No time for proper jottings. Only scribbles. Flooded with messages, phone calls, all pouring in. The family says I look 92! Too much tension at this age. Ah, the good ol’ days when gentlemen captains politely asked how the pitch would behave. Not like today’s upstarts. First e-mail message read, ‘I want rank turner—MSD’, the second one hours later ordered ‘I want rank turner from day 1—MSD’. Then another ‘Get Wankhede pitch to Eden Gardens, MSD’. Look, I am 82, this is all rather confusing. Should I consult the Cricket Association of Bengal? Who the hell was MSD? Then came another series of mails, ‘Prepare rank turner from day 1 as ordered by MSD-BCCI’, ‘Get Wankhede pitch to Eden, MSD is our blue-eyed boy—BCCI’.
What is happening? As a groundsman, I am aware of only two colours, green and brown, and was puzzled by the blue-eyed boy reference. Of course, most Indian curators have almost forgotten to make green pitches but I can still do it. But the message flood continued, ‘Sending Ashish Bhowmick, he will supervise your work so that MSD’s wish is fulfilled—BCCI’. Now that made me see red, a colour with which I am familiar. I know Ashish, the East Zone curator, but he was junior to me and I’d rather quit than take orders from anyone. Ashish arrived and explained—MSD was the Indian captain who wanted first-day rank turners so that the home team could win the Test match against England.
I had heard of this fellow, he was long-haired once and now has 29 motorbikes. If he wanted to win matches only at home on rank turners, he should quit cricket and take to Formula 1 motorbike racing. Imagine bounders like him captaining India, as bad as Mamatadi ruling over Bengal. Ashish further told me that MSD wanted this strategy because England, South Africa and Australia won matches at home preparing pitches which bounced and seamed where his batsmen were helpless. MSD must not be following international cricket. Australia and South Africa played wonderful cricket on the so-called ‘seaming and bouncing’ tracks, batsmen scoring lots of runs, bowlers taking wickets and no one telling curators how to prepare pitches. MSD must be too busy counting currency notes to take note of all this.
I liked captains like Nari Contractor who, incidentally, blasted MSD for his unwanted directions. I agree that home sides should get some advantage but there should be no interference in pitch-making. I will not tolerate such nonsense. My eyes are sharp and only yesterday I ordered Mike Atherton not to walk on the pitch. So what if he’s a former England captain? I have not forgotten how once he was caught with some ‘pitch mud’ in his trouser pockets.
The Mumbai-based satirist is the creator of ‘Trishanku’; E-mail your secret diarist: vgangadhar70 AT gmail.com
Thank you to all those who have taken the trouble to read the article and share their thoughts. Out of the arguments made here, there are two that perhaps need answering. So here they go.
1. The first part of the article compares outcomes (relative percentages of population of the religions concerned) irrespective of the process that led to those outcomes - whether immigration, relatively faster population growth or conversions. This was for two reasons. One, to put the figure of 2.3 per cent in "numerical perspective", as the article itself explained. The second reason was that outcomes are ultimately what the crux of debate is about. The rest of the article in any case dealt with process - or conversions in this case, from both a contemporary and historical perspective.
2. Some commenters have tried to cast doubts on the reliability of Census 2001. Those who do this should bear in mind that Census 2001 was conducted by a BJP government. Considering the extreme importance that BJP gives to this issue, it would be reasonable to expect that IF it had perceived a problem with the methodology that was distorting the numbers, it would have fixed it. As the article mentioned, BJP or BJP-supported governments have been in power for 10 of the last 40 years, or about a quarter of the time, and the only reasonable conclusion one can arrive at is that any misreporting of numbers, real or perceived, would be marginal and hence, not of importance.
To all other arguments made, my answer is the following: Please read the article again, with particular focus on the quotations of Vivekananda and Monier Williams, and the history of the missionary efforts in Bengal and their outcome.
The veteran Edan Garden`s curator- Prabir Mukharjee is absolutely right while saying that why a good cricketer should desire a particular type of pitch to be prepared for playing a match, other than what normally the standards do call for . MSD`s desire to said curator to prepare a particular type of pitch was undoubtedly unwarranted and uncalled for. Its very strange to see that most of the times when our team fails to win the required score , captain or the other player of the team blames the pitch to be not in order or it to have not favoured them in rotating the ball or otherwise. But to one`s aweful astonishment , the opposite team plays well on the same pitch making a good score, bowling well to one`s surprise and ultimately winning the match.
Should this not be taken as - A bad workman quarrels with his tools and nothing else.
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