The social media venom was unbelievable. More than 50,000 vitriolic hits on Twitter questioning my intelligence just because I did not know who Sachin Tendulkar was. I thought Indians loved me. I had been to their country a couple of times, they draped me in expensive saris and got themselves photographed with me. Their champion Sania Mirza boasted she would beat me in straight sets provided I was in a sari and she in tennis clothes. Possibly I would be holding the sari in one hand and the racquet in the other.
Never knew not knowing Sachin was a crime in India. I talked to my colleagues in the circuit, all were ignorant on the Sachin factor and the facts, tens of thousands of the ‘runs’, a century of centuries, thousands of matches, honours galore, something called ‘Bharat Ratna’ and a seat in Indian Parliament. That is something.
No wonder my ignorance about this Indian god appalled Indians. It seems I have become as much a hated figure as some Pakistani cricketer called Javed Miandad who hit a last ball six off Indian bowler Chetan Sharma to win a one-day match in Sharjah. (See, I have done my homework, mugged up this line after talking to an Indian cricket fan.) But it is strange that this fanatical worship of Sachin has led to this hatred against me because till now I was their favourite tennis player. They flocked to the courts because of the ‘Love All’ factor. The Indian fans always sat behind me too, watching intently as I served. And then they would tell friends details of what they saw, which brought in more crowds.
This was not the only instance of their ‘love’ for me. This year after Wimbledon decreed allowing only white suits for players on the court, I received more than 5,00,000 tweets from Indian male fans advising me on the colour of the frilly lace I should have on the fringes of my knickers. Mind you, the Indian fans were well-informed about the game. Many of them quoted how ‘Gorgeous’ Gussie Moran of the US, in the 1950s, became famous on the courts after displaying her lacy knickers. Is this why Indians watched tennis even then?
Look, I am not bothered over the Twitter abuse because in my heart of hearts, I know I am more famous than Sachin. In fact, how many Indian cricket fans would demand seats with a ringside view of his backside? Unlike my case, where was the passionate interest on Sachin’s backside and the colour of his underwear, which I hear was clearly visible under the white trousers. In a nation of cricket lovers with fans betting on every aspect of the game, how come no one thought of betting on the colour of Sachin’s undies?
The Mumbai-based satirist is the creator of ‘Trishanku’; E-mail your secret diarist: vgangadhar70 [AT] gmail [AT] com
Apropos the Secret Diary of Maria Sharapova (Jul 21), I don’t know why this game of cricket has such a stranglehold on the nation. As a Hollywood actor put it, “Sachin Tendulkar is world famous (SIC) in India”. If only we had taken to the game the world plays. Swami Vivekananda rightfully observed, “First of all, our young men must be strong. Religion will come afterwards. Be strong, my friends, that is my advice to you. You will be nearer to heaven through football than through the study of the Gita.”
H.N. Ramakrishna, Bangalore
Both Tendulkar and Sharapova are legends in their respective games. So what if she doesn’t know him, it’s no sin. It’s time Indian fans moved on.
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.
I don't understand what the hoopla is all about ???.Both Sachin Tendulkar and Maria Sharapova are legends in their respective games.If Sharapova doesn't know about Sachin Tendulkar is it some kind of a sin? There was no need to make such a fuss . It is time for indian fans to move on .
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