now spread globally like AIDS, also said by some Russians to be an American gift to the world, has come to stay and become a permanent bane of our lives.

India was never top ranked cricket team of the world in Test or ODIs inspite of some achievements.

In hockey its glory remains unparalled. Remember in recent past how Dhanraj Pillai dribbled past five Pakistan defenders and scored a goal and repeatedly created openings for othe forwards. It was a much greater show of skill and brilliance than any cricket innings ever can have.

Indian football has improved recently. In billiards and snooker India has been among the top ranked nations of the world. Now Vishwanath Anand has begun to dominate world chess like no Indian before.

But it is cricket, cricket and cricket only.

The vicious circle is complete when television channels which want fat advertisement revenue decide to cover cricket and neglect other games.

Do not expect, Indian television channels to have well educated, well informed fellows knowing the distinction between a real achievement in other sports and cricket. Like legal profession, in India fellows who are not even mediocrities get employed in television channels and can be said to be slightly better than professional astrologers who “claim” to have taken a contract from God to change people’s fate.

Burma is in the grip of a big agitation. Nepal has become dangerous. Musharraf is
fighting a battle to survive as president. Manmohan Singh Indian prime minister is
getting rebuffs from the leftist parties. Sonia Gandhi is promoting dynastic ambitions. It is not news according to our television channels. All that is happening is India, that is Bharat, is playing cricket !!

( 26 September 2007)

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